The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released on September 5, 2023 its recommendations on ‘Issues related to FM Radio Broadcasting’, which includes 10 minutes of news and current affairs broadcasting per clock hour on private FM stations.
The program code of conduct applicable to All India Radio for news content may also be applied to private FM radio channels, it added.
Other salient features of the recommendations are:
- The annual license fee of a FM radio channel should be de-linked from Non-Refundable One Time Entry Fee (NOTEF).
- The license fee should be calculated as 4 pc of the Gross Revenue (GR) of the FM radio channel during the respective financial year. GST should be excluded from Gross Revenue (GR).
- The Government may take appropriate measures to provide relief to the FM radio operators to address challenges posed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- Functions or features pertaining to FM radio should remain enabled and activated on all mobile handsets having the necessary hardware. Built-in FM radio receivers in mobile handsets must not be subjected to any form of disablement or deactivation.
With reference to the last point on FM radio remaining activated, TRAI said a Standing Committee may be established by MeitY, headed by a senior officer of Joint Secretary level or above, to oversee and monitor the compliance by mobile phone manufacturers (or importers). The committee should include key stakeholders such as MIB, AROI, MAlT, and ICEA.
An online grievance redressal portal should be provided for submitting information or complaints in case of noncompliance as regards enablement of FM radio functionality in such mobile handsets that have the necessary functionality for FM receivers, it added.
The above recommendations are based on comments received from stakeholders on the consultation paper issued by the industry regulator on February 9, 2023 and discussions on the same.
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