Friday, March 27, 2009

New FM stations to debut throughout Burma

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A ranking member from the Myanmar Music Association has indicated that States and Divisions throughout Burma will soon benefit from an additional four frequencies from City FM.

Besides the current Rangoon City FM and Mandalay City FM stations, four new channels will be added within a few months time, a senior official from the Myanmar Music Association acknowledged.

"The government has permitted what seems a joint-venture between the government and private companies," he explained. "Broadcasting work will be handled by the Information Ministry and everything will fall under this Ministry. I think they will assign some private companies to carry out the work and broadcast can begin in the next three months."

As reported in a local news weekly, there will be four base groups concerned with conducting the related work: the first in eastern, southern and northern Shan State; the second in Myitkyina in Kachin State, Chin State and Monywa in Sagaing Division; the third in Sittwe in Rakhine State and Irrawaddy Division; and the fourth in Taninthayi Division, Mon State, Karen State and Pyi in Pegu Division.

According to a responsible person from the Myanmar Music Association, due to the popularity of the existing channels, the need to expand the geographic reach of FM broadcasting and in order to comply with international standards, the decision was made to expand the number of FM stations.

Broadcasting will be the responsibility of private companies. Presently, it is understood that Kanbawza Company will take responsibility for Shan State and Ngwe Taung Company for Monywa in Sagaing Division and Myitkyina in Kachin State.

It is not yet known which companies will take responsibility for the other regions in question.

Currently, two channels, Rangoon and Mandalay City FM, broadcast daily programs, primarily consisting of music, interviews, entertainment news, talk and health shows. Both are lucrative businesses benefiting from vast advertisement revenue.

City FM programs were first introduced in 2000 in Rangoon and in mid-2008 in Mandalay, and are owned by the City Development Committees of the respective cities.

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