The Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) has recommended 49 per cent FDI limit for entertainment radio in Phase III expansion of FM radio, while FDI limit for news should be at 25 per cent. AROI has also stressed on allowing news and current affairs on private FM radio and called for frequency allocation at the district level too and not just at the city level.
While speaking on frequency allocation at the district level, Uday Chawla, Secretary General, AROI, told exchange4media, “There should be an option for the operator to enlarge his coverage to the entire district by payment of difference of average bid price for the district or similar and one time entry fee already paid. The tradability of license should be allowed after a lock-in period of one year instead of the current five years. News and current affairs should be allowed and operators should be allowed to create their own source of news, subject to strict adherence to a self-created content code.”
Elaborating on the other recommendations on AROI, Chawla said, “An operator should be allowed to operate more than one channel in a city so that content differentiation is created. This will also create a level playing field between All India Radio (AIR) and private operators as the former rounds many channels in a city.”
He further said, “The number of channels per city should be 20 for A+ cities, 10 in A, six in B and C, while in D it should be a minimum of three. There should be concessions for backward/ underdeveloped areas like the North-East, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, etc. There should be 4 per cent revenue sharing with the Government, which should be on the net revenue and not the gross revenue. At least 25 per cent of Government advertising in radio should be allocated to private FM players.
“The Government should formulate a proper satellite radio policy so that a level playing field is created for FM radio and satellite radio,” Chawla added.