Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | India | Radio One Coming To Chennai with Frequency Hiccups

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been following the progress of the roll out of the Government's Phase II, FM radio stations in India. The latest development is for Radio One, the Mid-Day Multimedia and BBC Worldwide venture to open its Chennai broadcast station in a few weeks time.

Radio One has already started its FM station transmissions in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. After Chennai, more digitally-equipped, broadcasts will start in Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Pune bringing the total grouping to seven FM stations. All expected before March 2007.

L V Navaneeth has been appointed as Station Head, Radio One Chennai. He moves from being GM, Marketing The Hindu publication. John Vijay has been hired as Content/Programming Head.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, Mid-Day Multimedia is challenging the decision of TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) to withdraw Radio One's well known frequency 92.5 FM and awarding it to a new entrant, "Radio Big" that is owned by "Adlabs", a company in the "Anil Ambani Group".

TDSAT had given Mid-Day Multimedia Radio One the frequency 92.3 instead, in a re-alignment of FM frequencies among radio groups.

Radio One is appealing this decision contending the allocation of new frequency 94.3 was not fair as it had become a brand in Mumbai, saying that while allocating the unified frequency of 94.3 to Radio Mid Day to operate in six cities including Mumbai.

Mid-Day Multimedia asserts that the withdrawal of 92.5 FM, a frequency synonymous and identifiable with Radio One was the same as Radio Mirchi being recognised by 98.3 FM in Delhi.

The TDSAT contends that: "FM channels identity means: 'brand name of an FM station' as approved by licensor (the Government) for that particular channel." Meaning the government contends identity is not known by the allocated frequency but the names coined by a station to promote itself.

That definition goes against the grain for almost any FM commercial radio station in the world. Again, this IS INDIA!

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News understands the Delhi court decision is still pending.

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