FM radio: PMO forwards grievances to I&B

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has forwarded the grievances of private FM radio operators in India to the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry for “appropriate action.”

Pointing out that it is a “positive step,” the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) convenor and CEO of BAG Films radio division Rajiv Misra said, “We have received a communication from the PMO, which has not struck down our demands.”

Misra added that the PMO has forwarded the demands of the nascent FM radio industry to the nodal ministry for suitable and appropriate action on the matter.

The demands of AROI included permission for news and current affairs programming on private FM radio stations and rationalization of music royalty fee, which has been termed by the radio industry as “too high” and “arbitrary.”

A FM radio operator termed the development as a “step forward”, adding that the I&B ministry is likely to be more receptive to the idea of news on private radio stations once it has heard from the PMO.

The government and the Union Cabinet have been divided over the issue of news on private radio stations with one section saying that if this is allowed, it could compromise national security as monitoring of all FM radio stations all the time could be a Herculean task.

However, a government panel under the chairmanship of Ficci secretary-general Amit Mitra had recommended giving the green signal to news on private FM radio stations as it would bring about variety in programming and is a standard global norm.

Meanwhile, AROI is continuing to negotiate with music industry bodies to rationalize music royalty fee.

The I&B ministry, however, has washed its hands off the music fee issue, saying the matter relates to IPR, which is in the domain of the human resources development (HRD) ministry.

The HRD ministry, these days pre-occupied with reservation-for-backward-classes-in-educational-institutions issue, hasn’t reacted too warmly to AROI’s presentation on high music royalty.


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