Push reforms to make radio industry viable, experts say

Wednesday, 26 March 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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Mumbai: The government needs to push reforms quickly so as to transform the private radio industry and boost the revenue streams, experts have said and noted that the 3 billion industry is currently plagued by lack of viability.

During a debate on "Radio Rocks" at the FICICI Frames global convention here Wednesday on media and entertainment industry, experts agreed that the totality of 6.2 billion radio industry is going through an transformational phase from being a passive medium to be an active medium.

Prashant Pandey, CEO, Radio Mirchi, said: "Private radio industry, which is currently a 3 billion industry with more than 250 stations across the country, is suffering from lack of advertising revenue."

He added that radio stations in B and C class cities are finding it very hard to make their both ends meet as there is dearth of advertisers in these areas.

David Astely, Secretary General of Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union, who spoke on the social responsibility of the radio broadcasters, said Indian radio channels should focus on areas such as education and health with innovative and interactive programmes, which will open a new area for generating revenue.

The Telecom Authority of India (TRAI), has already made recommendations that can spread radio to the grassroots level by proposing district-level FM radio licence.

Implementation of the recommendations, made for Phase III of FM radio rollout, is a long pending demand of the radio broadcasters.

TRAI proposed that broadcasters should be allowed more channels than one as long as there are at least three broadcasters in a district and the broadcaster with more than one channel is within 50 percent of all frequencies in the district.

This means, one could now have dedicated channels for a particular kind of programming - regional, pop, rock, classical or devotional music, for instance, or channels with strong focus on current affairs.
Source: IANS
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