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Radio Update: Mumbai is abuzz. Delhi waits for signals to unscramble

10-July-2002
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Radio Update: Mumbai is abuzz. Delhi waits for signals to unscramble

With five quality stations up and running in Mumbai, the city certainly is jiving to the music and listening to the RJs talk keenly. But Delhi, and two other Metros, will have to wait for the Government decision to indulge and allow an 'interim' measure, which got Mumbai stations going.

And with festival season, also a key advertising period, round the corner, Radio Station heads are hoping that government does take a lenient view. "We are in the process of pleading with the Government to allow us interim measure to help us get on air in other metros," says AP Parigi, CEO ENIL, Radio Mirchi. exchange4media has learnt that The Radio Group, joint body of radio stations, had met with key I&B ministry officials on 3rd July.

The 'interim' measure being talked about allows individual stations to put up their own broadcast equipment’s and begin transmission as opposed to stipulated license condition of co-location of all stations on a single infrastructure. Government allowed an interim measure in Mumbai, which facilitated all five stations to go live. Says Sumantra Dutta, COO, Radio City, "We have appealed to the Government for interim clearances. There is a live case of government granting the permission for separate facilities and all stations have responded."

While the operators may now be asking for a relaxation in guideline, as per the license agreement signed by all stations, in 4 metros, all stations were to start operations from a single infrastructure (tower and transmission equipment’s). No such conditions were laid for non-metros. Government allowed for an interim measure in Mumbai, where stations could start operations from separate facilities but would move, in 2 years, to common infrastructure.

But what is the reason for this delay for co-located facilities. Insiders share that agreement; amongst radio station heads, on legal and technical issues is difficult to come by. "Co-location is a unique model. It certainly is not a common practice, in fact, a rare approach even in Global context. Legalities of a common Integrator is quite complex," explains Parigi. The Integrator for Delhi services, TDF, has apparently backed out leaving little hope for co-located services to take off.

So while Mumbaities jive to music and integrate Radio FM in their lives, listeners in Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai will keenly hear for the Governments call.

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