Peru and Mexico are two countries in Latin America that stand out for their commitment to the radio. In recent months both have been bidding around 170 for new AM and FM stations.

Richard St.

At the end of June 2017, the Federal Telecommunications Institute, IFT, finalized the tender process by which 123 granted radio station concession titles, distributed in 27 radio frequencies in AM and 96 in FM, and awarded to 57 Winning participants who met all the requirements previously established for the bidding.

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Of the total number of winning participants, 47 obtained frequencies only in FM, 7 only in AM and 3 obtained frequencies in both bands. Thus concluded a process that had begun a year earlier and for which initially 421 manifestations of interest to participate in the tender, by 189 individuals and 232 moral people.

At the time, the Commissioner President of the regulatory body, Gabriel Contreras, acknowledged that "For more than twenty years no new concessions for commercial use in our country had been granted for sound broadcasting; This, as a result of the Telecommunications Reform, will allow the public in different regions of the country to have new options for information and entertainment.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications of Peru announced at the beginning of June of this year the opening of the call for the first public tender corresponding to the year, in order to deliver up to 45 new authorizations of the FM radio service, with Community, educational and commercial purpose, in 17 localities at national level.

For this tender, the Peruvian ministry has prioritized those localities located in border areas, places of preferential social interest and those classified as rural areas. Likewise, it considered the decentralization and the manifestation of interest of the public in the realization of the contest.

These two cases are examples of the commitment to strengthen the radio in the region, which some pessimists say is stagnant. Undoubtedly, there is a space that can develop and for which there is an interest in the market, as reflected in the numbers of the tender in Mexico.

This also translates into opportunities for all industry players as well as technology makers who have focused their sales growth expectations on these two countries in a particularly difficult year for their business.

Firm Commitment
In Mexico, the commitment to strengthen the radio is not only in new channels. The IFT issued Technical Provision 011-2017, which obligates manufacturers of mobile phones that already have FM radio signal receiver, to enable it.

This standard does not require that manufacturers of mobile equipment incorporate this technological capability to receive the FM radio frequencies, but those that already have the receiver chip is activated to effectively tune stations, because most smartphones have A "chip" that allows to capture FM radio, but currently there are few devices in operation that have the active chip.

In addition, the IFT announced that it is scheduled to start new AM and FM radio tenders by the end of this year, in response to the 2016 and 2017 Annual Frequency Band Programs. Not to mention that Mexico is one of the first countries to advance in the implementation of the digital radio system, which will also allow frequency multiplexing.

That there are plurality of means will always be good news. Although the question remains whether there is the financial capacity to make these new stations a successful and lasting business. Time will tell.

Richard St.
Author: Richard St.
Journalist from the University of Antioquia (2010), with experience in technology and economics. Editor of the magazines TVyVideo + Radio and AVI Latin America. Academic Coordinator of TecnoTelevisión & Radio.



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