Successful bidders can start FM channels: I and B Ministry

NEW DELHI: Operators who have recently won bids successfully for FM Radio stations have been asked to operationalize their channels as early as possible since “time is money and spectrum sold is still unutilized.”

Information and Broadcasting ministry joint secretary (B-II) Mihir Kumar Singh said this will benefit all stakeholders including the ministry as annual fee realization will also start early.

However addressing a meeting of the FM operators, Singh said the ministry was agreeable to allowing interim set-up subject to the interim stations being in the same premises from where regular CTI is operating; and payments to Prasar Bharati and Broadcasting Engineering Consultants (India) Ltd is made in full according to mutual consent.

The meeting on 27 April was at the instance of four FM Radio operators viz. ENIL, HTML, RBNL and MBL for being allowed to operationalise their fresh FM radio channels from interim set-up till the CTI facility is prepared by BECIL. The ten private FM representatives present also included representatives of Mathrubhumi and DB Corp.

The representatives of the companies were informed that the ministry was cautious in the matter as the operators at Chennai who were earlier given interim set up permission are yet to shift to the CTI facility at Avadi.

Upon enquiry about BECIL's timelines to complete the CTI facilities, BECIL CMD George Kuruvila said though the target dates for all the cities is September 2016, BECIL would be able to complete CTI facilities for new FM channels in some cities in July-August.

It also agreed to provide city-wise timelines which was done.

All India Radio Resoirces GM (Commercial) AN Sharma said only single dipole, 7/8 inch cable with 3kw transmitter can be allowed for interim set-up. The range of transmission will be 15-20 km.

The operators should arrange for their power supply as Prasar Bharati will not be able to provide additional power required for interim set-up. The operation of interim set-up should not pose any hurdle for the regular CTI facilities being created for new FM channels.

Prasar Bharati was requested to give details of tower aperture, land space and rentals that

it would be willing to share and the pubcaster would so so within two days.

Kuruvila said since the interim set-up will be in the same premises for which SACFA clearance is available, BECIL will inform the WPC on the interim set-up on behalf of the operators.

All the operators sought a week’s time for giving their views and so the next meeting is fixed for 6 May.

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