88.9 FM Tamworth breaches community radio broadcasting rules

The ACMA has accepted two court-enforceable undertakings from Tamworth-based community radio station 88.9 2YOU FM  after finding numerous breaches of broadcasting and radio communications rules.

ACMA investigations found 2YOU breached the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) by failing to broadcast a range of programming that adequately catered to the community’s needs.

The ACMA also found that there was insufficient opportunity for community members to participate in the running of the station, limiting operations to a small group of people, indicating poor corporate governance processes.

In addition, the ACMA also found that 2YOU breached its licence conditions by broadcasting advertisement and exceeding sponsorship time limits.

The associated court-enforceable undertaking requires the licensee to provide BSA compliance training to all relevant members and staff of 2YOU, and to establish systems and processes to maintain and record broadcasting sponsorship announcements, community information and promotional material.

The station must also provide evidence that it has given programming opportunities to members of the community and has implemented a community consultation and engagement plan.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin says that community radio stations were expected to ensure their staff and volunteers are aware of and comply with the conditions of their broadcasting licence.

She says, “The range of breaches we have found suggests that 2YOU has a lot of work to do to get its compliance in order.

 “Community radio operators provide vital services and opportunities to local audiences and residents. We expect them to follow the rules and will take action when this does not occur.”

A separate investigation also found the station breached the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (RA) for increasing the power of its broadcasting transmitter beyond the maximum allowed without adequate justification.

As a result, 2YOU entered into a second court-enforceable undertaking requiring it to submit to regular ACMA audits to assess the technical characteristics of its radiocommunications transmitters.

The ACMA will monitor 2YOU’s compliance with its licence conditions over the next 12 months.

If the licensee fails to comply with the enforceable undertakings the ACMA may consider commencing Federal Court proceedings.

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