Radio Mirchi and the Nostalgia Market
Radio Mirchi and the Nostalgia Market

The Indian radio station is like an aunty in your ear and knows what South Asians who have left in the ’80s and ’90s want to listen to.

Radio Mirchi ad (Mahesh Hiremath for Radio Mirchi)

Where else can you hear tonight’s all-white Democratic debates described as “bahut gora, bahut white”? 

Only on Radio Mirchi, Queens-based Arkalgud Ramachandra’s favorite radio station. Ramachandra has not missed a single day of listening to Radio Mirchi since its launch in the United States last January. The 61-year-old, who has been living in the U.S. for over 40 years, grew up in Bengaluru, India listening to bhajans and classical music on the local radio. Now, he reminisces about home by tuning in to Indian songs on Radio Mirchi. 

“I listen to the same bhajans and classical music that take me back to India,” said Ramachandra. “I feel youthful, very energetic when I listen to Radio Mirchi and it brings back fond memories — especially of yesteryear songs.” 

This is precisely what Radio Mirchi hopes to achieve. Unlike in India, where it targets young people, Radio Mirchi in the U.S. targets people over 30 to 35 years who moved out of their home countries at least a decade ago.

That means featuring radio jockeys (RJs) who slip between American and Indian accents, roll their r’s, and say alliterative catchphrases. Mirchi is like an aunty in your ear, supplying hot takes on American and South Asian news, airing celebrity and political gossip, and of course, playing your favorite Indian tunes. They’re not afraid of having fun, with show names like “Sunset Samosa” or “Purani Jeans.”

Most other diaspora stations play similar mixes of Bollywood and Indian music, whereas Mirchi offers a var

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