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Winds of change in radio industry

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After years of waiting for the NBTC to be appointed & start breaking up monopolies on radio and television frequencies, the time has now arrived.

radio frequencies

Photo above of how radio frequencies work (Source: Wikipedia: graphic & article). Radio frequency reallocation is the subject of today's article.  

In photo below, young blind people in Chanthaburi province at Eastern Community Radio Network waiting to voice their concerns over state provisions for disabled people, a good example of radio frequencies used for the public benefit.

Click button to listen to Radio Frequency Reallocation to download

ANALYSIS: NBTC begins fine-tuning of frequencies, New year will see Thai radio overhauled in new broadcasting body's first true task by Mongkol Bangprapa


disabled on radioBreaking up the monopoly on radio and television frequencies seemed a distant prospect until the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission received royal endorsement early last month.

The regulatory body started out by not renewing contracts for the operators of nine frequencies - FM106.5, FM98.5, AM1035, AM1089, FM102, FM99, AM1089, FM89 and AM765.

When the contracts end on Dec 31 this year, 1 Por Nor station, which owns the frequencies, will return them to the NBTC for redistribution for public and private use.

As soon as the NBTC passed the resolution, Green Wave, which is broadcast on FM106.5, cried foul and launched a campaign questioning the NBTC's move.

Green Wave, run by GMM Grammy's subsidiary A-Time Media, a major player in the music and entertainment industry, pleaded for audience sympathy and tried to stir up sentiment that their "beloved" radio station was soon to become history.
 
They popped a number of questions: what did they do wrong, did their station not serve the public good, and why other programmes that offered nothing but rubbish or political divisiveness were allowed to stay on.

In short, why were they among the first to go when others were spared, pending the NBTC's master plan on frequency management, which is unlikely to be put in effect before 2013. 

The NBTC has clarified why it singled out the nine frequencies for takeover without waiting for its completion of the frequency management master plan. 

The commission cannot risk being accused of being engaged in a conflict of interest

The rights of the nine radio frequencies were owned by the now-defunct Post and Telegraph Department before they were transferred to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in 2004. 

When the NBTC was formed to replace the NTC, it inherited the frequencies

However, Green Wave's campaign must have created some uneasiness for the NBTC, whose members were heard speculating on the kind of pressure the agency would face when it was time to reclaim television frequencies.

With this in mind, the NBTC's broadcasting committee has proposed a six-month grace period for those operators with concession rights for the nine frequencies so that they have sufficient time to find a new frequency for their businesses. The proposed extension will be considered by the NBTC today. 

The grace period is deemed a reasonable move in a complicated situation. 

This is because during the transition period - before the frequencies are put up for auction - the frequencies must be for public use only. 

The six-month grace period will allow the NBTC's broadcasting panel time to work out the qualifications of the producers and the contents of the programmes for the remaining short operating period before the frequency management master plan is completed. 

Once the frequency master plan is in place, all the broadcast frequencies must be returned and reallocated for private and public use through auctions

The NBTC's decision not to renew the contracts should not be seen as an attempt to keep the current operators out, as they are not stripped of any right to enter further bids. 

Instead it should be considered a bold step in the frequency management - to open up the broadcast media and take out the deep-rooted system of concession granted on a privileged patronage relationship basis at the state's expense.

Moreover, the NBTC's handling of its own frequencies will show if the agency will fulfill its task of turning frequencies into national assets and fairly allocate them for public benefit.

(Source: ANALYSIS:  NBTC begins fine-tuning of frequencies, New year will see Thai radio overhauled in new broadcasting body's first true task, Mongkol Bangprapa, 23/11/2011, link

