The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given more time to stakeholders to express their views on the issue of allowing non-profit companies to set up Community Radio Stations (CRS). In a consultation paper on ‘Issues relating to community radio stations’, the broadcasting regulator has considered extending the period of license to operate radio stations from the current five years to 10 years.
TRAI had initially asked stakeholders to submit comments by August 17 and counter-comments by August 31. Now the date for submission of comments has been extended to August 31 and counter-comments to September 14.
CRS serves a localized and well-defined community that focuses on the day-to-day concerns of its audience and caters to their specific information and entertainment needs.
According to information provided by 52 CRS operators to TRAI, 16 of them do not broadcast any advertisements, while 32 operators run advertisements for five minutes or less per hour.
The consultation papers also called for views on increasing the maximum length of advertising per hour from the current seven minutes broadcast on CRS.
Stakeholders were asked for their views on the number of community radio stations operated in each district by non-profit organizations operating in several districts.
The government had launched a scheme in 2013 to provide financial support for new and strengthening of existing CRSs, “Assistance to Community Radio Movement in India”.
The scheme envisages CRS to promote development to enable socio-economic and cultural development of communities, especially in remote and rural areas, with resources, capacity and technology.
Any CRS operationalized on April 1 of the previous year and completing three months of its operations are eligible for a one-time financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh.