Centre considers monitoring FM radio content

Centre considers monitoring FM radio content

I&B Ministry to evolve mechanism

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is considering evolving a mechanism to monitor the contents aired by private FM radio channels.

Getty ImagesAt a programme here on Monday, Uday Kumar, Secretary, I&B, hinted that the system would come into place from the beginning of the 12th Five Year Plan.

“The challenge of monitoring radio content is yet to be addressed in a meaningful manner. We do have a mechanism but I think we need to further evolve it. With more than 800 FM channels set to enter the market in the next three years, there will be a need for addressing the challenges,” he said. A working group set up by the Planning Commission to prepare the Ministry’s 12th Five Year Plan has suggested the government to strengthen the capacity of I&B Ministry’s Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC). The panel recommended that the EMMC should not only monitor the contents aired by TV chanels but also those of private FM channels and community radio channels.

Now 245 channels are operating in 86 cities. The government has recently announced policy guidelines on the expansion of FM radio broadcasting which will extend radio’s reach to 294 towns and 839 stations.PricewaterhouseCoopers, world’s largest professional services firm headquartered in London, has predicted a compound annual growth rate of 19.2 per cent over 2011-15 in FM radios in India, reaching Rs 26.0 billion market in 2015 from Rs 10.8 billion in 2010.

A recent Universe Update study conducted by the Radio Audience Measurement has noted that FM listenership in four metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata – has crossed 70 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Working Group has also suggested that the government should pay special attention to improve FM coverage in the 12th plan. At least, one dedicated nationwide news and current affairs FM channel should be introduced, it has said.It suggested the government to consider introducing dedicated FM channels for classical music and other cultural programmes.