FM radio Phase III
The government on Thursday cleared guidelines of the much-delayed FM Radio Phase III expansion that will allow private radio channels to broadcast news of All India Radio (AIR) and enable revenue generation of Rs 1,733 crore from the auction of license for services in 227 cities. A meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also approved hiking of foreign investment limit on private FM radio broadcasting company to 26 per cent from the current 20 per cent.The FM phase III policy will result in coverage of all cities with a population of one lakh and above through private FM channels. The Phase I and Phase II policies have resulted in a total revenue accrual of about Rs 1,733 crore up to May 31, 2011 by way of one time entry fee, migration fee and annual fee among others. Soni said the I&B ministry had discussed the issue of allowing the private FM channels to air news sourced from agencies with other ministries, including with Home Ministry. In order to roll out the new stations the government will conduct e-auction of the licenses in batches and the number of batches will be decided by the I&B ministry. “In all probability, the e-auction will be held in two batches and the process is expected to be completed within this financial year,” a senior I&B Ministry official said. Soni said the I&B ministry will be appointing an independent expert agency to conduct the e-auction. FDI and FII investment in a private FM broadcasting company has been increased from 20 per cent to 26 per cent. As per the new policy that has taken nearly three years to materialise, the FM radio operators will be permitted to air news bulletins of AIR in unedited format. Moreover, non-news broadcasts pertaining to information on sporting events, traffic and weather, cultural events, festivals, examinations results, admissions, career counselling and employment opportunities among other have also been allowed.