Midwest Radio Network breaches local news rules

Lithgow-based 2LT failed to meet ‘minimum service standards’. 

2LT breached a condition of its broadcasting licence by failing to broadcast enough local news bulletins in January and February 2018.

The finding was reached by the Australian Communications and Media Authority which investigated a listener complaint that the station did not broadcast any local news bulletins on several days between 23 January and 28 February 2018.

Under its regional radio content obligations, 2LT is obliged to:

  • meet ‘minimum services standards’ – by broadcasting at least 35 local news bulletins per week
  • take all reasonable steps to comply with its approved local content plan – which also contemplates the broadcast of at least 35 local news bulletins per week.

2LT accepted that it had failed on both counts in the period due to resourcing and administrative challenges.

‘Local news bulletins are a vital source of information for Lithgow residents,’ said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin. ‘They must be a priority for regional radio licensees.’

The ACMA’s enforcement powers for breaches of licence conditions relating to regional radio news and information include enforceable undertakings, remedial direction or suspension/cancellation of the licence.

Midwest Radio Network has confirmed that local news bulletins resumed in March 2018 and that it has implemented measures to avoid future non-compliance including improved managerial oversight.

‘This is the first breach of a licence condition by Midwest Radio Network. The ACMA is confident that the actions the Network has taken will ensure it delivers the right amount of local news bulletins in the future,’ O’Loughlin said.

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