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Based on applications submitted until 5 pm, 1 August, the government will pre-qualify applicants who meet eligibility criteria for participation in the auction.
Based on applications submitted until 5 pm, 1 August, the government will pre-qualify applicants who meet eligibility criteria for participation in the auction.

Government invites applications for auction of 266 private FM radio frequencies

Information and Broadcasting ministry issued a notice inviting applications , under which 227 frequencies will be auctioned in 69 new cities and the balance 39 frequencies in 23 existing cities

New Delhi: The government on Monday invited applications for the auction of 266 private FM radio frequencies across 92 cities.

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Monday issued a so-called notice inviting applications (NIA), under which 227 frequencies will be auctioned in 69 new cities and the balance 39 frequencies in 23 existing cities.

This is the second batch of electronic auctions under Phase-3 of FM radio privatisation, after the first set of auctions held in September, when 91 channels were auctioned in 54 cities.

Among cities where radio frequencies have been put up for e-auction are Hyderabad, Asansol, Amravati, Dehradun and Mysuru.

Those winning the 36 channels up for sale in 14 cities of Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern states will get special incentives, the ministry said, calling it part of the government’s thrust for “concerted development" of these regions.

Based on applications submitted until 5 pm, 1 August, the government will pre-qualify applicants who meet eligibility criteria for participation in the auction.

Out of 69 new cities, there are 20 having 80 channels with 3-10 lakh population, 38 cities having 114 channels with 1-3 lakh of population and 11 cities in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern states with total population up to 1 lakh having 33 channels.

“The first batch comprised vacant channels in existing cities only i.e. the cities where private FM operators were already present; hence, the operationalization of channels in new cities taken up in the second batch will lead to actual geographical expansion of private FM radio," a ministry statement said.

The first batch of Phase-3 auctions held in September also paved the way for the migration of 181 Phase 2 licences to Phase 3 licences. Radio companies have already started setting up new stations on the frequencies won in the first batch under interim transmission facilities.

HT Media Ltd-owned Fever 104 is all set to launch its new stations in Hyderabad and Lucknow next month, while Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM, owned by Entertainment Network (India) Ltd (ENIL), the radio company of the Times Group, went live with a new station in Hyderabad earlier this month.

HT Media is the publisher of Hindustan Times and Mint.

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