The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) approved a draft yesterday allowing over 7,000 community radio stations to air on a trial basis.
A public hearing on the draft will be held this July.
The draft will regulate 6,600 already registered community radio stations and another 1,000 stations that submitted their applications for a one-year trial before April 30 this year.
Community radio stations operate without licences because of a regulatory impasse the past several years.
Col Natee Sukonrat, the broadcasting committee chairman, said the draft would pave the way to process radio licences under its master plan, which has been in force since last month.
Under the master plan, the NBTC has to issue draft regulations for radio broadcasting service and begin awarding licences to radio operators within two years.
Col Natee said the draft would divide radio broadcasting into three areas: public, community and business services.
Public service involves broadcasting information and news from the government, or to promote democracy. Advertising is limited and mainly linked to its content.
Community service provides news and information of interest to a community and serves as a communication tool. Advertising is not allowed.
Business service is for profit _ it serves companies and can have advertising spots.
It will probably be the most difficult area for a radio station operator to acquire a licence when the process starts.
“There will be an auction for radio frequency licences for business broadcasting,” Col Natee said.
The draft states the technical standard for applicants to air radio programmes on a trial basis is power not exceeding 200 watts, antenna height not exceeding 40 metres and service area not exceeding 15 kilometres.
In another development, NBTC’s broadcasting committee yesterday required set-top box operators for both satellite and cable TVs to seek a permit from the NBTC.
News from the Bangkok Post