The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has warned private FM radio operators that failure to air public service information, issued by the government, is a breach of agreement terms and would attract penalties.
Pointing out that the agreement with MIB stipoulates FM operators would broadcast public interest announcements as may be required by the federal and State Governments for a maximum of 60 minutes per day, MIB advised all the permission holders to “strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of (the) permission”.
It further stated that the government shall have the “right to impose penalties” in the event the grant of permission terms were breached.
The FM radio operators are obliged to air public service announcements issued by the federal and State Governments for a maximum of one hour per day with suitable and proportional time slots, interspersed during a day, earmarked for the purpose.
In the event the total demand for airtime by the government exceeds one hour per day, the Central or federal government would get preference over a State administration.
According to the broadcast and telecoms regulator TRAI’s 24th annual report for the year 2021-22, there were 366 private FM radio stations operational at the end of March, 2021, besides the public service broadcaster, All India Radio.
As regards community radio stations, reported by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), out of the 403 licenses issued at the end of March, 2021 for the setup of such stations, 324 community radio stations have become operational. The reported advertisement revenues by the private FM Radio broadcasters, according to TRAi annual report, have fallen from Rs. 1902.75 crore in the year 2019-20 to Rs. 941.47 crore in 2020-21.