A total of 158 applicants are vying for the 15 radio licenses that the National Communications Commission (NCC) is issuing this year.
The commission plans to release five FM licenses for regional radio services and nine FM licenses for community radio services, as well as one AM radio community service license.
From Feb. 9 to May 9, the commission received 165 applications from interested parties, it said in a statement.
A group of media experts, civic group representatives and NCC officials reviewed the applications, and 158 applications advanced to the second phase of bidding, it said.
Applicants for regional radio licenses will have to join a public tender and bid for the licenses, while licenses for community radio services are to be decided by drawing lots, it said.
The commission had long been urged to release new radio licenses to resolve the problem of underground radio stations, but the proposed number of radio licenses to be released was reduced from 36 in 2016 to 15 this year.
“It is our expectation that interested applicants can revisit the needs of listeners in different locations and strive to introduce new services to better serve them. This would greatly maximize the use of the radio frequency, help preserve local cultures and languages, balance regional development and find more efficient ways to issue alerts during emergency situations,” the commission said.
There are currently 171 radio stations, NCC data showed.
Aside from regional and community radio licenses, the commission was planning to release national broadcasting licenses using the frequency taken back from the Broadcasting Corp of China.
However, it later assigned the frequency to the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Hakka Affairs Council to launch Aboriginal and Hakka-language stations, it said.
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