Telecommunications Policy Vocabulary

radio and television frequencies -
See diagram above (Source: Wikipedia)

benefit - to get help or an advantage from something ผลประโยชน์
for the public benefit - helping all the people in the country

concern -
being worried about something
voice concern -
tell people that you are worried about something

provision - making sure some group of people has the things they need, also possibly financial support
state provisions - when the government supports a group of people

disabled -
"any restriction or lack resulting from any impairment of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being" including blind, including people who are blind or partially sighted, with learning or intellectual disabilities, deaf or hearing impaired, with physical disability, with long term illnesses, with mental health or psychological difficulties or with an acquired brain injury (See Wikipedia and definition)

provisions for the disabled -
special things to help people with disabilities such as guide dogs and braille books for the blind, special parking and toilets and access to public transportation (See Wikipedia)

voice their concerns over state provisions for disabled people

tune - 1. change your TV or radio to be at a certain channel so you can watch or listen to a program; 2. changing a machine to do what you want it to do
fine-tune
- make very small changes or adjustments (to get the exact result you want)
fine-tune frequencies - make small changes in frequencies (here: allocated or given to different companies and organizations)

overhaul - change completely and repair (making like new, so it works better)
task - a piece of work that someone does หน้าที่; ภารกิจ
the New year will see Thai radio overhauled in new broadcasting body's first true task

monopoly
- companies that have complete control over a market
break up a monopoly - end the existence and operation of a company that controls a market (monopoly)

breaking up the monopoly on radio and television frequencies

prospect - the possibility that something we happen in the future ความคาดหวัง ความหวังข้างหน้า อนาคต
a distant prospect - very unlikely that it will happen soon (maybe far in the future)

endorsement - official approval การรับรอง การลงนามในเอกสาร (See glossary)
received royal endorsement

regulatory body - a government group of people who make the rules for how an industry operates

operators - companies doing a certain kind of business
operators of nine frequencies - nine radio stations with these frequencies

contract - an agreement between companies, government, organizations for a period of time  การสัญญา
renew contract - continue the contract for another period of time
not renewing contracts for the operators of nine frequencies

station
- here: radio station; a place where some activity takes place (for example: power station, police station, fire station, space station, way station)

redistribution - taking from one group of people and giving to another group; sharing something out differently from before, especially in a fairer way การปันส่วนหรือจัดสรรอย่างเป็นธรรม
redistribution for public and private use

resolution - a formal decision taken at a meeting after a vote มติ
passed the resolution - voted for the decision at a meeting

broadcast - to send out a programme on television or radio กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว

foul
- extremely unpleasant น่ารังเกียจ
cried foul - complain that something is wrong (unfair)

launched - began, started เริ่ม เริ่มต้นดำเนินการ
campaign - a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim การรณรงค์
launched a campaign - start a series of activities to achieve some goal (a campaign)  

subsidiary - a smaller company that is owned by a larger company บริษัทลูก บริษัทในเครือ

audience
- the people who watch an event happen; the group of people gathered in one place to watch or listen to a play, film, someone speaking, etc. ผู้ชม
sympathy
- a natural feeling of kindness and understanding that you have for someone who is experiencing something very unpleasant ความเห็นอกเห็นใจ
a major player in the music and entertainment industry, pleaded for audience sympathy

stir - create lots of feeling, emotion, interest, excitement ความตื่นเต้น ปลุกเร้า
sentiment - feelings; an attitude or belief that people have based on their thoughts and feelings อารมณ์ทางความคิด กระแส, แนวความคิด, ความคิดเห็น
stir up sentiment - create a lot of feelings and emotion (about some subject)

popped a number of questions - asked a number of questions
serve the public good
- do what is good for all the people in the country (not just one group)

rubbish - waste material or things that are no longer wanted or needed ขยะ

divide (verb)- break or split into two or more pieces; break apart and separate
divisive (adjective) - creating differences, splitting into groups
divisiveness (noun)
political divisiveness - things that people to make disagreements about politics even greater

spared -
others were spared

pending - waiting to be dealt with, settled or completed ยังค้างอยู่, ซึ่งยังไม่จบสิ้น, อยู่ในระหว่าง

master plan - the highest level plan, the overall plan of what will be done (details left to sub-plans)
master plan on frequency management

put in effect -
make active (so it can start to be used)

clarify - to make something clear (so that people can better understand it) 
single out - choose some items from a big group (for special treatment)
takeover - a change in ownership, when there is a new owner 
the NBTC has clarified why it singled out the nine frequencies for takeover

commission - a group of people who have been formally chosen to discover information about a problem or examine the reasons why the problem exists คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง

engaged
- actively involved in what you are doing
conflict
- an angry disagreement between people or groups, a fight ความขัดแย้ง ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
interest - payments made for the use of another's money for a period of time
conflict of interest - when you are working for two different people and there is a "conflict" in how you would best serve each (example: you work for the government and also work as a consultant at companies and you have to make a decision that will cost the company money) (See Wikipedia)

