The Center has decided to bring in amendments to policy guidelines in the private FM radio space, in terms of ownership of channels at the national level. It believes these amendments will bring ease of doing business for the FM radio sector.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said the Cabinet has approved amendments in certain provisions of the Private FM Phase-III Policy Guidelines.

Channel holding

According to the amendments, the Center has decided to remove the 3-year window period for restructuring of FM radio permissions “within the same management group” during the license period of 15 years.

Earlier, no entity was allowed to own more than 15 per cent of the total channels allotted in the country. “The government has also accepted the long pending demand of the radio industry to remove the 15 per cent national cap on channel holding,” it added.

Financial eligibility norms

As part of the simplification of financial eligibility norms in the FM radio policy, entities with a net worth of ₹1 crore can now participate in bidding for ‘C’ and ‘D’ category cities. Earlier, the net worth eligibility was set at ₹1.5 crore.

The Ministry stated that these amendments will help the private FM radio industry to fully leverage the economies of scale.

It added, “This will pave the way for further expansion of FM radio and entertainment to tier-III cities. This will not only create new employment opportunities but also ensure that music and entertainment over the FTA (Free to Air) radio media are available to the common man in the remotest corners of the country.”

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