WorldSpace Radio is Back
Update: Timbre Media tied up with Vodafone to stream ten of its channels over mobile phone for Rs.30 a month. More recently, in October, it tied up with Bharti Airtel to stream them on DTH platform. It will offer 12 channels - each devoted to genres such as Ghazals, Hindi Retro, Devotional and so on - for Rs 35 a month. Internet radio is in the pipeline.
If you missed WorldSpace — satellite radio network that streamed pre-programmed music 24 hours a day through about 40 genre-specific stations — here’s some good news. In September, WorldSpace will be back.
You will have the same old stations that you grew to love — Hindustani music on Gandarv, Carnatic music on Shruti, old Hindi film songs on Farishta and so on — very likely anchored by the same RJs.
In India, WorldSpace had gone on air in 2000 with the subscription-based service gaining a committed fan base slowly and steadily. Towards the end of 2010, when it shut down because of the financial difficulties of its founder, Ethiopia-born lawyer Noah Samara, it had 4.5 lakh customers in India.
Timbre Media, which is re-launching the brand in India in association with Saregama, was started by ex-employees of WorldSpace and has about 80 people from the old set up, says co-founder and CEO M. Sebastian. The re-launch will start with 40 stations and eventually have as many as 120 stations, including sub-categories such as music for cardio-workouts, says Adarsh Gupta, head (music), Saregama.
Great news, but it comes with a catch: You can’t use your old WorldSpace equipment. The new WorldSpace will be streamed through mobile phones, the Internet and direct-to-home television networks.
But it’s time to listen to the radio again.