Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority India (TRAI) has released recommendations on FM radio broadcasting in order to discuss various issues related to FM Radio broadcasting.
In order to discuss various issues related to FM Radio broadcasting, TRAI held a meeting with representatives of AROI on 5 August 2022. Representatives of AROI, inter-alia, raised the following issues for consideration of the authority:
(i) Permitting private FM Radio channels to broadcast independent news bulletins
(ii) Availability of FM Radio receivers in mobile handsets
After considering all comments or counter-comments received from stakeholders during the consultation process and further analysis of the issues, the Authority has finalised its recommendations. The salient features of the recommendations are given below:
(1) The annual licence fee of a FM radio channel should be de-linked from NOTEF.
(ii) The license fee should be calculated as four percent of the Gross Revenue (GR) of the FM radio channel during the respective financial year. GST should be excluded from Gross Revenue (GR).
(iii) The Government may take appropriate measures to provide relief to the FM radio operators to address challenges posed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
(iv) Private FM Radio operators should be allowed to broadcast news and current affairs programs, limited to 10 minutes in each clock hour.
(v) The program code of conduct as applicable to All India Radio for news content may also be applied to Private FM Radio channels.
(vi) Functions or features pertaining to FM radio should remain enabled and activated on all mobile handsets having the necessary hardware. Built-in FM radio receivers in mobile handset must not be subjected to any form of disablement or deactivation.
(vii) A Standing Committee, headed by a senior officer of Joint Secretary or above level, to oversee and monitor the compliance by mobile phone manufacturers (or importers) may be established by MeitY. The committee should include key stakeholders such as MIB, AROI, MAlT, and ICEA.
(viii) An online grievance redressal portal should be provided for submitting information or complaints in case of any noncompliance as regards enablement of FM radio functionality in such mobile handsets that have the necessary functionality for FM receivers.