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News |  15 Sep 2008 10:59 |  By ITV

Release more spectrum on FM frequencies: Ficci

NEW DELHI: Ficci Radio Forum Chairman AP Parigi, who is also managing director of Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), has appealed to the government to urgently address core issues like release of spectrum for FM radio and allow Phase III policy changes including multiple licensing, tradability of licenses, etc.

While welcoming the government's approval for liberalising some rules in the existing FM radio policy, Parigi said "the crying need of the hour is to open up more frequencies in the bigger cities but that this can only be done by releasing more spectrum and vacating a band reserved worldwide for FM frequencies."

Parigi said the relaxations would help ÔÇ?this fledgling industry and take forward successful implementation of Phase II radio policy over the last two years'.

I appeal to the Union Government to ensure that the concerned ministries including the Department of Telecom and Defence Ministry support the Information and Broadcasting ministry in getting more spectrum which will ensure the survival and growth of FM radio which reaches more than 500 million people nationwide,... he said.

All major cities in the world have 25 to 30 FM channels but the lack of spectrum had stalled the growth of the FM radio industry in India, he said.

With the number of FM radio channels in India growing from 10 to just more than 200, the penetration of radio (number of listeners as a percent of the population) has only risen from 45 to 53 per cent. An eight per cent rise is definitely not commensurate with the large increase in the number of radio stations, he added.

In order to create a larger audience base for FM radio, diversity in content has to be significantly higher. Policy changes like allowing multiple licenses by one company for a single city have consequently been delayed. Multiple licenses would allow the same company to set up more than one radio station in a single city and will guarantee content diversity --which would substantially grow radio audiences and make radio a truly free-to-air electronic medium to serve the public.