45 cities to tune to FM by March

New Delhi, Nov 28 | Updated: Nov 29 2006, 08:21am hrs
A total of 115 private FM radio stations will open in 45 cities within the first three months of 2007. The remaining 150 odd stations in FM Phase II will be operational by August 2007.

A written assurance in the matter has been given by the Broadcast Engineers Consulting India Ltd (BECIL)the government enterprise responsible for creating the common transmission infrastructure (CTI) in the 91 cities offering 270 stations in the second phase of FM radio expansion.

As per the agreement, all private FM radio companies had to collectively pay over Rs 250 crore in advance to BECIL for creation of CTI in addition to over Rs 1,500 crore paid as license fee to the government in FM-II. But there was no definite deadline for the completion of the transmission towers essential for launching FM radio transmission.

Without CTI, we cannot launch over stations. Each FM company has made big investments which can not be recovered unless we launch our stations, a senior executive in FM radio company said.

According to industry estimates, over Rs 2,500 crore of investment has already gone into the FM radio business that currently generates revenue of only Rs 330 crore.