All India Radio (AIR) is re-examining the feasibility of sharing its towers with private FM radio companies in metros. This is despite Prasar Bharati making an offer to the FM licensees for co-location of their transmitters on the AIR towers in metro cities about a month ago.
To begin with Prasar Bharati had decided not to offer the co-location facility in Mumbai after it was found that the AIR tower in that city is too old to carry any additional load.
AIR towers in other metros are also being re-examined to find out whether they can hold the additional weight of the transmitters of the private FM radio companies. The engineering and design staff of AIR is busy evaluating the technical modalities of the venture.
The various factors that are being taken into consideration to assess the capacity of the AIR towers include their age, structural specifications, location, proximity to sea and overall climate.
Technical modality is not the only issue, which is blocking the AIR-FM venture. Even financial deals have not been finalised yet. Although AIR had quoted a flat price of Rs 25 lakh per annum per broadcaster for Delhi and Rs 13.36 lakh per annum per broadcaster for Chennai and Calcutta each for sharing its towers with the FM players, the deals are still under negotiation.
The FM companies, which will be affected, if the deal with AIR doesn’t work out include Living Media’s Radio Today, Bennett Coleman’s Entertainment Network, Mid-Day Group’s Mid-Day Radio and Ispat group’s Music Broadcast, among others. With the deadline of December 29 looming large over the FM players, they may just have to scout all over again for interim arrangements if AIR dashes their hopes.