Community radio stations may soon get to air 12 minutes of ads per hour, says I&B minister

Community Radio stations could soon get to air advertisements for 12 minutes every hour like TV channels to make this vital segment more self-sufficient, Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday.

The minister said this as he simultaneously addressed the nearly 300 community radio stations that are functional across the country.

Javadekar said he was eager to increase the air time for advertisements to 12 minutes from 7 minutes on community radios currently to bring them at par with TV channels.

While 75% of the expenditure during setting-up of community radio stations is borne by the ministry and that comprises a major expenditure, daily operations’ cost is borne by the stations. The minister pointed out that there would not be the need for community radio stations to seek funds if more local advertisements can be relayed on these platforms.

Terming community radio stations as ‘agents of change’, Javadekar said they reached out to millions every day, and the I&B ministry will come out with a plan to increase their numbers.

Exhorting people to keep up their fight against coronavirus, the minister said that “we will drive it away the way we have driven away other diseases”.

However, he highlighted the new normal – one that consists of 4 steps – staying at home as much as possible, frequent washing of hands, wearing face masks in public and social distancing.

The minister reiterated the mantra of “Jaan Bhi Jahaan Bhi” and said that while restrictions are continuing in the containment zones, economic activities are starting up in green zones.

The minister also touched upon the key demand of community radio of permission to broadcast news. He assured that he will consider allowing news broadcast on community radio the same way it is done on FM channels.

Community radio stations work in an area of 10-15 kilometers and cater to the local audiences. Many such channels are operating in the interior and remote parts of the country.

He prodded such stations to play a key role in combating fake news menace. He added that the ministry has created a fact check cell under PIB and the community Radio can complement the role of fact check cell.

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