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Wednesday, October 10, 2001 

Prasar Bharati, Music Broadcast in pact for co-location of transmitter

Our eFE Bureau in New Delhi

Prasar Bharati entered into an initiative with a private company for the first time when it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ispat Group’s Music Broadcast Private Ltd (MBPL) here on Tuesday. Calling it public private participation or PPP, Prasar Bharati CEO Anil Baijal said: “We look forward to more of such ventures.”

As per the MoU, Prasar Bharati will provide the All India Radio (AIR) tower to MBPL’s Radio City FM channel for co-location of transmitter.
The agreement, which was signed by chief engineers (projects) and head AIR resources HO Srivastava and MBPL director Ashok Khinvasara, allows MBPL to install its antenna and cable on the existing FM tower and also use the specified constructed area and land available at the Lucknow premises of AIR. MBPL has paid Rs 13.36 lakh to AIR as the tower rent fee for a year.

This move will help MBPL set up a 10-kw FM transmitter and start Radio City FM transmission from Lucknow in a short time. It will be the second FM station for MBPL, with Star as its content provider. The first one was started in Bangalore some time ago.

MBPL has licence for six cities—Delhi, Bangalore, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur and Patna. While Radio City is already in place in Bangalore and Lucknow is expected to happen soon, other non-metros (Nagpur and Patna) are also in the pipeline.

Of the non-metros, MBPL has to go on its own in Mumbai for an interim arrangement because AIR won’t offer co-location in the city. For the facility in Delhi, among other metros, AIR will take a decision in about four days.

Talking about AIR plans of offering its towers to private FM licencees in metros, Mr Baijal said the technical feasibility of the project is under study.

“It will take another three to four days for us to take a decision,” Mr Baijal said. AIR decided to re-examine the idea of co-location of FM transmitters in metros after apprehension on capacity of AIR towers was raised.

When asked to comment on the probability of AIR offering its tower to FM players in metros, Mr Baijal said: “It takes two to tango.” The consultant —Triveni Structurals— has submitted its feasibility report on the tower-sharing aspect between AIR and private FM players in metros. Triveni has thrown up various scenarios, he said. It’s up to Prasar Bharati to act on the same now.

On whether competition between AIR and private players was an issue here, which was probably delaying the process of co-location of transmitters, Mr Baijal said: “Nobody can stop competition.” That is, private FM players would anyway have their towers, even if AIR doesn’t allow co-location in metros.


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