Radio broadcasting in Nepal is one of the major sectors that has experienced enormous democratic upheavals and changes in recent years. ... R Nepal was the only radio broadcaster before the introduction of FM radio that began in the private/independent sector in 1997. It is still a state-owned broadcaster reaching the general masses through SW and MW transmitters from its central station based in Kathmandu Valley, and through MW transmissions from its
regional broadcasting stations based in Dipayal, Surkhet, Pokhara, Bardibas and Dhankutta. Besides, R Nepal has about a dozen FM relay stations in different parts of the country. As the government owned radio station, R Nepal received the first license to operate in FM band in Nepal and started broadcasting on Nov 16, 1995. It was done to help R Nepal stay ahead in the competition with future FM radio stations.
However, R Nepal's monopoly over airwaves ended when the government that came to power the following the Jana Andolan I in 1990 adopted liberal media policies and opened broadcasting to non-governmental sectors. Beginning with
the licensing for Radio Sagarmatha, the first of its kind in South Asia, government issued licenses to many aspirants for FM broadcasting in Nepal. A total number of 56 licenses (36 for commercial and 20 for community radio stations) were issued to operate FM radio stations before King Gyanendra took over power… In total, there were at least one FM radio station in 21 districts out of 75 districts. Nepalese FM radio stations experienced suffocations as every other sector during direct royal rule between Feb 01, 2005 and Apr 26, 2006.
The public uprising of 2006 (Jana Anadolan II) ended the king's direct rule and put the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) in power. The SPA government resumed issuing licenses to independent broadcasters and decided to issue license to more than 80 applicants to operate FM radio stations. However, 50 applicants have fulfilled the legal procedure and got license by October 2006. Others will be issued license once they pay the required fees and there will be a total of 136 FM stations throughout Nepal. With the recent issuing of licenses, all 14 administrative zones have at least three FM radio stations… . (Extracts from: www.nepalmonitor.com/2007/02/fm_competition_not_m.html by Arjun Banjade, via Gupta, Feb 16)
(Source: DX Window # 318 2/23/07)