| 01 Dec 2023
First batch of FM Radio Phase III to have e-auction of 135 channels in 69 cities and towns

NEW DELHI: A total of 135 private FM Radio Channels will be auctioned in the first batch covering 69 cities in Phase III based on the reserve price formula approved by the Cabinet in 2011, the Parliament was informed today.

This covers towns and cities which already have FM but have vacancy for more, apart from areas which do not have FM Radio.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials told that the process would be completed by April-end.

I and B Minister Arun Jaitley told the Lok Sabha that apart from news taken from All India Radio (AIR) under conditions to be mutually agreed with Prasar Bharati, Phase III will consider non-news and current affairs, live coverage of sports, events of local nature, information pertaining to weather and traffic, cultural events and festivals, topics relating to examinations, results, admissions, career counsel, availability of employment opportunities and public announcements pertaining to civic amenities.

In addition, categories not permitted at present may subsequently be permitted by the Ministry subsequently from time to time, the Minister said.

Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore said there is no proposal in this regard for community radios before the Ministry.

In reply to another question, Rathore said the Government was not considering any proposal to relax the provisions providing for total direct and indirect foreign investment to the extent of not exceeding 26 per cent of the paid up equity in the entity holding permission for a radio channel at the time of application and during the currency of licence.

Under Phase II, foreign investments (including foreign direct investment or foreign institutional investment) stood at 20 per cent.

The largest beneficiaries of the first batch are Maharashtra including Mumbai with 26 channels in 13 towns, Uttar Pradesh comes next with 22 channels in eight cities, followed by nine channels in six towns of Rajasthan and eight channels in five cities in Tamil Nadu.