The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj will take the matter of temporary FM stations at a meeting on May 1. The minister is expected to hold this meeting with top I&B officials. Among other things, the scheduled meeting should be able to give an indication to private FM licensees in metros, on the modus operandi of their transmission.
Even as FM Radio was thrown open to private broadcasters last year, the potential players find that constructing a transmission tower within one year of getting the frequency allocated is not possible. The frequencies were issued in the last week of December 2000.
In the face of the difficulties faced by FM licences in having the consortium tower ready within the stipulated time frame, they had requested the government for a temporary arrangement to be able to set up radio stations on top of any tall building such as that of Doordashan, All India Radio, Railways and VSNL. They also have sought more time to have the permanent tower ready.
In the meeting to held on May 1, Ms. Sushma Swaraj is expected to take a concrete decision on the issue of allowing temporary radio stations. This is in the light of what the minister said recently on FM Radio. Also in her agenda are issues such as the second phase of bidding for FM Radio and new FM services of All India Radio. For the second phase of bidding, 70 cities have already been identified.
Although a final decision on the second round of bidding may still take sometime, discussions on the same will be underway now.