being engaged
in a conflict of interest

rights - what the law allows you to have and do สิทธิ์ (See Wikipedia)
the rights of the nine radio frequencies

defunct - has stopped operating and functioning, no longer exists หมดสภาพ ถูกยุบ, หยุดทำงาน
the now-defunct Post and Telegraph Department

transferred - moved

replace - to get rid of someone or something, and to put a new person or thing in its place เลิกให้และนำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน หาคนมาแทน
inherit -
NBTC was formed to
replace the NTC, it inherited the frequencies


pressure - trying to force or push someone to do something
reclaim - to take back something that was yours เรียกกลับคืน, เอากลับ
members were heard speculating on the kind of pressure the agency would face when it was time to reclaim television frequencies.

proposed - suggested (but not yet chosen or decided upon)
grace - kindness ความกรุณา
grace period - a period of time that people are given to do something they must do (according to rules or law) (example: a grace period of one week was given to pay the bill)
proposed a six-month grace period

concession - government permission to run a certain kind of limited business, permission given in exchange for payments (for example, a telecommnications concession) สัมปทาน
concession rights for the nine frequencies

sufficient - enough พอเพียง
they have
sufficient time to find a new frequency for their businesses.

extension - an increase in the power of effect of something ขยายขอบเขตออกไป
proposed extension

deemed - considered เห็นว่า ถือว่า
complicated - difficult to understand and deal with because it has so many parts connected in different ways (for example, a complicated machine or a city with a complicated system of streets) ที่ซับซ้อน
The grace period is deemed a reasonable move in a complicated situation. 

transition - the process of changing from one situation or state to another การเปลี่ยนถ่าย  
the transition period - the period of change from one system to another system ช่วงการเปลี่ยนแปลง

auction - selling things by competitive bids, selling to the person who offers that best price การขายโดยการประมูล, การขายทอดตลาด (See Wikipedia)
put up for auction - sell something in an auction (seel to person offering most money; highest bidder)
the frequencies are put up for auction

panel - a group of people brought together to discuss and investigate a problem and give advice or try to solve the problem

qualifications
- the abilities, qualities, degrees, etc. that you need for a particular job or activity
qualifications of the TV and radio producers

contents
- what is inside something จำนวนของสิ่งที่บรรจุอยู่
the contents of the TV and radio programmes



renew
- to start something again; add to the time something can be used; extend the period that something is valid and can be used (when it is about to expire and end)  ต่อ  ต่ออายุ เริ่มใหม่
current - of the present time ปัจจุบัน


 
all the
broadcast frequencies must be returned and reallocated for private and public use through auctions

the NBTC's decision not to renew the contracts

the
current operators

they are not
stripped of any right to enter further bids. 

bold - involving a risk; confident and unafraid กล้า ท้าทาย บ้าบิ่น
a bold step - a daring action

media - public ways of communicating news and information: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the internet สื่อ
broadcast media - TV and radio stations
open up the broadcast media - allow more people to participate in TV and radio (rather than the few allowed now)

deep-rooted - 1. in a strong position and difficult to remove; 2. a plant with very long and strong roots going into the ground, so difficult to pull out and remove
deep-rooted system of concession

patronage - a system of help or protection given to people, often in return for their support ระบบอุปถัมภ์
privileged patronage relationship

the deep-rooted system of concession granted on a privileged patronage relationship basis at the state's expense

granted - officially given ให ้

it should be considered a bold step in the frequency management - to open up the broadcast media and take out the deep-rooted system of concession granted on a privileged patronage relationship basis at the state's expense

national -  for the whole country
assets - things owned, especially property and money (for example: stocks, bonds, real estate, loans to others, or money) สินทรัพย์
national assets - things that the state own (that all people in the country own)

allocate - to officially give out an amount of or share of something แบ่งส่วน to officially give something to someone จัดสรร, จัดแบ่ง
fairly allocate - give something to many people in a fair way
allocate fairly


fulfill its task -
finish its task successfully (achieve all goals)

fulfill its task of turning frequencies into
national assets and fairly allocate them for public benefit

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