Government considering news broadcast on FM radio


New Delhi : Days after clearing the airing of political advertisements on radio, the government plans to allow FM radio channels, known mostly for their music programmes, to broadcast news.

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“We will take a decision on this soon. The issue is under consideration,” Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Anand Sharma told reporters here Wednesday when asked about a decision on allowing FM channels to broadcast news.

“We are considering it. But the FM channels will not be allowed to generate news. They can only source it from All India Radio,” Sharma said.

“This proposal is for phase III of FM radio when 75 new channels will be added,” Sushma Singh, Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, told IANS.

Singh, however, said there is no deadline for the rollout of Phase III FM expansion which will enable FM players to further expand their reach in Tier-II and III towns.

The government has conveyed its views on FM Phase III policy to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and sought its recommendations on this issue.

About 241 private FM channels are operational in 83 cities.

No news and current affairs programmes are permitted under the existing FM broadcasting policy.

The rollout of Phase III FM expansion will enable FM players to further expand their reach in Tier II and III towns.

The information and broadcasting ministry recently amended the All India Radio Code allowing political advertisements to be carried on AIR and FM radio. The advertisements will be screened by a committee set up by the Election Commission before they are cleared for broadcasting.