Our Bureau

Private FM radio broadcasters will begin airing All India Radio news bulletins in English and Hindi on their stations in an unaltered format from Tuesday.

Under a collaborative pilot project, private FM radio stations have been permitted to source AIR news bulletins free of cost for an initial period of five months, till May 31.

The Centre had allowed private FM broadcasters to carry AIR Bulletins, “on a mutually agreed terms and conditions with Prasar Bharati”, when it released FM radio Phase III policy guidelines, a few years ago. However, it never got implemented as the public service broadcaster and private radio operators could not reach an agreement on commercial terms in the past.

Addressing a conference, Information & Broadcasting Minister, Rajyavardhan Rathore, said it was a collaborative effort between the public broadcaster and private players to inform, educate and empower citizens. “The government’s priority is to inform and empower the citizens of the country and that is the reason this service is being made available to private FM radio broadcasters free of cost,” he added.

Private FM radio operators will need to first register with AIR to access the list of news bulletins of five minutes and 15 minutes in English and Hindi. They will also need to submit a monthly report to Prasar Bharati on the same.

Speaking at the sidelines of the event, Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharati, said, “Historically, AIR has been a source of authentic and credible news. In this era of fake news, this is more of an exercise... part of our mandate as a public service broadcaster to widely disseminate credible and authentic news.”

AIR produces over 60 hours of news content everyday with more than 600 news bulletins in various Indian and foreign languages. “ Already 90 private FM radio stations have registered to get access to AIR news bulletin. The effort will be to get all the FM radio stations on board,” he added.