Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL) that runs seven FM radio stations for the Times of India group, has served the government a conditional notice of termination of its FM radio service in Pune.
This is the third FM radio company after Millenium Broadcast and Radio Mid-day to have served such a notice. Millenium Broadcast, that operated Win 94.6 in Mumbai, shut down its FM channel in April this year.
The licence agreement between the government and private radio companies makes it mandatory for the operators to serve a one year notice before shutting down a radio station.
Speaking to Business Standard ENIL’s chief executive officer AP Parigi said that Radio Mirchi, the company’s FM station in Pune, will have to close down if the government does not carry out reforms in the private FM radio sector.
He said that ENIL forks out a hefty Rs 44 crore as annual licence fee for its radio stations.
For the last two years, the FM radio operators have been pushing the government to migrate to a revenue share scheme as the current structure based on fat licence fees has made the business unviable. According to radio industry estimates the FM broadcasters’ current losses are to the tune of Rs 250 crore.
Earlier this year, the broadcasters approached TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal) and sought relief in paying the licence fee till the government resolved the FM radio issue.
TDSAT, however, asked the companies to deposit the first four months fee with the government. In a recent hearing, TDSAT has asked the companies to deposit the next installment of the fee by January 14.