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Cellphone Radio in Rural India

I think it’s clear that even if people don’t have access to traditional terrestrial radio stations, there is still a desire for radio-like content.

Dial up for Radio

Dial up for Radio

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Cellphone Entertainment Takes Off in Rural India,” discusses rural villages in India where there is limited access to FM radio, but there is cell phone reception. According to the piece:

“…in villages that don’t receive any FM radio stations, people have begun calling a number that has a recording of Bollywood tunes and listening to it on their headsets.

This primitive cellular ‘radio’ service was used by close to 20 million Indians last year, phone company executives estimate.”

I’m not sure how closely these transmissions (which also include separate services for sports broadcasts, weather reports, and religious services) mimic traditional radio broadcasts or if they are more like DJ-less services like iTunes or Pandora. Either way, they are creating a transistor radio-like experience for people without radios.

As I’ve written previously on Spinning Indie, there is actually a service called AudioNow that transforms any radio station’s webstream into something that can be dialed up on any phone. Hmmm. I smell another business opportunity.


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