Commercial Radio Broadcasting in India: FM Radio

A committee of Broadcasting and Information Media was setup in 1964 under the chairmanship of A.K. Chanda, well known as ‘Chanda Committee’. It gave its report in 1966. On the basis of its recommendation television was delinked from radio and the TV set up was called Doordarshan in 1976. Another important recommendation was for the starting of a commercial service on radio. It was started from Vividh Bharti in 1967. In 1969, a new channel “Yuva vani” was started in Delhi. The sponsored programs on the commercial service were introduces in 1970.

FM broadcast were introduced in Madras in 1977 and later in Jalandhar in 1992. FM broadcast ensure reception free from atmospheric noise and electric interference. The AIR stations of Delhi, Bombay, Panaji, Banglore, Madras and Calcutta started in selling their FM slots to private producers such as Times FM, Radio Midday, and Radio Star.

On 15 August 1993, FM was launched in Bombay, with nine hours of radio time leased to private producer.

AIR charges a fee of Rs. 3000 per hour, but the private companies advertisers charges Rs. 250-300 for a 10 second commercial.

The broadcast in most of the cities are oriented to urban youth population with western music, sponsored hits parades and countdown, chat shows, contests, quizzes and plays.

FM technology facilitates localism of broadcasting and the operations of a large no. of stations. Presently New Delhi has 5 FM channels which are: AIR FM, FM Rainbow, Radio City (91FM), Red FM (93.5), Radio-Mirchi (98.3). However on the world level for instance, New York has as many AS 82 stations, London has 42, Manilla has 35 and 29 for Jakarta.

Transmission bands for FM radio ranges between 80 and 108 MHz, though the Indian government has kept 80-108 MHz for its own services, still 13 frequencies are available for a whole lot of station in different language in multi-linguistic cities. AIR plans to extend FM broadcasting to many more cities.

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