| 14 Jul 2024
FM radio falls into crisis and needs government support

MUMBAI: Due to COVID-19 there has been a serious slowdown in industries and in such cases like airlines, logistics, hospitality, FM radio and many more are facing existential crisis. This isn’t the first time the industry is facing crisis, the sickness is the second, the first is the economic crisis of FY20.

With this second crisis the virus is crushing the industry. To this, FM radio now needs the support from the government for both short term and long term.

The No. 1 crisis is caused by COVID-19 which slowed down the broadcast. The FM radio is coming to an end and are at the cost of reducing jobs, which shows that they have economic issues. This result is not good for the country and needs government support for job losses.

The short-term measures taken from the government should be helping the chain of business to go on as they were. With economic issues, the government need not slow down its spends with both capital and operating expenditure. Government is known as the biggest advertiser in the FM radio, however it should clear all the debts of their past.

The French government removed all utility expenses, the government must do the same like electricity, gas, water, and rent. There are so many things that the government must do to cover the costs, electricity charges to various state electricity boards and some private power distribution companies; tower and land rentals to Prasar Bharati; annual licence fees to the ministry of information and broadcasting, annual wireless operating licence charges to the Department of Telecommunications and of course corporate taxes to the ministry of finance.

The Ministry of Finance has clarified “it (spread of coronavirus) should be considered as a case of natural calamity and force majeure clause may be invoked”. FM radio also has a force majeure clause as coronavirus is to make FY21 and waste several years more, the government extend the 15 years licence period of FM broadcasters by five years.