EGoM gives clearance to Phase 3 FM licence auction

07 Mar,2013

By A Correspondent

 

EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers) has finally given its clearance to the auction of 839 FM radio channels in Phase 3 of private FM radio in the country. In the Union Budget, the Finance Minister had announced that it would expand private FM services to 294 more cities and that about 839 new FM radio channels would be auctioned in 2013-14 and, after the auction, all cities having a population of more than 100,000 would be covered by private FM radio services. Said I&B Secretary, Uday Varma: “There were some issues and the EGoM has cleared the way and is set to launch all processes. This development is going to bring unprecedented change in the broadcasting sector in India.”

 

However, issues such as carriage fees will be referred to by TRAI.

 

Apurva Purohit

“We have been awaiting the implementation of the policy for a while and it is indeed good news that the EGoM has cleared the same. Expansion of FM will be beneficial to all stake holders; the players, listeners, advertisers and the government. Phase 3 will certainly push FM in the direction of growth and achieving its true share of eight percent in the advertising pie,” expressed Radio City CEO Apurva Purohit.

 

 

For the record, some of the salient features of the approved policy for Phase 3 are as under:

(i) Radio operators have been permitted carriage of news bulletins of All India Radio only in an unaltered form.

 

(ii) Broadcast pertaining to the certain categories like information pertaining to sporting events, traffic and weather, coverage of cultural events, festivals, coverage of topics pertaining to examinations, results, admissions, career counseling, availability of employment opportunities, public announcements pertaining to civic amenities like electricity, water supply, natural calamities, health alerts etc. as provided by the local administration will be treated as non-news and current affairs broadcast and will therefore be permissible.

 

(iii) Private operators have been allowed to own more than one channels but not more than 40% of the total channels in a city subject to a minimum of three different operators in the city.

 

(iv) Licence fee will be determined as 4% of Gross Revenue (GR) or 2.5% of bid price for a city whichever is higher.

 

(v) FDI+FII limit in a private FM radio broadcasting company has been increased from 20% to 26%.

 

(vi) Networking of channels will be permissible within a private FM broadcaster’s own network across the country instead of in ‘C’ and ‘D’ category cities only of a region allowed at present.

 

(vii) A choice is proposed to be given to the private FM broadcasters to choose any agency other than BECIL for construction of CTI within a period of 3 months of issuance of LOI failing which BECIL will automatically become the system integrator and set up co-location facilities and CTI.

 

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