Perth’s Curtin University of Technology has decided to “hand back its community broadcasting licence to the Australian Broadcasting Authority” because the licence has no commercial value and cannot be sold.
Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lesley Parker said: “This decision was reached by the Executive of University Council, based on a recommendation from Planning and Management Committee, which followed wide consultation with interest groups both within and external to the University.”
“It means that, after 25 years of operation, the Curtin-funded and operated Curtin Radio 927 will cease operations in the next few weeks… It has been a remarkable institution which has made a valued contribution to the community. Over the years it has helped establish four community radio stations which now broadcast to Perth listeners: Western Australian Aboriginal Media Association, Sonshine Radio, Radio for the Print Handicapped and the Ethnic Broadcasting Association of Australia.”
Parker believes Curtin is “acting responsibly in looking at the Station’s substantial funding requirements and the capacity of the University to fund its strategic priorities.”
“This is not an easy decision, but scarce resources must be used for initiatives and priorities that have a closer and more direct relationship with teaching and research which are the University’s core business, ” she said.
The University hopes to lease the station’s facilities to an independent community station which would operate without financial, management or governance involvement from the University and is having discussions with a number of groups.
Possible tenants for the studios include RTR FM, a well established community broadcaster, Groove FM, a youth-based and run community radio station which has been granted a temporary licence; a consortium interested in a 927 AM “narrowcast” option which would offer the same sort of sound as Curtin Radio; and Capital Community Radio (CCR FM), a new community station aimed at seniors.
The University hopes to continue to involve Curtin’s journalism students providing a news service if another group takes over the licence.