Cable TV

Sun, Adlabs surrender frequencies, commonality on 4 stations

MUMBAI: The Sun TV network-backed South Asia FM and Anil Ambani-controlled Adlabs Films Ltd have surrendered 27 and 12 FM radio frequencies respectively to adhere to a government mandated national cap of 15 per cent per bidding company.

Adlabs surrendered worth Rs 124.55 million for 12 frequencies, while South Asia FM handed over worth Rs 79.82 million for 27 stations.

Interestingly, there is commonality in some frequencies that the two companies have surrendered and these include Imphal, Gorakhpur, Itanagar and Muzzaffarpur. South Asia FM had won about 15 stations in the east region, of which they have surrendered six. Adlabs had bagged 15 stations in the region and has given up eight.

Another point of note is that South Asia FM was the only radio company that bagged the 'Sagar' frequency and has surrendered the same.

The other stations that South Asia FM has given up include Agartala, Ahmednagar, Ajmer, Akola, Aligarh, Bikaner, Bilaspur, Daman, Dhule, Gorakhpur, Gwalior, Imphal, Itanagar, Jalgaon, Jhansi, Kohima, Kota, Muzzaffarpur, Nanded, Port Blair, Rourkela, Sagar, Sangli, Sholapur, Surat and Udaipur.

Adlabs Films has surrendered the 12 frequencies in Aizawl, Bilaspur, Kochi, Gangtok, Gorakhpur, Imphal, Itanagar, Kohima, Muzzaffarpur, Port Blair, Shillong and Tirunelveli.

During the second phase of FM radio licencing, which concluded early February, on a national level South Asia FM had successfully bid for 52 licences in as many cities, while Adlabs had bagged 57 frequencies.

According to a government mandate, no company can have more than 15 per cent of the total licences put up for sale all over India.

Though the government had put on the block 338 licences in 91 cities, for calculation purposes a benchmark of 300 has been taken. Based on this number South Asia FM and Adlabs have surrendered their excess baggage. Besides the new stations that would come up now, there are already 21 private FM radio stations operating in the bigger cities of India.

The government will hold another round of bidding for the unsold and surrendered licences. According to the rules, every permission under the Phase II policy is to be valid for a period for ten years from the date of operationalisation of the channel. There is no provision for its extension and the permission is to automatically lapse at the end of the period. The government at the appropriate time will determine the procedure for issue of fresh permissions.

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