RadioandMusic
| 18 Sep 2019
BIG FM CFO Asheesh Chatterjee reveals five things required for radio to become successful in India

MUMBAI: One of the oldest mediums in the world, radio has been as an effective tool to connect with the masses even in the remote areas. But, the medium, especially private FM stations in India, have not been able to come into their fullest form owing to certain restrictions. BIG FM CFO Asheesh Chatterjee, who was present at the recently held Radio Festival brought to light these key issues that need to be addressed for the full-fledged success of radio in India.

  • Exorbitant fees

The huge fees incurred have always been an issue faced by FM radio stations in the country. On this Chatterjee says, “Basically, radio should go from those 102 cities to 300-400 cities and that can’t happen because of exorbitant fees. Those fees have to be nominal or very reasonable.”

  • Music license fee

Another roadblock for private radio stations in the country is the music license fee. “The music license fee is still not decided although the new copyright act was passed. There was statutory license given to the broadcasters, but because the copyright board never came up, the tarrif that would be applicable for such broadcast is still not out,” brings to light BIG FM CFO Asheesh Chatterjee.

  • Content restrictions

Content restriction is a key issue faced by private players in the country. On this, Asheesh Chatterjee reveals, “Content restrictions be it on live commentary of sports or news and current affairs is restrictive in nature and since it’s a free to air medium for the masses. These two are extremely mass oriented subjects for to be excluded in the play.”

  • Lack of stations

Chatterjee also brought to light the lack of radio stations in top metros and the reason for the same. “When it comes down to urban cities like Mumbai or Delhi, we have only nine stations. Clearly, there is space for channel spacing to get reduced and more stations to come in. This will also encourage content plurality,” he says.

  • High GST rates

Last, but not the least, GST incurred on private radio stations. Speaking about the same, Chatterjee says, “While print industry enjoys only 5% of GST, radio industry although it’s having only one source of income, which is advertising, an exuberant 18% of GST. Radio and TV are paying the maximum when compared with the print medium, which is for masses, information and entertainment. We have requested the government to lower GST rates.”

Well, Asheesh has indeed brought to light the real issues private radio stations in the country are facing. We hope the government takes into notice these key roadblocks; Indian radio industry has been facing and finds positive solutions.