Music Broadcast —- the MittalSTAR alliance -— will put India’s first privately owned FM radio station ‘Radio 1’, on air in Bangalore in June. The Bangalore FM launch will be followed by Lucknow soon afterwards. Meanwhile, Music Broadcast has sought permission from the Union information and broadcasting ministry to set up an interim broadcasting tower to begin FM broadcasting operations from Delhi and Mumbai too.
STAR has pumped in Rs 13 crore in setting up the Bangalore FM broadcasting facility for Music Broadcast. While the radio station’s licence is held by the P K Mittal-promoted company, the franchisee for setting up the studio and other broadcasting facilities, providing the music content and selling air time is held by Digiwave, a 50:50 joint venture between STAR and the Ispat group.
Meanwhile, the STAR-Mittal venture is currently trying to iron out its dispute with the federation of music companies over the royalty to be charged by the latter for the music tracks that go on air. The music group is insisting on Rs-750 per hour, but Music Broadcast has pointed out that the government-owned All India Radio is charged just Rs 250 an hour and that too for all-India rights. The Bangalore FM station covers a radius of just around 60 km, Music Broadcast sources said.
Cosumer surveys conducted by Music Broadcast indicate that Hindi Bollywood film hits are in great demand by Bangalore FM listeners, and would be the staple menu for the Radio channel. State-of-the-art imported studio equipment is already in place and the station’s signal is under test. The music radio station will kick off with a team of six young disc jockeys who are under training.
Music Broadcast has six licences for FM radio stations. These include Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Patna and Nagpur.