New Delhi: The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has permitted the private FM radio operators who had acquired licences in the FM Phase III auctions to set up interim transmission facilities to launch their stations quickly.
The FM radio operators can launch their new stations as early as they want without waiting for Becil (Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd) to build the common transmission infrastructure (CTI). Becil is a government enterprise under the I&B ministry that facilitates the creation of CTI.
After the phase 2 auctions, the government had permitted radio firms to put up interim facilities in some cities, but no such permission was granted in phase 3.
The move comes after the ministry received requests from four FM radio operators seeking permission to start running their new FM radio channels from interim facilities. The four FM radio companies are Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), which operates channels under the Radio Mirchi brand, HT Media Ltd, which runs Fever 104 stations, Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL), which operates BIG FM, and Music Broadcast Pvt. Ltd (Radio City).
According to the minutes of the meeting of I&B Ministry , Mihir Kumar Singh, joint secretary, I&B ministry, said that early operationalization of the channels will benefit all stakeholders, including the ministry, as its annual fee realization will start early.
Becil informed the ministry that although the scheduled deadline for completing the CTI for all the cities was September, it could finish work in some cities by July-August.
The ministry also mandated that the interim operations can only be set up in the premises where the CTI is operating. It also specified the range and distance for the interim set-up. The operators have been asked to make full payments to Becil and public broadcaster Prasar Bharati and arrange their own power supply for the interim facilities.