Private FM radio operators ask Centre for help, point to how Canada has done it
The Association of Radio Operators for India this week reminded the government about its long-pending request for a package to survive the huge loss of revenue over the last several months. In a fresh SOS message to the information and broadcasting ministry, the industry body of private FM channels that are fighting for their survival suggested that the radio industry elsewhere was also in crisis. And they were getting help.
In Canada, the AROI said in a letter to the I&B ministry, the Canadian government had agreed to waive the licence fee for broadcasters for the financial year 2020-21 that would save 100 radio and television stations over $ 30 million. The Canadian government has already committed a $30 million spending on federal ad spending for newspapers, magazines, radio and television on a Covid-19 awareness campaign.
Back home in India, private FM radio operators have been struggling to stay afloat. In its multiple representations to the government, the AROI has underscored that the radio industry was on a ventilator and may have trouble surviving if it does not receive help from the government.
AROI has been asking the government for a one-year waiver on all licence fees and charges by the government and Prasar Bharti, restoration of government advertising on radio, besides clearing payments from the government’s publicity department.
In response, the government had given the industry a three-month extension of license fee payments without interest. The ministry has been prodding the government to do more.
“We trust that the government is reviewing our request in interest of survival of this critical media , which is also in interest of the nation, as radio contributes annually almost Rs 800 crore a year (other than one time entry fee) to the government for every year of its license period and extensions thereof,” the AROI said in a communication to the government.