After enthusiastically participating in the bidding process, some players are taking the initiative to form an FM radio industry body, which will work as a lobby group for this booming sector.
“A preparatory meeting of the players will be held on March 15 and the organisation will be formed formally. Basic rules and regulations will be laid down, including the election procedure for the council members. The fundamental objective of the group will be to safeguard the interests of the industry and become a mouthpiece for policy makers,” informed Rajiv Mishra, Director, New Media, BAG Films, who is acting as the coordinator for the industry body. The body is proposed to be named as Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI).
When contacted, some players confirmed their participation, while officials of Adlabs, Sun Group and Radio Mirchi denied having knowledge of any such development. Mishra claimed that he had sent invitations to all radio players.
Welcoming the initiative, Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City, said, “As of now, we haven’t heard of any such association. However, we welcome it if there is such a move. We believe there’s a need to get all radio players together under one umbrella organisation as the industry is still at a nascent stage. Cooperative competition is the need of the hour to discuss and thrash out all major issues concerning the industry like building a consensus on duties on the import of technical equipment. In fact, we at Radio City have been internally working on a framework for an association of FM radio players in India.”
Confirming the development, Sanjay Kumar Jain, DGM, Projects, Dainik Bhaskar, said that the body would represent the radio industry’s point of view at different forums. “The body will raise the common issues affecting the FM radio industry. It will deter the monopolistic attitude of the authorities when arbitrary decisions are loaded on us while the quality of service provided is not up to the mark,” Jain said, referring to the provision of compulsory use of transmitters provided by BECIL.
Players also feel that music royalty is a big challenge for the industry. “Music royalty is a serious issue for us and it is very difficult to negotiate individually with the music industry, so a formal body is imperative,” said Bharat Gupta, Executive President, Marketing, Jagran Group.
When asked whether there could be unanimity among all the players for a single industry body, Dainik Bhaskar’s Jain said that ideally there should be a single industry body that could address the concerns of all the players.
Confirming his participation, K C Jacob, VP, Muthooth Group, said, “I believe the body should be formed with a positive intention. When all the big and experienced players come on board, many more ideas will come out, which will also benefit small and inexperienced players.”
The proposed body would also lobby for allowing news in the FM radio sector. When asked, one player observed that allowing news on FM radio was inevitable and a formal declaration in this regard would be made by the I&B Ministry in 2-3 months.
“Previously, the industry was small. Now, with so many influential players from the media sector coming on board, the lobby for allowing news has just got the much needed fillip,” he observed, without wishing to be named.