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Telecom regulator makes recomendations for FM radio

Date: 2/23/2008 1:18:30 PM

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on Friday it has recommended raising foreign investment limit in FM radio stations, allow news broadcast and multiple channel ownership in same areas to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

TRAI recommended future bidding for radio channels to be changed to a districtbasis instead of city, extending coverage and enabling more operators. Existing players should be given the option to enlarge their area, it added.

"There is a basis for a force multiplier of the industry if these recommendations get accepted by the Ministry," A.P. Parigi Chairman of FICCI Radio Forum.

"The government is moving towards a market economy," Parigi, who is also managing director of radio broadcaster Entertainment Network (India) Ltd, said.

The foreign holding, including institutional investment for FM radio, may rise to 26 percent for news broadcasting and 49 percent for nonnews broadcasting. Foreign holding now stands at 20 percent for both.

Other radio operators in India include HT Media Ltd, Sun TV Network Ltd and Adlabs Films Ltd.

Broadcasters may also be permitted to broadcast news taking content from the governments radio service and television services, authorised television news channels and news agencies, it said.

It also recommended that after at least three radio channels, apart from staterun AIRs, are running in any district by three different entities, an operator can bid for more channels as long as it does not own more than half the total channels in the area.

Entertainment Network Indias stock ended up 6 percent to 478.85 rupees and MidDay Multimedia Ltd closed up 4.7 percent higher to 39.9 rupees after TRAI came out with its recommendations.

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