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(representative image) (Shutterstock)
(representative image) (Shutterstock)

Covid-19 impact: Radio industry on 'ventilator', pleads for support

  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has responded to the request with a three-month extension of license fee payments without interest
  • However, according to AROI the support is much less than had been requested

The radio industry has been one of the major industries that has been impacted by the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak in the country. Now, as it survives on 'ventilator' owing to reduced advertising across sectors, the industry body has reached out to the government seeking a support package to combat Covid-19 crisis.

The Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI), an industry body of private FM channels had reached out to the government seeking a ‘support package’. In a letter to the Union minister of information and broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, the AROI has sought a 1 year waiver on all license fees and charges by Government and Prasar Bharti/ WPC; restoring Government advertising on radio; clearance of Government dues on advertising from DAVP, NFDC & BSNL and deferment of advance regulatory payments for FY21.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has responded to the request with a three-month extension of license fee payments without interest.

However, the support from I&B is much less than what was demanded, according to AROI. It also said that with the limited support from the government, the sector has been forced to undertake "drastic cost reduction measures as companies are unable to generate enough cash flows to meet the salary cost and fixed operations cost requirements."

Many players have unwillingly reduced salaries and rationalized manpower resulting in job losses.

"The current turbulent scenario is bound to have an adverse impact on the Music industry as well that employs more than one lakh people with radio being one of their primary so," the radio industry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the industry revenue for radio were down by over 80% in April and are estimated to be down by 90% in May. With no revenues from the commercial segments and no Government sector advertising, the radio industry witnessed an estimated loss of over 200 crores in the first two months of FY21.

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