| 18 Apr 2024
Cabinet approves third batch of Phase III FM licensing

MUMBAI: Before the year comes to an end, here is good news for the radio industry. For the upcoming year, the Union Cabinet has approved the licensing of radio stations for the third batch of Phase III FM radio licenses.

The new batch will have 683 channels in 236 cities with the coverage of Private FM radio broadcasting to span across all 29 States and 6 Union Territories. The third phase will include a large number of cities with zero Private FM radio channels, as well as cities with a population of less than one lakh.

The first batch of Phase 3 auction which concluded in September 2015 had 135 channels in 69 cities on offer. The total value of channels sold was Rs 1,187 crore.

However, Batch-II in 2016 earned only Rs 200 crore, as only 66 out of 266 frequencies were sold in 48 cities. The reason is many leading FM radio players stayed away from the Batch-II auction due to the high reserve prices set by the government. Notable absences from the auction included DB Corp, HT Media, Reliance Broadcast Network and Music Broadcast.

The government estimates that it would yield more than Rs 1,100cr from the e-auction of third batch of Phase-III FM radio licenses.