The National Communications Commission, during its 813th Committee Meeting, held on the July 24, completed its first review of applications for the 11th Stage release of broadcasting radio station licenses and determined that a total of 158 applicants were qualified to proceed to phase-2, involving bidding or drawing of lots. The list of the qualified applicants of phase-1 is to be announced and qualified applicants shall be informed of the guidelines concerning the procedures for bidding (region) or drawing of lots (community). The aim of the licensing release is to enable regional development of broadcasting, particularly in regards to local access, conservation and cultural diversity, subsequently providing the public with greater diversity of contents and reviving the broadcasting market.
By issuing these licenses NCC aims to achieve the following goals: new broadcasting enterprises can consider the demands of the target audience, new services can be introduced, spectrum usage can be optimized, value can be placed on regional access, cultural conservation locally (including languages), regional development, and emergency alerts and warnings of can be more effectively imparted.
NCC determined the number of licenses by considering the conditions of the broadcasting industry and the existing industrial level-up room. A total of 5 permits shall be issued for regional (medium power) FM broadcasting enterprises, 9 permits for community (small power) FM broadcasting enterprises (though 10 were originally planned, but no application was submitted for the Lian Jiang region), and 1 permit for a community (small power) AM broadcasting enterprise. Issuing a license for regional broadcasting business adopts the method of first reviewing and then bidding, while the community broadcasting business is handled by first reviewing and then drawing of lots.
NCC announced the acceptance of applications was to run from February 9 to May 9 of this year. During that time a total of 165 applications were received by NCC: 14 for regional broadcasting enterprises and 151 applications for community broadcasting enterprises (150 FM and 1 AM). For its review, NCC acts in accordance with Regulations for the Establishment of Radio Broadcasting Enterprises and Guidelines of the Establishment of Radio Broadcasting Enterprises and also establishes an advisory board consisting of experts, scholars, civil groups and NCC representatives to be responsible for previewing applications and passing advice to Committee Meetings for consideration.
In accordance with instructions of NCC, such advice takes into account applicants that are capable and desire to run the enterprise effectively should it win the bid or drawing of lots. NCC required that key conditions essential to the planning of running an effective broadcasting enterprise, such as target audience, planning of programs, and mechanism for audience interaction, be specifically included in the operational plan, as well additional any relevant notes. It can be noted that most applicants were deemed capable of running an effective enterprise and considered the key items previously mentioned.
As part of its review, NCC also made recommendations on the improvement of the operational plan for subsequent reference of the applicant. Through this method, the enterprise can be encouraged to operate more effectively after obtaining the license. Moreover, NCC will continue to pay close attention to trends in broadcasting development and industrial dynamics so that it can plan future policy.
NCC has stated that the qualified applicants will be notified with procedures for bidding (regional) or drawing of lots (community). A successful applicant, after obtaining the license, is expected to help the commission attain the goals of maximizing spectrum efficiency, providing more culturally diverse contents, broadcasting in the interests of the public and regional development and to a more diverse audience at a larger market scale. Successful applicants should also be enabled to face the present prevalence of mobile devices and the future advent of the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) and consider digital media apps so as to increase reach and prosperity, thereby boosting development and enabling future broadcasting enterprises to keep pace with the times.