Sunday, 22 April 2012

FM Radio

All India Radio was all that the Indian audiences had until the 1990s. The introduction of private broadcasters mainly in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa and Chennai saw the entry of private FM slots. These were soon followed by stations in Hyderabad, Jaipur and Lucknow. The demise of the private broadcasters from the studios of All India Radio can be traced to 1998, as the broadcasting ministry realized the potential of this medium and began to demand higher revenues. The Ministry finally invited bids for FM frequencies in 2001 from across the country. However, this did not work out as foreseen as most private players bid heavily and most could not meet their commitments to pay the government the amounts they owed. Only a few stations like Radio City, Radio Mirchi and Red FM managed to sustain themselves, however in a poor radio advertising market. The Phase II of FM licensing happened in 2006, where some 338 frequencies were offered of which about 237 were sold. While the government may go for re-bidding of unsold frequencies, the Phase III of FM licensing sees smaller towns and cities opening up for FM radio. Although they were allowed only 15% of the total allocated frequencies, Reliance and South Asia FM (Sun group) bid for most of the 91 cities.

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