Vol. 5 Num 523 Wed. November 16, 2005  
Star City

Three new FM radio channels get licence

The government has given permission to set up three new frequency modulation (FM) band radio channels, raising the number of such private channels to four.

A total of 10 companies applied for the permission of operating FM radio channels, three of them got the licence. Only one channel, Radio Metrowave, is now on air for the Dhaka audience.

Sources said Radio Metrowave does not broadcast news due to a government restriction, but it will not be applicable for the new companies.

The new channels are planning to cater to a different target audience by broadcasting diverse programmes to add a new dimension to the private radio channels, the owners said.

These three radio channels are expected to start broadcasting programmes in FM band within one year of receiving permission, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and the Ministry of Information sources said.

Matiur Rahman Choudhury, managing director of Ayna Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), one of the three companies, said they would start operation next year.

He said high priority would be given to hourly news service, talk show, sports news and most importantly broadcasting of traffic situation in the city.

Another top official of the ABC said they are also planning to introduce programmes based on agriculture-related information which has a huge demand throughout the country.

The owner of another private radio channel said as soon as the channel starts operation they will design programmes considering the demands of the listeners.

He said FM radio transmission has been quite successful in our neighbouring countries, especially India. Such private channels not only cater to the listeners' entertainment needs, but also address the social and political issues of public interest.

Although radio is increasingly getting unpopular with the advent of other entertainment media, especially satellite TV channels, the radio listeners in the city are enthusiastic about the new FM channels but they expect quality programmes on diverse subjects.

Talking to Star City, a number of the listeners said broadcasting of news, talk shows and traffic information could help regain the popularity of radio.

Selina Akhter, a housewife, said programmes like musical and talk shows or anything about lifestyle could be very entertaining.

Asheque Selim, a student, said: "Radio is still popular in foreign countries. The sound quality is very good and the transmission of latest songs inspires youngsters to buy the audio tapes."

Ahmed Jahan, a businessman, said, "Radio programmes on traffic information can help drivers and commuters to save time and also reduce congestion in busy areas."