| 18 Jul 2024
AIR's FM channels aim to reach areas not covered by medium or short wave radio

New Delhi: Although All India Radio has 378 FM stations as compared to 243 active private FM stations, it covers about 45 per cent of the population of the country including rural India.

Answering a question about the dichotomy between the large number of AIR stations and population covered by it, Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources told that this was because AIR attempts to reach areas where the medium wave and short wave signals are not available and which are dark zones or shadow areas.

The scheme for setting up of FM Broadcasting Stations at 114 new locations in the country under 12th Plan was approved in March 2014.

In contrast, the private FM channels concentrate on the metros and large cities, though the cabinet has now cleared coverage of all cities having a population of one lakh or more for private channels in Phase III and the e-auction has already begun in stages.

The first batch covered only 135 vacant slots of FM channels in 69 cities which already had FM radio. The FM Phase III auctions began on 27 July, 2015 and ended on 8 September, 2015.Against the cumulative reserve price of Rs 459.8 crore for 135 channels, the government received aggregate provisional commitment of Rs.1156.9 crore for 97 channels in 56 cities.