News broadcast licence, govt ads: Listening in to radio sector’s expectations from Budget

Rationalisation of GST structure, relief in import duty on broadcast equipment are some of the other demands

by Team PITCH
Published - January 31, 2023
4 minutes To Read
News broadcast licence, govt ads: Listening in to radio sector’s expectations from Budget

The year 2022 was the year of recovery for all industries after facing multiple waves of Covid. As we enter 2023, all sectors, including the media, are expecting some relief measures in the upcoming Union Budget to boost their revenue. We spoke to senior leaders in the radio industry to understand what they are looking forward to. Take a look at what they shared.


Industries across sectors are skeptical about the complex GST structure that came into force a few years back.  Radio industry too expects rationalisation of the tax.

According to Ashit Kukian, CEO of Radio City, “The radio sector has been experiencing a steady economic recovery post Covid. With the Budget for 2023 to be announced soon and the Finance Minister laying the foundation of India’s economic growth revenue, the radio sector has certain expectations for the same. One of the most important expectations is re-examination and rationalization of GST. This rationalisation can help the radio industry generate higher revenue and focus on a stronger growth trajectory.”


Advertising support from government 

Industries across sectors have been witnessing stagnancy in business for the last couple of years. They all are looking at the government for some support in the form of advertising.

Nisha Narayanan, Director & COO, of RED FM, and Magic FM, said, “Radio has always been loved by the advertising industry for a multitude of reasons. The R in the radio stands for the recall value. It has been and will be the first preference for advertisers even in the upcoming years. This is because radio presents content wrapped in creativity that stays with the listeners for a longer period as compared to other mediums. However, all the benefits fall flat on the face if not supported by the required policies by the government.”

“The radio industry is in dire need of opportunities that are equivalent to other industries, especially in terms of advertising support from the government. Radio has the last-mile reach. It possesses the potential of assisting through natural calamities and much more. Despite the many strengths of radio, the government expenditure on the medium has remained stagnant in recent years and advertising rates have been the same as well,” she shared.


Integration of technology to bolster audience base

Talking about technology integration and media advancement across undeveloped areas, Kukian said, “Additionally, we hope that the government draws attention to the integration of technology and digitization across hinterlands as it will help strengthen the radio & media industry in bolstering the audience base. Leveraging this reach, the radio industry can continue to be one of the most preferred media of communication and offer relevant information across the length and breadth of the nation.” 

Talking further about technological development and licence issues in the radio industry, Narayanan said, “We seek allowance in terms of networking, resolving music royalty concerns, and creating an IT policy for streaming digital content. Moreover, relief in terms of investing in the licencing or OTEF at lower infrastructural costs to create original content is expected to be a game changer for the radio industry. With the amended policies and support, the radio industry will continue to be a medium for the masses that uplifts other industries along with it.”

She further asked the government to boost radio infrastructure and create policies that assist in the expansion of the industry into newer markets.

“The radio industry has the potential to thrive if abetted with a level-playing field, especially when it comes to operating in the digital ecosystem. This can be achieved by allowing news and current affairs on radio. This can further encourage more players to join the ecosystem and make it less monopolistic,” she explained.


Promotion of Atmanirbhar Bharat

Talking about the import of equipment used in the radio industry, Rahul J Namjoshi, Chief Executive Officer, My FM Radio, Dainik Bhaskar Group, said, “Import duty on transmitters and broadcasting equipment should be exempted as these equipment are not manufactured in India and we are dependent on imports only.”

He added that in indigenous manufacturers should be encouraged. 


Licensing Private FM Radio

Furthermore, bringing up the topic of focusing more the license private FM Radio, Abhay Ojha, CBO Zee Media Corporation Limited, said, “Private FM Radio should be given news Broadcasting license for the overall growth of the media.”

Echoing the idea, Kukain, said, “While the recently announced new radio phase III guidelines will boost the radio industry, we believe that the government should also provide an extension on the licence period and streamline the annual licence fees.”