The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is in favour of news being allowed on FM stations. At this stage, news is not allowed to be aired on the FM radio stations.
“We are of the opinion that news should be allowed and that it should not be restricted” said Trai’s chairman Pradip Baijal. He explained that there was a lot of news content that was particular to an area. Mr Baijal was in Mumbai at Trai’s open house on the consultation paper for FM radio. At this stage, FM stations largely have an entertainment focus on account of the restriction on news content being aired.
Mr Baijal said that the recommendations will be presented to the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry after which a decision is expected to be taken. Among the issues that came up for discussion at the open house were the migration to a revenue sharing regime. This is a shift from the current situation where FM players pay an annual license fee which is increased each year. The overall consensus in the industry is that the players are suffering huge losses due to the high license fee structure apart from radio itself constituting a small part of total advertising spend in the country. Responding to a query on community radio, Mr Baijal maintained that it should be facilitated. “It should be facilitated and should not be restricted” he said.