MIB replies to queries of Radio broadcasters

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has responded to Radio Broadcasters on their queries regarding the FM Phase III auction. As per the recent cabinet approval for the first batch of Phase 3 auctions in 69 cities for 135 radio frequencies, the maximum number of frequencies that an operator can have post the partial auctions shall be limited to a mere 57 frequencies.

The Radio broadcasters had requested for a clarification on computation of 15% of nationwide limit. The MIB has not accepted as 15% national limit is prescribed in FM Phase III policy notified on 25.07.2011.

The MIB gave clarity to the Radio broadcasters on the total number of channels located in Jammu & Kashmir, the island territories and the North Eastern states are also required to be excluded from the total number of channels allotted in the country, in order to determine the 15% nationwide cap. On computation of City wise limits, the MIB has not accepted their request.

The MIB also made clear the removal of 1% increase where bidders equal frequencies i.e. at Zero Excess Demand and did not accept this query from their end. It also did not accept the lock in requirement for existing FM radio broadcasters for the Phase III auctions.

MIB has removed the Frequency Allocation stage which the broadcasters. Given that a particular frequency number per-se does not have any advantage/premium over the other frequency numbers, therefore, we requested the MIB to allow the FM broadcasters which are currently using such frequency to be given a preference to opt for the same frequency in the upcoming auctions but it was not accepted by MIB.

Some more key points which were not accepted by MIB are as below:
• No-objection Certificate (NoC) from BECIL in relation to migration
• Order for making migration policy fair and equitable, clear media requested MIB to permit clear media continue broadcasting; Date of payment of NOTMF for Phase-3 to be at the end of 120 months of the license period if clear media chooses to migrate to Phase-3 as has been provided to Phase-1 broadcasters in Delhi; and Effective date of commencement of 15 year Phase-3 license to be after the date of completion of Phase-2 license as per the original duration i.e. for 120 months.
• New owner has to obtain WOL from WPC first before signing the GOPA.

While some of the queries that were accepted were:
• Information on Bidding Dashboard during auction process
• The auction closing rule modified as follows: The auction activity requirement is 100%; and For all cities in all the channels, there is no bid submitted by any of the bidders i.e. Bidder Activity is NIL.
• Accepted to the extent that existing FM operators can use their FM channel brand name for new channels. The permission holder shall fix or modify the ‘Channel Identity’, which is the brand name of the FM radio channel, only after prior approval of the Ministry.
• No change in the cut-off date for migrations.

There was no change in Migration conditions. The defaulters of Phase-I who had accepted revocation of their LOI and exercised the option to participate in Phase-II bidding, and who were subsequently permitted to participate in Phase-II bidding, shall be permitted to participate in Phase-III bidding also.

The Applicants should take utmost care in preparation and submission of Applicants. Application review committee may decide to seek further information/clarification from the application, if required.

The Values means top 15% percent of the channels in which bidder had bid arranged in descending order. It may be considered that the tie rule II will only be applicable once there is a tie in rule no.1. Hence we can say that at rule no.1 we could not break the ice of any two or more than two bidders then we move to rule no.2.

There will be no waiver in lock in condition of 3 years either for new owner or old owner.  Upon receipt of the successful bid amount within the stipulated time, and fulfilment of other conditions as may be specified, the successful bidder will be issued a Letter of Intent (LOI) as soon as possible.

Prasar Bharati infrastructure should be made available at half the lease rentals for similar category cities in the cities of J&K, North Eastern States and island territories. Existing operators of Phase II who want to migrate to Phase III, will pay NOTMF as arrived at as per the migration formula given in Modified Para 31 of Phase III policy, notified on 21.01.2015.

15 years license period under Phase-III begins from the effective date of migration i.e. 01.04.2015. Migration GOPA is under scrutiny and shall be published in due course. Subsequent batch of auction will be conducted after consultation with TRAI on reserve prices for new cities and completion of feasibility study on reduce channel spacing and acceptance by Government.


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