ACMA finds breach of radio directorship limits | ACMA

ACMA finds breach of radio directorship limits

Media Release 4/2011, 14 May

The ACMA has determined that the commercial radio broadcasting directorship limits in section 56 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act) were breached by Mr Lachlan Murdoch and Ms Siobhan McKenna.

The directorship limits for television and radio licences recognise the potential ability of a director of a company in a position to exercise control of a licence to influence aspects of the operation of that licence.

In particular, section 56 provides that a person cannot be a director (or a director and controller) of companies that are in a position to exercise control of more than two commercial radio licences in a licence area.

Mr Murdoch came into breach of section 56 on 7 October 2010 when he was appointed as a director of Prime Media Group Limited (Prime), which is in a position to exercise control of Hot91/4MCY in the Nambour radio licence area. At that time, Mr Murdoch was also a director and a controller of a number of companies which were in a position to exercise control of Nova 106.9/4BNE and 97.3/4BFM in the Brisbane radio licence area. Mr Murdoch resigned as a director of Prime on 9 November 2010.

Under the Act, the overlapping Brisbane and Nambour commercial radio broadcasting licence areas are treated as a single licence area for the purposes of section 56 because more than 30% of the Nambour RA1 licence area population is attributable to an area that overlaps with the Brisbane RA1 licence area.

The ACMA also found that Ms McKenna was a director of companies that controlled more than two radio licences in the combined Nambour/Brisbane radio licence area, and was in breach of section 56. Ms McKenna was a director of Prime and a director of two companies, DMG Radio Investments Limited and Illyria Radio Investments Limited, which were in a position to exercise control of Nova 106.9/4BNE and 97.3/4BFM. Ms McKenna resigned as a director of DMG Radio Investments Limited and Illyria Radio Investments Limited on 10 November 2010.

The ACMA has decided to take no further action in respect of these breaches, noting the particular facts of the matters (including the overlap complexities) and Mr Murdoch's and Ms McKenna's resignations and co-operation in the matters. Following the ACMA's findings, companies in the Illyria group have advised that they have implemented revised procedures to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the radio directorship limits before new directors are appointed to their boards.

These findings, and their disclosure, are a timely reminder to all directors and their boards to consider the directorship limits specified in the Act prior to the appointment of new board members, and to have particular regard to the rules which relate to overlapping licence areas.

The ACMA's findings in relation to these matters are available on the ACMA's website: Lachlan Murdoch and Siobhan McKenna.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Tom Burton, (02) 9334 7816, 0434 665 135 or media@acma.gov.au.

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The ACMA is Australia's regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA's strategic intent is to make communications and media work in Australia's public interest. For more information: www.acma.gov.au.


Last updated: 14 April 2016