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Indian Radio Innovator Named 2009 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year

November 18, 2008

Indian Radio Innovator Named 2009 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year

Indian Radio’s renaissance a clear case of corporate entrepreneurship

Amba Preetham Parigi, managing director, Entertainment Network (India) Limited, and managing director & CEO of Times Infotainment Media Limited, is the 2009 William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year. The award will be conferred on Parigi by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship in the Lally School of Management & Technology, Rensselaer’s business school, at a special ceremony in April 2009. The celebration will take place at Rensselaer’s state-of-the-art Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.

A.P. Parigi is credited with developing Radio Mirchi, India’s largest private radio network, into a power brand and one of the fastest growing media platforms, with a footprint of more than 200 million people across 32 cities, and broadcasting in 10 languages throughout India, all within just seven years of inception. Radio Mirchi’s broad appeal can only be envied by others in an industry that is typically highly segmented. 

“He is a man of great humanity with profound commitment to ‘giving back.’ As a citizen of the world, Preetham Parigi serves as a fitting example of the compassionate entrepreneur,” said David Gautschi, dean of the Lally School of Management & Technology.

Established in 1990, the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year Award salutes successful entrepreneurs who, in turn, are important role models for the students of Rensselaer. Those honored with the award bring the world of entrepreneurship into Rensselaer’s classrooms and laboratories, sharing their experience and wisdom with all students.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a cornerstone of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship’s extensive roster of programs. The center was established by a Rensselaer alumnus to infuse and foster an “entrepreneurial mindset” across the Rensselaer campus. Entrepreneurship is one of the four building blocks in the Rensselaer Plan, and is a key element in preparing future leaders to think and approach challenges creatively.

A Clear Case of Corporate Entrepreneurship
Parigi’s success is a clear case of corporate entrepreneurship, according to Gautschi: “Preetham Parigi has been a valuable and active member of the advisory council of the Lally School of Management & Technology for nearly three years. His perspectives on transitioning economies around the world, especially on the Indian sub-continent, and his interpretation of the transformations of economies and societies that new media can induce are trenchant and actionable for us.”

While the “golden days” of radio have long since passed — immortalized in the 1979 song, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” by British new wave group the Buggles, and the first MTV music video — this outdated medium is experiencing a remarkable renaissance in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies, with no sign of slowing down. 

Parigi recognized a huge need in India that radio could fill, and had a clear vision as to how radio could deliver value to a population ready to receive it. More important, he figured out how to make it sustainable. His success in engineering Radio Mirchi’s meteoric rise is all the more impressive given the extensive state restrictions and steep licensing requirements often associated with the industry, Gautschi noted.

“The Entrepreneur of the Year award sets a standard for our students and sets the bar high as they consider their own goals. Parigi embodies the entrepreneurial spirit not only as demonstrated through the success of his enterprises but also through his exceptional leadership and management,” added Jean Howard, associate director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at the Lally School of Management & Technology. 

In accordance with Glaser’s wishes, the award has honored a diversity of successful entrepreneurs. Parigi joins such illustrious past recipients as: Warren Bruggeman ’46, former vice president and general manager of GE’s Nuclear Business Operations; Fred Smith, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx Corporation; James Crowe, CEO of Level 3 Communications; Paul Severino, founder and chairman of Bay Networks; and Tom Le Fevre, co-founder of Intuit.

Contact: Jessica Otitigbe
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