Sapna Nair

FM stations to be launched by early 2007

FM operators across India will get to go on air in early 2007, say officials at Broadcast Engineering Services India Ltd

It’s been some time since the second phase of bidding for FM licences, which included 338 FM stations for 90 cities, ended. But it seems that there’s still time before these radio stations become operational, especially in the smaller towns.

As per government regulations, private FM players are allowed to set up their own transmission towers in the metros and a few select other cities. These cities are Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur. As a result, the new FM stations are being launched only in these cities.

In other towns, the FM players need to follow a co-location policy, wherein all the players will have to operate through a single transmission tower.

In many cities, the various FM players will have to bank on AIR or Doordarshan towers to facilitate transmission. The government has appointed the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) to coordinate these procedures.

The private players need to sign an agreement and deposit a fee with BECIL, and most of the FM players claim to have done so. Now BECIL’s job is to procure the equipment and set up the transmission towers.

BECIL’s managing director, KRP Verma, says that it takes almost 52 weeks from the date of signing to set up the infrastructure. This implies that the set-up should be ready by January 2007 or, at the latest, by May 2007.

A senior executive at Synergy Media, Sanjay Jain, AGM (project), expresses discontent at BECIL’s functioning. He says, “It has been close to 13 weeks now and the process hasn’t even been started. We haven’t received any intimation from BECIL.”

Others in the queue such as ADAG’s Adlabs and the Times Group’s ENIL (Entertainment Network India Ltd) feel that the proceedings are taking their normal course of time.

Rajesh Sawhney, president, Reliance Entertainment, is hopeful that all the Adlabs FM stations will be operational by early 2007.

So, those who are eagerly waiting for the FM boom in India will probably have to wait a few more months.

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

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