Brisbane community radio station 4FRB has had its licence renewed after giving the Australian Communications and Media Authority enforcable undertakings that will ensure ongoing community involvement in the station.
In considering whether to renew the licence of Family Radio Ltd, the licensee of 4FRB (known as 96five), the ACMA noted that the station had recently entered into a Deed of Agreement with Hope Media Ltd, the licensee of 2CBA, a community radio service in Sydney.
The ACMA was concerned that this agreement had the potential to limit 4FRB’s capacity to comply with the community participation licence condition.
‘We want the Brisbane community to be able to continue to be involved in decision-making about the operations of the service,’ said acting ACMA Chairman, Richard Bean. ‘The Brisbane community should also be able to have a say in selecting and providing programs.’
By offering the enforceable undertakings, 4FRB was able to assure the ACMA that it would take the actions necessary to ensure compliance with the community participation licence condition if the licence was renewed. These include developing appropriate policies about, and reporting to the ACMA on, a range of operational and other matters. The undertakings will continue until 2021.
The details of the enforcable undertakings include reporting on membership details, supplying meetings minutes, and amending the organisation’s constitution.
Family Radio will supply three monthly reports on FRL’s membership, which must include:
the number of applications for membership received;
the number of applications approved and rejected;
a breakdown of the numbers of applications received from local applicants and non-local applicants; and
a breakdown of the numbers of applications approved and rejected for local and non-local applicants;
The station will also supply “minutes of meetings held in the preceding quarter of FRL’s Finance Committee and Program Committee, including details of actions taken to implement decisions made.
It will also be required to report on the composition of the Finance Committee and the Program Committee, including whether the committee members ordinarily live or work in the Brisbane RA1 licence area, and report on the numbers of members and volunteers involved in each of the areas of programming, administration and management.
The station will also be required to make amendments to its constitution which will (if passed):
increase the quorum for annual and special general meetings to at least 5 per cent of members with voting rights;
set out the grounds on which an application for membership may be rejected;
require reasons to be given for rejecting an application for membership; and
provide that a person whose application for membership has been rejected can apply to the Board of FRL for reconsideration of the decision.
By 1 March 2017, the station will also be required to develop, and provide to the ACMA copies of, policies that are consistent with the requirements of the Code for corporate governance (Code 1.2), membership (Code 1.4), complaints handling (Code 1.6), community participation (Code 2.1), programming (Code 2.2), and sponsorship (Code 6.1), together with the minutes of the meetings at which the policies were adopted.