I&B Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi informed Lok Sabha on Monday that Letters of Intent for 239 private FM channels had been issued and that the total revenue earnings from both government and private FM stations as on August 2, 2006 stood at Rs 675.06 crore.
So far, there are two FM channels of AIR – FM Rainbow and FM Gold – with programme originating from 16 stations for FM Rainbow channel, and four stations providing content for FM Gold channel. In addition, there are 70 local radio stations, 16 non-local radio stations, 25 Vividh Bharati and 30 relay centres transmitting programmes over FM transmitters. Thus, a total of 161 transmitters are functioning in the FM mode. Proposals for 16 AIR FM transmitters are pending. “On the private FM radio front, 27 private FM channels are functioning in the country at present,” Dasmunsi informed the Lok Sabha.
The revenue earned by the government from AIR FM stations alone during 2005-06 was Rs 33.25 crore. Out of the 239 private FM stations, 237 FM channels were scheduled for commissioning by the end of the next financial year, the Minister further said.
The government has collected total revenues of Rs 1,145.48 crore under FM Phase II expansion, close to the Rs 1,350 crore figure estimated by radio consultancy firm Big River Radio. The government has collected Rs 894.74 crore through the one time entry fee alone (OTEF). In addition, Rs 249.8 crore has been received as migration fee from 19 channels operational since FM Phase I. A sum of Rs 86 lakh has been withheld by the Ministry received from an applicant for not abiding by the terms and conditions of the tender document.
The government had issued a tender notice inviting pre-qualification bids for Phase II expansion of FM radio broadcasting, for setting up of 338 (later revised to 337 FM channels) in 91 cities in September 2005. The financial bids were opened on January 6, 13, 20 and 27 and February 3, 2006.