TDSAT dismisses Radio Mid Day plea for uniform frequency

MUMBAI: Radio Mid Day's hopes of retaining its well known 92.5 MHz frequency hit a wall today after the sector regulator TDSAT dismissed its plea against the government's decision to withdraw it. 

The "big" beneficiary of the tribunal's decision is the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG)-controlled Adlabs' Big FM, which has been alloted the 92.7 MHz frequency, as part of its unified frequency regime, to broadcast from 44 radio stations across India. 

Radio Mid-Day, which manages Radio One (formerly known as Go 92.5 FM), has been broadcasting in Mumbai for around four and a half years on 92.5 FM. This frequency band has grown to be the brand identification, according to Radio Mid Day.

But, Tdsat 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."

Despite refusing to shift to 94.3 MHz, the brand Radio One is already broadcasting on this freqeuncy in Bangalore and Delhi. Tdsat pointed out that nobody makes any gain from the Radio Mid Day being shifted to another frequency. Rather it 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 broadcasting licence except Ahmedabad for which petitioner makes no grievance, highlights Tdsat.

Interestingly, the adovcate fighting the case on behalf of Adlabs had mentioned that Radio Mid Day has to change its earlier allocated frequency in any case because of the non-availability of 92.5 MHz at all.

This case has been fought over last two weeks. Radio Mid-Day had questioned the granting of 92.7 frequency to Big FM in Mumbai despite the norms of having a difference of at least 0.8 frequency between two stations. Radio Mid-Day had in fact first approached TDSAT seeking a uniform frequency for all its six radio stations across the country, but the government allotted different frequencies to it.

The information and broadcasting ministry had earlier allocated 94.3 frequency to Mid Day Group for Radio One in Mumbai and other cities except in Ahemabad. But the Mumbai-based company refused to switch to the new frequency asserting that 92.5 FM has grown to be its brand identification.

How Radio Mid-Day responds to this setback remains to be seen.

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