| 11 Dec 2023
Private FM keeps fingers crossed, hopes Court decides in its favour about news

MUMBAI: Following the petition in the Supreme Court, the rationale of the government in not permitting private FM channels to air their own news bulletins has again become the biggest debate in the radio industry.

Until now, the Government has been saying that it would be difficult to monitor all the FM radio channels, as is being done for television.

Some programming heads reacted to questions asked by on this issue, even as the Court awaits a reply to its notice to the government.

Even listeners raise questions about the importance of a radio station giving news, and about why radio news cannot be monitored.

Tadka FM programming head Praveen Sharma said, “Radio is a medium of information for educated and less-educated people as well. A loyal radio listener should know about every happening around. So, private FM stations should be permitted relevant news. With a positive attitude, we expect the decision in our favour. This will also be an advantage to radio stations as it will grab more listeners.”

Parental group Rajasthan Patrika has its space in every mode of news information and if its FM station starts airing news.

Friends FM head Jimmy Tangree said, “In Phase III, private stations are directed to get news from the All India Radio broadcaster. If television channels, newspapers and websites can deliver news and happenings in and around, then why not even radio? As it is one of the local medium, allowing news bulletin in an RJ's style will be an add-on to the radio content.”

Fever FM programming head Aftab Ali, hopeful of a decision in favour of private radio, said, “Having news aired on FM channels with credibility is a great idea. As Fever FM is a part of HT media group which is in itself a large media co-operation, it would be easy for us to keep a check on correct news delivery. Also, radio is one of the fastest medium of information than the others. It is always live and people need not sit in front of a television screen or wait for the newspapers to print.”

Radio Mango CEO Mr. Ravi Nair seemed pretty upset with the government. He said, “I believe radio stations should be allowed. As radio is a part of large media group along with newspapers and channels, it seems to be unfair on radio’s part. Only television news channels are not responsible for informing the audience about the happenings. I honestly find no reason for not permitting FM stations. India being a democratic country is facing such issue while other countries not being a democratic country are enjoying the facility. Radio being an important part of electronic media, I hope SC to look into the matter as a paramount issue.”

Sarthak FM managing director Sitaram said, “News spreads easily. It cannot be controlled. If news bulletins are aired in FM stations, it will be an advantage for the radio industry. We will have listeners spending more time on radio than usual. It is observed that talented people run towards television than radio, so such things would be improved. Also, this will help in increase of revenue in parallel to increase in content. We will see a new dimension in news. A delay in decision is seen and the SC should now come up with a quick decision.”