TRAI’s Recommendations on ‘Issues related to Community Radio Stations’

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently released its recommendations on issues related to community radio stations (CRS). The recommendations were made to the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry, which had requested TRAI’s views on various issues related to CRS. The recommendations aim to improve the operations and sustainability of CRS in India. Here are some of the key recommendations made by TRAI:

Extended Permission Period for CRS

TRAI has recommended that the initial permission period for CRS should be increased from the current five years to ten years. This change will provide more stability to CRS operators, allowing them to plan and execute long-term programs.

Increased Advertisement Duration

The regulator has also recommended increasing the duration of advertisements per hour of broadcast on CRS from the current eight minutes to 12 minutes. This change will help CRS generate more revenue and improve their financial sustainability.

Restriction on Number of CRS by One Organization

TRAI has recommended that no organization should be permitted to set up more than six CRS throughout the country. This recommendation aims to promote diversity in the ownership of CRS and prevent the concentration of CRS ownership in the hands of a few organizations.

Not-for-Profit Companies

TRAI has clarified that not-for-profit companies established under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 are already covered in the eligibility criteria for CRS. The regulator also reiterated that religious bodies should not be allowed to own broadcasting channels, including CRS.

Single Window System for Approval

TRAI has recommended a single window system for approval of CRS, where all processes for granting permission should be made online. The regulator has suggested that the SACFA clearance should be granted within one month of application, and the grant of WOL license should have a prescribed period, preferably within one month of application.

Support from Central and State Governments

TRAI has suggested that the I&B Ministry may actively pursue with central and state governments to sponsor more programs on CRS to support their sustainable operations. It has also recommended that all universities of central and state governments be provided with budgetary support to establish and operate CRS.





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