Private FM radio licencees in metros may fail to adhere to the deadline of December 29, set by the government for starting their operations. According to industry sources, AIR needs to change the electric cable in some of its towers, to be able to offer the co-location facility. Also, AIR may have to change the antenna altogether or some major components of the antenna, for sharing its infrastructure with FM players.
If the cable and antenna changes are to be made at AIR towers, it will take at least five to six months for the private players to set up their stations and begin their FM operations in metros, according to estimates.
That means, the FM stations in metros can be ready only by March-April 2002, if they get into an arrangement with AIR.
Among the various steps that are involved in setting up FM stations are planning of studio and transmission location; identifying studio layout; making provision for power supply; arranging furniture and interiors; procuring equipment; working out modalities for transmitters, antenna and cable; issuing enquiries to vendors for material; price negotiations; installation of material and test trial.
Even without any further delay caused by processes such as cable and antenna upgradation, it will take private players around three months to set up their FM stations in an interim arrangement. So whatever course they take, private FM players in metros would fail to adhere to the government deadline of December 29.