3 August 2007
ACMA to take no further action to allocate a permanent community radio licence in Young at this time
The Australian Communications and Media Authority will not proceed with the allocation of a permanent community broadcasting licence that was advertised for the Young licence area in New South Wales.
There was one applicant for the permanent licence, Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc., which already provides a temporary community broadcasting service in the area. The applicant proposed to provide a service for the general community within the licence area.
‘After careful consideration ACMA has concluded that it should not allocate the licence at this time,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘The applicant provided insufficient evidence that the proposed service would meet the existing and perceived future needs of the community. ACMA was not satisfied that the applicant had undertaken steps to identify and monitor the general community within the licence area to ensure that its service would meet the needs of that community.’
There is also insufficient evidence that the applicant has the management capacity to provide the proposed service. In particular, ACMA had strong concerns about the openness of the applicant’s management and committee structure to involvement by members of the Young community.
In May 2007, ACMA found that the applicant had breached two of the conditions of its temporary community broadcasting licence by:
- not encouraging members of the community it is licensed to serve to participate in its operations and in the selection and provision of its programs, and
- exceeding the five minute per hour limit for broadcasting sponsorship announcements.
When releasing the report of the investigation into the breaches, ACMA informed the licensee that it was considering enforcement action to ensure the licensee’s future compliance with the relevant licence conditions. ACMA has now informed the licensee that it proposes to issue remedial directions and is awaiting the licensee’s response.
The applicant will continue to occupy the frequency set aside for the licence (92.3 MHz) on a temporary community broadcasting licence until that licence expires on 30 June 2008. After this time the frequency may continue to be made available for a temporary community broadcasting service to provide aspirant broadcasters with an opportunity to provide a community service. Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc. or any other aspirant group may apply for this temporary community broadcasting licence.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager on (02) 9334 7980.
Young licence area
The Young area is currently served by three national radio services (ABC Radio National, ABC local radio (ABC Riverina) and SBS Radio) and two commercial radio services (2LF and 2LFF). The Young area is also served by two national television services (ABC and SBS) and three commercial television services (Prime, Capital, and WIN).
Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc. has operated a service under a temporary community broadcasting licence in the Young area since July 2004.
The former Australian Broadcasting Authority invited applications for a permanent community broadcasting licence in the Young licence area in May 2005. Applications closed on 3 June 2005 and Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc. was the only applicant for the licence.
Community licence allocation
Part 6 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 provides for the allocation of community broadcasting licences. Applicants are required to compete for licences on a merits basis. The process includes opportunity for public comment. Under subsection 84(2) of the Act, ACMA must have regard to:
- the extent to which the proposed service would meet the existing and perceived future needs of the community within the licence area of the proposed service
- the nature and diversity of the interests of that community
- the nature and diversity of other broadcasting services (including national broadcasting services) available within that licence area
- the capacity of the applicant to provide the proposed service
- the undesirability of one person being in a position to exercise control of more than one community broadcasting licence that is a broadcasting services bands licence in the same licence area, and
- the undesirability of the Commonwealth, a state or territory or a political party being in a position to exercise control of a community broadcasting licence.
When an applicant proposes to serve a particular community interest it should demonstrate that the greater part of that community interest will be served.
Under section 85 of the Act, ACMA is not required to allocate a community broadcasting licence to any applicant.
Community broadcasting licence conditions
Each community broadcasting licence is subject to the conditions listed in Part 5, section 9(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. They include the condition that the licensee will continue to represent the community interest that it represented at the time the licence was allocated or was last renewed and that the licensee will encourage members of the community that it serves to participate in the operations of the licensee and the selection and provision of programs under the licence.