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Moscow's echo won't reach Grozny

Archive photo

: Natalia Rostova  Archive photo

The Press Ministry has announced the winners of the tender for the right to broadcast in Grozny. Residents of the Chechen capital will soon be able to listen to Radio Russia and watch the programmes of the Grozny Television and Radio Broadcasting Company. Both companies were the only contenders for Groznys broadcasting frequencies.

Radio Russia, which is a part of the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Corporation, has been given a licence allowing it to broadcast on the 69.17 MHz frequency. The 36th TV broadcasting frequency was awarded to a local TV channel - the Grozny Television and Radio Broadcasting Company.

The Grozny Television and Radio Broadcasting Company will make its own programmes and beam for 42 hours a week, six hours each day, from 1800 to midnight. Ten-minute news and a 30-minute weekly news review will be available both in Russian and in Chechen. The company will also make programmes for children and young adults.

However, the victory of the two companies cannot be considered complete: both were the only contenders for the Grozny frequencies. In line with the tender regulations, if there is only one bidder, the federal tender commission extends the term of application for two more weeks. If within that period new bidders emerge, the issue is to be reviewed at an FTC session. If no bids are made, Radio Russia and Grozny TRC will receive their licences automatically, after paying a fee of 1,000 roubles for their frequencies.

Until recently, one of Russias most popular privately-owned radio stations, Ekho Moskvy, had been in contention for the right to broadcast on the Grozny radio frequency. However, the station withdrew its bid shortly before a decision was made. Ekhos director general Yuri Fedutinov explained to Gazeta.Ru what had prompted the decision to pull out.

Y.F. Firstly, this is quite a routine procedure, there is nothing dramatic about it. Since an application for the tender has to be made well in advance, and then the situation changes, the applications of several contenders are quite often recalled at once. Besides, the procedure of coordinating such large-scale actions and investments has become somewhat more complicated for us, as it is clear that if we had won, we would have had to invest considerable funds in the project.

However, Gazprom-Media (Ekho Moskvys key shareholder) has found it necessary to somewhat clip our financial scope, given the relatively high level of profits at Ekho Moskvy. Gazprom-Media has its priorities; they decide where to allot money. That is why we decided against bidding.

Work in Grozny is of no direct economic interest. Grozny could be a great investment for the future, it would be an investment in reputation, but it would be an impermissible luxury in our situation. From this time onward we will select cities where bids are invited far more thoroughly.

Gazeta.Ru: How much money would the project need?

This is not so much a question of initial investments. We assumed that in addition to initial investments tens of thousands of dollars there would be investments for maintaining the station. We would have to take into consideration that the equipment would break down more often than in usual conditions: there is no sufficient infrastructure for maintaining hi-tech hardware [in Chechnya]. And since Gazprom believes that there are projects in Moscow, which require additional investments, we have taken this decision into consideration. Now we will try to cut down the number of cities that we will target at the Press Ministry tenders.

22 17:59


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