TRAI recommends allowing news on FM Radio and raising FDI limit

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) The long-standing demand of FM Radio operatrors to broadcast news was today endorsed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority ofIndia(TRAI), but it said they were to gather news only from authorised agencies.

TRAI has also recomended increasing FDI limit in the sector, removing restriction on multiple ownership of channels in a city, networking of FM radio programmes across entities, and changing the unit for Private FM Radio broadcast licensing from city to district.

Allowing news on FM would fuel further growth in the sector and fulfill information requirements of a large section of population, TRAI said releasing its recommendations for the sector here.

The telecom regulator said broadcasters may be permitted to broadcast news taking content from AIR, Doordarshan, authorized TV news channels, UNI, PTI and any other authorized news agency, but no other source of news was permitted at present.

''One of the barriers for further growth identified by the Authority during the consultation process relates to the restriction of existing guidelines that do not permit news and current affairs on FM Radio broadcast,'' it said.

In TRAI's views, information requirements of large section of unserved population and those who lack access to information through other means like internet, television services, etc. can be conveniently met without any cost to the receiving population only through FM Radio services.

Regarding restriction on multiple ownership of channels in a city and networking of FM radio programmes across entities, TRAI said that the benefits arising from the removal of these barriers were likely to be very large in terms of its direct and indirect impact.

Another major recommendation that may remove barriers for consolidation and thus fuel further growth in the sector relates to a change of the unit for Private FM Radio broadcast licensing from city to district.

''This one step would effectively enhance the area of operations of FM Radio broadcasting to larger geographical area and thus covering a larger population. This again would result in reduction in the cost of operations for the broadcasters. Necessary flexibility has however been provided for retaining the existing area of operations,'' it said.

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