More number of channels mean more job openings in the radio industry.
According to the new catalogue of policy guidelines issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the expansion of FM radio broadcasting services through private agencies (Phase-III), more than 20 districts in the State are on their way to get enriched with 59 new private radio FM channels, against the already existing 13 such channels in the State, thus totaling the number to 72 in the State.
“For running a commercial FM channel smoothly, we require at least 15 people comprising radio jockeys, station head, programming head, producers, copy-writers, promo producers, besides the sales and marketing department. In this way, after the completion of the Phase-III bidding, the upcoming channels will be ready to offer jobs to people from diverse interests, ranging from RJs, engineers and marketing people in all the 59 new stations,” says Shyam Bhat, Co-ordinator of a Udupi-based community radio station.
At present, many cities remain uncovered by private FM broadcasting, because cities having a population of more than three lakh, besides the state capitals, only were allowed to take part in the bidding process in the earlier two phases.
This step is obviously going to provide enormous opportunities to the local artistes and professionals, seeking a career in the radio industry. Technicians and producers, and those aspiring to become RJs, will soon have many openings.
Experts do suspect the success of the process in the remote districts of the State.
“FM channels being subscription-free, completely rely on advertisements, the only source of revenue, for running their stations. It will be a challenging task for the channels to procure advertisements from poor districts. I doubt on the required number of available bidders in such districts. This is the only hassle in the whole process,” says Anurag Sahay, a freelance media consultant.
However, a noteworthy point is that the new guidelines allow the private FM channels to broadcast news for the first time, in the history of radio transmission. Earlier, only the All India Radio (AIR) was allowed to do so. However, the private channels have been instructed to broadcast news received from the AIR only, and that too unedited.
Inspite of minor restrictions, city updates, latest cricket news, traffic updates, etc, do not come under the constraints and the FM channels are allowed to present them in their own desired package.
Experts opine that radio being a local medium of communication, will encourage local people to tap job opportunities in their vicinity. In this way, the mass communication students in the State will have diverse options in the field.