| 22 Sep 2023
Formats of agreements with I&B Ministry and WPC for FM Phase III released

NEW DELHI: Aiming to expedite the process for FM Radio Phase III, the Government has released the format of the Grant of Permission Agreement for FM Radio in Phase III and the format for GOPA for those migrating from Phase II.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B Ministry) also placed on its website the format of the undertaking to be given to the WPC Wing of the Telecom Ministry for frequency assignment.

This undertaking makes it clear that the spectrum given to the FM operator will be provisional and will be surrendered in the event of the operator getting fresh spectrum after a permanent licence is issued through auction.

The formats of the agreements for those migrating from Phase II or those entering Phase III directly is generally similar.

The Permission will be valid for a period of fifteen (15) years from the effective date. There will be no extension and the Permission, unless cancelled or revoked earlier, will automatically lapse and expire at the end of fifteen years and the Permission Holder will thereafter have no rights whatsoever to continue to operate the Channel after the date of expiry of the Permission.

The Government at the appropriate time will determine procedure for issue of fresh permissions.

The effective date of the Permission Period shall be reckoned from 1 April 2015.

The permission will be for free to air broadcasts on main carrier and data on sub-carriers.

The Permission Holder shall not be competent to grant a sub–Permission directly or indirectly. But the Permission Holder may resort to outsourcing of content production as well as leasing of content development equipment as long as it does not impact the permission holder’s right as FM broadcaster and enjoys complete control over the channel. However, the permission holder will be fully responsible for any violations/omissions of the stipulated provisions with regard to the content.

The Permission Holder may hire or lease broadcasting equipments on long-term basis as long as it does not impact the permission holder’s right as FM Radio broadcaster and enjoys complete control over the channel. However, the permission holder will be fully responsible for any violation of the stipulated technical parameters.

The permission holder will not enter into any borrowing or lending arrangement with other Permission holders or entities except recognised financial institutions and its related entities (to say, its subsidiary or holding company, a company with the same management and an inter-connected undertaking), which may restrict its management or creative discretion to procure or broadcast content or its marketing rights.

The Permission Holder shall ensure that there is no linkage between a party from whom a programme is outsourced and an advertising agency.

The Holder will ensure that no content, messages, advertisement or communication, transmitted in its Broadcast Channel is objectionable, obscene, unauthorised or inconsistent with the laws of India.

The Grantor (the Government) will have the right to temporarily suspend the Permission of the Permission holder in public interest or for national security for such period or periods as it may direct. The company shall immediately comply with any directives issued in this regard failing which the permission issued shall be revoked and the company disqualified to hold any such permission in future for a period of five years.

The total direct and indirect foreign investment including portfolio and foreign direct investments into the company will not exceed 26 per cent after execution hereof and during the currency of license subject to the company migrating all its existing Phase II Permissions into FM Phase III.
In the event of the government announcing a new cross-media policy, the permission holder will have to conform to this within six months.

The Permission Holder will follow the same Programme and Advertisement codes as followed by All India Radio (AIR) as amended from time to time or any other applicable code, which the Central Government may prescribe from time to time.

The permission holder will be permitted to carry the news bulletins of AIR in exactly same format (unaltered) on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed with Prasar Bharati, No other news and current affairs programs are permitted under the Phase III policy.

The broadcast pertaining to the categories to be treated as non-news and current affairs broadcast and therefore permissible include information pertaining to sporting events, excluding live coverage. However live commentaries of sporting events of local nature may be permissible. Other coverages include information pertaining to Traffic and Weather; coverage of cultural events, festivals; coverage of topics pertaining to examinations, results, admissions, career counseling; availability of employment opportunities; public announcements pertaining to civic amenities like electricity, water supply, natural calamities, health alerts etc. as provided by the local administration; and such other categories not permitted at present, that may subsequently be specifically permitted by Grantor from time to time.