Encouraged by the second phase of FM radio expansion in the country, the Cabinet on Thursday approved the third and crucial part of the expansion to 227 more cities.
A huge demand exists for FM radio in many smaller cities which still remain uncovered by private radio FM broadcasting, as only a limited number of cities were taken up for bidding during the first two phases.
The Phase 2 experience revealed that untapped potential for future growth in the sector is quite phenomenal which is likely to be even more pronounced with increasing demand of FM radio among the semi-urban and rural populace.
With the completion of the Phase 3 expansion, there would be 839 FM radio channels in 294 cities across the country. The radio channels have also been permitted carriage of news bulletins of the All India Radio.
“This phase will have a huge impact on the radio scene of the country,” said Archana Kapoor, a radio professional. All cities with a population above 1 lakh will to be taken up in Phase 3.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 reined in R1,733 crore for the Centre in total revenue upto May 31, 2011 by way of one-time entry fee, migration fee, annual fee, etc.
Besides various incentives for Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east region, 11 cities in the border areas will be included in Phase 3 even though they may be having populations less than 1 lakh.
This is done after consultation with the defence and home ministries so as to counter counter cross-border propaganda and for strategic reasons.