The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended allowing private FM players to broadcast news. Currently, private FM players are only allowed to broadcast All India Radio's news bulletins without any changes. But that can change as TRAI has recommended that private FM players be allowed to broadcast independent news and start current affairs programmes. However, the news has to be limited to 10 minutes an hour. Also, all the programme codes of conduct applicable to All India Radio will also be extended to the private FM stations.
Private FM players in the near future can deliver news to listeners, which according to TRAI will be democratising media access in the country. TRAI believes that FM radio can be a great tool to bridge the information gap that exists in rural India. Many in rural India still rely on FM radio channels for their entertainment and information. Thus, allowing private FM players to broadcast news can prove to be a game changer for the government and other companies in delivering news to their citizens or customers in all parts of the country.
Along with this, the regulatory body has recommended that the annual license fee should be de-linked from the non-refundable one-time entry fee (NOTEF). TRAI has recommended that the annual license fee for the FM players should be calculated as 4% of the gross revenue of the FM radio channel during the respective financial year. Also, TRAI said that the GST should be excluded from the gross revenue.
TRAI has further recommended that the features or functions of FM radio should always be enabled in a phone that has all the necessary hardware. There should be no case of disabling the FM radio by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) even when the device can support it.