The Nation



Community radio stations can be back on air next week

The National Council for Peace and Order and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission have agreed that all 4,700 licensed public and community radio stations can resume operations next week, according to Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee.

There are about 4,700 licence-holders. Their operations have been suspended since May 22 when the coup took place.

The NBTC is waiting for the official NCPO announcement allowing them to resume operations, Natee said.

However, he added that if they wanted to resume operations they would have to meet NBTC requirements, including power transmission not exceeding 500 watts, transmission towers not exceeding 600 metres and radius transmission not exceeding 20 kilometres.

The 14 NBTC offices nationwide and NCPO officers will check the stations' technical equipment and monitor content.

However, stations can open only one station in each province regardless of how many stations they have.

Business community-radio operators can open only one station nationwide regardless of how many stations they have. This means the number of licence-holders will fall to around 3,500. Of the current community radio stations, 80 per cent are business-oriented, 10 per cent are public-focused, and 10 per cent are community-centric.

Meanwhile, the broadcasting committee yesterday allowed another 10 free-to-air satellite TV channels to become pay-TV channels and three free-to-air satellite TV networks to become pay-TV networks.

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