RadioCity 91 FM, a private FM broadcaster promoted by Music Broadcast (MBPL), is gearing up for the second phase of radio licensing. The broadcaster plans to launch 20-25 radio stations across the country.
Amber Basu, vice-president - finance, RadioCity, said: "The radio category is growing and in the phase two of its operations, we are looking at an aggressive expansion."
The company currently has four stations in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Lucknow.
According to Basu, radio is also gaining a recognition from advertisers and is expected to reach three per cent of media spends by 2008. Currently, 100 per cent of radio's revenues are from advertising and licence fees formed a bulk of the outgoings.
Private radio stations in the country are required to pay an exorbitant license fees which was increased to 15 per cent every year.
This regulation had caused difficulty to most FM radio companies, including the Times Broadcasting's Radio Mirchi, Mid-Day-promoted GO 92.5 and Media Today's 93.5 Red FM. It is estimated that FM radio companies had coughed up about Rs 300 crore in licence fees.
The private FM radio industry suffered a loss of Rs 122 crore in 2003-04.
However, Basu pointed out that while license fees might have affected the bottomlines of all radio stations, revenues of radio companies have grown over the last two years. He said RadioCity has posted a year-on-year 20 per cent increase in revenues.
Although the company officials declined to comment, industry sources say that RadioCity has roped in Apurva Purohit, former chief operating officer of Zoom TV, to head their operations.
The company is also willing to explore the multiple station option within a city with the necessary government approvals.