GoM on FM radio finalises e-auction for phase III

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New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) The Group of Ministers on FMradio phase-III, which will see an additional 700 radiostations in operation, has finalised an e-auction model forits roll out.

The GoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, metyesterday and decided against the conventional open auctionmodel and instead chose the e-auction method, official sourcessaid today.

While over 200 private FM radio stations are already inoperation, the third phase may allow another 700. The thirdphase would also focus on smaller cities and towns, whereprivate FM radio is absent till now.

The license period for the radio stations has beenextended to 15 years from the existing 10 years, they said.

The FM-III policy includes the provision of broadcast ofnews and current affairs as reported by Prasar Bharati. Italso aims at cutting down infrastructure costs by 50 per cent.

Sources said key issues like Prasar Bharati rentals andmusic royalty are addressed in the Phase III draft.

Radio broadcasters have been vocal about the high rentalscharged for Common Tower Infrastructure (CTI) draining theirprofitability.

With FM-III expanding to smaller tier ''D'' cities, it islikely to provide greater freedom and multiple ownership,promotion of local content, talent and culture. Formats liketalk shows, dramas, classic and folk music concerts,programming specifically for children, short stories and playswith a social message too are likely to be incorporated. PTISKU SPC

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