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ACMA approves Radio Adelaide licence transfer

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The communications watchdog has approved the transfer of Radio Adelaide’s broadcast licence from the University of Adelaide to an independent board.

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) this morning announced it had approved the transfer of Radio Adelaide’s licence to Educational Broadcasters Inc.

The decision appears to vindicate Radio Adelaide management, which had faced warnings that the station’s co-location with Fresh 92.7 in Adelaide’s East End, and alleged failings to consult with volunteers on major programming changes, would threaten its licence to broadcast.

Radio Adelaide board chairman, former Opposition Leader Iain Evans, told InDaily the decision was “great news for the Radio Adelaide community”.

“It’s really a credit to all the station workers and volunteers,” he said.

ACMA released a statement this morning indicating that it was “satisfied that the educational community in the licence area will be able to continue to participate in the operations and programming of Radio Adelaide” because of membership and community policies requiring the involvement of five South Australian universities – including former owner, the University of Adelaide – in the station’s future direction.

“These policies indicate that, at a minimum, the five universities in the licence area will have the opportunity to participate in the operations and programming of the service, to the same extent currently enjoyed by the University of Adelaide,” the statement says.

“Accordingly, the ACMA was satisfied that the educational community in the licence area will be able to continue to participate in the operations and programming of Radio Adelaide.

“In addition, the University and EBA provided written assurance to the ACMA that EBA will develop and provide a community consultation strategy and a structured engagement program by 1 March 2017, for implementation from that date.”

Evans said that Radio Adelaide would begin discussions with the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, the University of South Australia, Carnegie Mellon University and Torrens University on their future involvement.

He said universities could be represented on Radio Adelaide’s board, influence programming and become involved in training, to continue the station’s services for media students.

“Radio Adelaide has been an educational licensed broadcaster for over forty years,” said Evans.

“Our programming mix has to … reflect the priorities of the educational sector.

“We’ll be approaching them [universities] early in the new year to have a discussion about the level of interest.”

The ACMA’s decision comes amid a legal dispute between Radio Adelaide and the ABC in the federal court.

The national broadcaster provoked outrage at Radio Adelaide when it announced, earlier this month, that all of its local radio stations would be rebranded along the same lines – “ABC Radio Adelaide”, “ABC Radio Melbourne”, and so on.

The legal action claims the trademark “Radio Adelaide” for the community station, and seeks to stop the national broadcaster from using the words in its re-brand, scheduled to start on January 9 next year.

 

More to come.

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