The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has granted more time to stakeholders for submitting their views on the issue of allowing not-for-profit companies to set up community radio stations (CRS). In a consultation paper on ‘Issues Related to Community Radio Stations’, the broadcast regulator also sought views on increasing the permission period for operating the radio station from the existing five years to 10 years.
The TRAI had initially asked stakeholders to submit their views by August 17 and counter-comments by August 31. It has now extended the date for submission of comments to August 31 and counter comments by September 14.
CRS serve a local and well-defined community focusing on the day-to-day concerns of its audience and satisfying their specific information and entertainment needs.
As per data provided to TRAI by 52 CRS operators, 16 of them do not broadcast any advertisement, whereas 32 operators run advertisements for five minutes or less per hour.
The consultation papers also sought views on increasing the maximum duration of advertisement per hour from the existing seven minutes of broadcast on CRS.
It also asked for stakeholders’ views on the number of community radio stations run in each district of operation by the not-for-profit organisations, operating in multiple districts.
The government had in 2013 introduced a scheme, ”Supporting Community Radio Movement in India”, for providing financial assistance to strengthen new and existing CRS.
The scheme envisions supporting CRS with resources, capacity and technology to promote growth, especially in remote and rural areas, to enable socio-economic and cultural development of communities.
Any CRS that became functional on April 1 last year and completed three months of its operations is eligible for a one-time financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh.