The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is mulling allowing FM radio operators to air news in the Phase III licensing, which is in the formulating stage. The Ministry is also planning to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) with a cap of 26 per cent, besides contemplating in terms of providing licenses based on genre to different FM players.
Speaking on the first session of Radio Duniya Conference 2008, Zohra Chatterji, Joint Secretary, Broadcasting, I&B Ministry, said, “With so many sensitive issues and the potential to create panic and rumour, the Ministry is mulling how to go about permitting news broadcast on FM radio. The Ministry is considering that in the initial phase it would allow news related to sports, theatre, and culture on FM radioc.”
Later on the Ministry might consider permitting actual news transmission, Chatterji added. She also requested FM players to come up with solutions to resolve the concerns of the Ministry regarding allowing transmission of news on FM radio.
Meanwhile, Phase III of FM radio licensing would also witness genre based stations. This would curtail mix of channels as most channels sound the same.
Echoing a similar concern, Arvind Kumar, Director-Broadcasting, I&B Ministry, said that FM stations should not be limited to being just entertainment and music based stations. He highlighted three issues that needed the industry’s attention – viz., how to ensure diversity of content, to what extent news transmission be allowed on FM radio, and how to regulate and monitor content. Kumar also pondered over how to involve the industry more in regions like Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East.