The FM radio operators have asked the government to allow them to air programmes based on news and current affairs besides entertainment.
In a meeting held with secretary of ministry of information and broadcasting, Asha Swarup, and FICCI Radio Forum, the operators also demanded that the FDI cap should be raised from the existing 20 per cent to galvanise an already booming FM radio sector said.
The FM operators also demanded that each operator should be allowed to broadcast more than one channel in a city to add more variety to the programmes it offers.
The operators also told the government that the existing limit of 15 per cent of total number of channels held by one player is “arbitrary and too restrictive” for the growth of the industry.
During the meeting, concern was raised about the growth of satellite radios as many operators felt that there should be some control as it was “harming” the interest of FM players who have paid a heavy licence fee. The operators said that terrestrial repeaters should not be allowed to use satellite radios that would result in a chain broadcast, that is simultaneous broadcast in several cities by the same licensee.
Making a case for broadcasting news on FM, the operators lamented that only the FM’s have been singled out of other media, including television, newspapers and Internet, in giving space to news-based programmes. While contending that radio is the true medium of the masses as it can communicate even to the illiterate, they said a vast majority of people in rural areas cannot afford a television set.