SC rejects Radio One plea to retain 92.5 FM in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Radio One 92.5 FM will soon be beaming as Radio One 94.3 FM in Mumbai. This follows the Supreme Court's upholding of the sector tribunal's decision to allocate it a new common frequency.

Radio One, managed by Radio Mid Day and BBC Worldwide, had approached the apex court last week challenging the order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to move it away from its 92.5 MHz frequency to a new common 92.5 MHz one.

"We found no infirmity in the tribunal order and hence the petition (by Radio One) is dismissed," a bench headed by Justice BN Aggarwal and Justice PP Naolekar has ruled, according to a Press Trust of India (PTI) newswire report.

In the case, heard yesterday, the bench also rejected the company's plea for additional time to switch over to the new frequency of 94.3 FM in Mumbai.

The radio company had earlier moved TDSAT arguing that allocation of a new frequency would hamper the business as the frequency 92.5 FM has grown to be synonyms to its brand in Mumbai.

Radio One had also questioned the government's stand on granting of 92.7 frequency to the Reliance-promoted Big FM (Adlabs Radio) in Mumbai despite the norms of having a difference of at least 0.8 frequency between two stations.

The tribunal had observed, "The importance of brand name of the broadcaster cannot be underestimated, particularly, in view of the provision in the 'channel identity' clause which talks of brand name of the broadcaster. Frequency is not part of the brand name of the petitioner. The petitioner got its brand name changed, which was not objected to by the government. Petitioner’s (Radio Mid Day) popularity is through its brand name. It cannot insist on having a particular frequency number."

A point of note is also that though Radio One challenged its being moved to the 94.3 FM frequency, it is already broadcasting on this freqeuncy in Bangalore and Delhi.

TDSAT had responded by asserting that nobody (as in a rival station) stood to gain anything from Radio Mid Day being shifted to another frequency. Rather it is in the interest of Radio Mid Day that it will have same frequency i.e. 94.3 FM for all the cities for which it has a broadcasting licence (except Ahmedabad for which the petitioner makes no grievance), the tribunal pointed out.

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