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Radio Adelaide's right to broadcast under microscope


The national communications watchdog has begun assessing Radio Adelaide’s right to broadcast, after it was cut loose by the University of Adelaide and co-located with Fresh 92.7 earlier this year.

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Claims persist that there may be reason for Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to revoke the station’s community broadcast licence, although Radio Adelaide’s management insists it is unconcerned.

In February, InDaily revealed that the inaugural president of Fresh 92.7 (then known as Fresh FM), Paul Pellizzari, and Radio Italia Uno president, magistrate Ted Iuliano, had threatened to launch a legal challenge against the station’s licence transfer.

The pair – who unsuccessfully bid to take over Radio Adelaide after the university opened expressions of interest in the station late last year – argued Radio Adelaide’s move to co-locate with Fresh 92.7 would breach broadcasting rules because the arrangement essentially allowed one entity to control two community radio stations at once.

Iuliano maintains that Radio Adelaide would be, essentially, under the control of Fresh 92.7, under the deal struck earlier this year – but station management insists it is totally independent.

“From a practical point of view it’s one [entity] … the same organisation,” Iuliano told InDaily yesterday.

“They’re broadcasting from the same studio[s].

“One community organisation shouldn’t be owning two community radio licences.

“To me, it’s just a sham, and ACMA should not allow it.”

Iuliano said he was still considering challenging any affirmative ACMA ruling in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, but that that option may be too expensive, and he may instead attempt to convince Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to intervene.

But Radio Adelaide general manager Rob Popplestone told InDaily he had no concerns about links with Fresh 92.7 threatening the station’s broadcast licence.

“We’re a completely separate entity – we just happen to be sharing the same building,” he said.

“Fresh is not part in any way of the submission [to ACMA for the licence transfer].”

Popplestone said the only resources the stations shared were two studios and a receptionist. He said the stations shared no programming and were managed by completely separate boards.

The Radio Adelaide Station Workers Association has previously warned that station management risked failing to comply with the station’s licence obligations by not involving volunteers in decision-making.

An ACMA spokesperson said that it “assesses licence transfer applications against statutory matters and this process usually takes several months”.

“There is no statutory timeframe for consideration of a licence transfer application.”

The spokesperson said no detail could be given about any individual licence transfer application.

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