NEW DELHI: E-auction for the third phase of FM radio channels will commence in June, Information and Broadcasting secretary Uday Kumar Varma said.
The Union Cabinet had approved auctions for the third phase almost a year back on 7 July 2011, but no date had been fixed.
Private FM radio broadcasters are eagerly waiting for the date announcement as they have to ready capital before that. The bidding could turn aggressive, particularly in the metros where more frequencies will open up.
The government expects to earn Rs 17.33 billion from auctioning the radio licences.
FM Phase-III policy extends FM radio services to about 227 new cities, in addition to the present 86 cities, with a total of 839 new FM radio stations.
The government has hiked the cap on foreign holding from 20 per cent to 26 per cent. The private radio operators are also allowed to carry news, but only from bulletins of All India Radio (AIR). FM radio broadcasters are struggling with the slow pace of revenue growth and many of them are in losses. The revenue market for FM radio is estimated at Rs 12 billion. (Indiantelevision.com 15/02)