ACMA not informed of proposed Radio Adelaide changes

“The future of community radio in South Australia needs a strong Radio Adelaide…”

As the University of Adelaide considers whether to cut its funding of Radio Adelaide, the University has failed to keep the ACMA informed of its intentions.

The review of the station was triggered by the sale of the high profile Adelaide Terrace shopfront uni building where the station was located.

The licensee of 5UV is the University of Adelaide, which is licensed to represent the educational community interest in the Adelaide RA1 licence area, according to the ACMA. The service commenced in June 1972 and the current expiry date for the current licence is 10 September 2019.

A spokesperson for the ACMA has told radioinfo, “the licensee has not brought the discussion paper to the ACMA’s attention.”
Would the ACMA expect to be consulted in what could be a significant change in control of the station?

“Section 91A of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 provides for a licensee to apply to the ACMA for approval to transfer a community broadcasting licence to another entity. The ACMA is not aware of any consultation [with ACMA] in advance of the release of the licensee’s discussion paper.”
The Uni of Adelaide discussion paper outlines 5 options it is considering after receiving a report prepared by Kath Letch and Ann Tonks:

  1. Status Quo
  2. Transition to new entity over a 3-5 year period
  3. Transfer to a new owner in June 2016
  4. Reduce the scale of Radio Adelaide
  5. Close Radio Adelaide in June 2016

After being presented to the University, the Letch-Tonks report was analysed by Ernst & Young, and further considered by the University administration. Option 1, to keep the status quo and fund the move of premises, would cost $4.1 million according to the E&Y analysis. The cheapest option ($0.9 million) is, unurprisingly, to close the station.

If the University decides that it does not want to continue its current level of support to Radio Adelaide, the Letch-Tonk report recommended that the University “should consider a five year transitional plan (2016-2020) for Radio Adelaide to find new income sources and partnerships to replace a gradual reduction in income support by the University.” In the discussion paper, the timescale was reduced to three years for that option.

The university says: “The value the radio station to the community is agreed. However, the value to the University is constricted by the University’s obligation to put its core business of academic teaching and research first.”

Community Broadcasting Association CEO Jon Bissett has told radioinfo:

Radio Adelaide was a foundation community radio station, and today continues as a cornerstone in training for the sector and the production of popular and innovative content.

The future of community radio in South Australia needs a strong Radio Adelaide, and we urge the University to ensure that the station continues to provide these valuable services to the University and wider community into the future.

We are in discussions with Radio Adelaide and will support them through these current challenges.

A website, SaveRadioAdelaide, and a hashtag #SaveRadAd, have been launched to lobby the University to continue its support fo the station.



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