Revised Community Radio Station Guidelines

On February 13, 2024, marking World Radio Day, India’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur released new policy guidelines for expanding community radio stations across the country. The guidelines were unveiled at the two-day Regional Community Radio Sammelan conference held in Delhi and attended by stakeholders from the broadcasting industry.

Key Features

The revised community radio guidelines introduce major changes to enable growth of this localized broadcasting medium.

  • Institutional Ownership

A key provision increases the limit of community radio stations one institute can set up from one to six stations across various districts. This allows established organizations to launch multiple community stations catering to diverse regions and enhancing outreach.

  • Advertising Duration and Revenue

The guidelines significantly boost the monetization potential for community radio by hiking the allowed advertising duration from 7 minutes to 12 minutes per hour. Simultaneously, the base rate for 10 second advertising spots goes up from ₹52 to ₹74. This greatly expands revenue sources to make community radio operations more sustainable.

  • Simplified Licensing

The new guidelines also ease operational challenges regarding permissions, licensing and clearances for setting up community radio stations. A web portal for processing applications and approvals is being introduced to enable more efficient roll-out of stations.

  • Government Support

Given community radios run mostly via internal funding, external financial support schemes have been scarce so far. The revised blueprint lays out Central government funds to provide financial viability gap funding, set up infrastructure, digitize stations and raise professional standards regarding content and management.

Impact of the Guidelines

The updated community radio guidelines are expected to rapidly accelerate growth in this sector. From just over 300 existing stations currently, the aim is to double this number with over 600 community radio stations in the next 2-3 years. By reaching smaller towns and rural pockets, community radio can fulfill goals of wider connectivity, localized engagement and affordable entertainment cum information access.

World Radio Day

World Radio Day is celebrated on February 13th every year. It was proclaimed in 2011 by UNESCO to raise awareness about the importance of radio as a medium. To mark the occasion, radio stations around the world organize special programming to showcase radio’s role in communities. Activities highlight issues like gender equality, open communication, innovation in radio, and the security of journalists. The 2024 theme “Radio and Peace” explores radio’s potential to spread messages of tolerance and mutual understanding.


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