Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nepal Leads the Way in Community, FM Radio Stations

As reported by the Asian News Service, Wednesday August 16, 2006

Kathmandu, (ANI) -- Nepal has 56 community, commercial and state-run FM radio stations.

Community radios focus on locally relevant information and discussions mainly on issues such as agriculture, education and health. Cooperative stations have a good mixture of entertainment and news, while commercial stations are almost entirely entertainment-based and cater to the younger generation of music listeners.

The Himalayan country is one of the first countries in South Asia to allow non-governmental organisations to broadcast on the frequency modulation band.

Radio Sagarmatha, which broadcasts programmes for the Kathmandu Valley on 102.4 megahertz, was the first to go on air in 1996.

Twenty-five more applications are pending with the information and communication ministry for FM licences, said Suman Basnet, regional coordinator of AMARC Asia Pacific and member of the Save Independent Radio Movement in Nepal.

India has no community radio while Afghanistan has a women's-only radio station. Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have none.

Community radio stations in Bangladesh are not likely to emerge till the government clears a draft of the National Broadcast Act that has remained on the shelves since 2003.

Madanpokhara FM in Palpa, Radio Lumbini in Butwal and Radio Madanpokhara are some of the popular community radio stations of Nepal. (ANI)