| 08 Dec 2021
Phase III FM auctions and news monitoring system expected in the first quarter of 2015

MUMBAI: The Phase III FM radio auction will finally see the light of day in February 2015, said Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar, at the inauguration of All India Radio’s (AIR) free SMS news service in New Delhi on Wednesday, 29 October.

Javadekar said, "We held a meeting recently and I assure you that auctions will happen well before licences lapse in March... one month before at least." The licences he referred to are those of existing radio operators. There is a widespread concern about the impending expiry of these licenses.

He further stated that private FM radio stations will be allowed to carry news sourced from AIR. Sources have confirmed that the regulatory bodies have started working on the monitoring system, which will be a crucial tool for the government. "By first quarter of next year, the National Media Monitoring Agency will be set up to keep track on the radio stations, once news will be played on private stations."

The auction will open up 839 FM channels across 294 cities in the latest round of private FM radio expansion in the country.

Following the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations, the government agreed to reduce the migration fees and has increased the license duration to 15 years, from its current duration which is 10 years. However, the government has refused TRAI’s recommendation to decrease the initial price for auctioning new frequencies. The government also refused TRAI’s recommendation of lowering the minimum radio channel spacing from 800 KHz to 400 KHz.