Before the year ends, you will be able to get your daily dose of news, along with entertainment, on your favourie FM channel.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has given a go-ahead for 261 private FM channels to air news and current affairs programmes produced by All India Radio (AIR).
The proposal awaits the signature of the concerned minister — Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi — following which, it will require a Cabinet clearance.
Ministry insiders say AIR news on private FM channels could be heard in a month's time.
In the next phase, the FM channels would be allowed either to outsource news and current affairs programmes or produce themselves. But that will only be possible once the self-regulatory mechanism of the Association of Radio Operators in India is in place.
“We are allowing AIR news on FM channels to test how people react to news on FM channels. If it works well other sources can be allowed,” a ministry official said.
Uday Chawla, of the radio operator's association, added: “We’ve agreed to the ministry’s suggestion. The self-regulatory mechanism would be in place in two weeks.” He said the mechanism would first put in place guidelines to ensure “fair news without impinging upon journalistic ethics”.
The private radio operators have been demanding news on their channels to enhance their content packages.
In February, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended to the I&B ministry to permit FM broadcasters to air news content from AIR, Doordarshan, authorised news channels and agencies. Trai's clearance came three years after an entertainment and communication panel— constituted by the Prime Minister — recommended that news be allowed on FM channels.