Radio Adelaide’s new studios are up and running in its new building and manager Rob Popplestone told radioinfo earlier this week, “with anything new, it takes a little time to adjust, but the early signs are very very good.”
However there may still be a few bumps along the way for the newly restructured station, with the Radio Adelaide Station Workers Association (RASWA) raising concerns about the level of engagement required for the licence transferral process to be approved by the ACMA.
In correspondence sighted by radioinfo, the Chair of the Workers Association has written to the ACMA about “ongoing concerns” regarding the process for the transfer of the Radio Adelaide community licence, currently held by the University of Adelaide.
The association is not satisfied with promises of a “program committee” to consult about upcoming changes and suggests that the station may not be doing all it should to comply with the ACMA requirements to include the station’s “community of interest” in decision making. The ACMA requires a licensee to consult with its community as a code requirement.
The station workers have also written to the new board of directors with a proposal for “a participatory, representative mechanism.”
In the letter the workers’ association identifies two key areas which they would like to see addressed “so that RASWA can provide whole hearted support for a licence transfer application to the ACMA.”
“The first is based on the ACMA requirement: “operational procedures that demonstrate decision-making in key areas of the station, such as membership and programming, are in the hands of a cross-section of the community rather than a few individuals”.”
RASWA wants to see the establishment of “an agreed mechanism for full participation in operations and programming,” something like the model of the previous Radio Adelaide Advisory Committee, but be a new mechanism to suit the new staffing and management structures.
The second requirement relates to the Board itself. The RASWA letter says:
“ACMA requires “decision-making processes that are transparent and ensure public accountability to the community served.
“At our meeting you advised that Board proceedings are confidential unless there is an “agreement to disclose”. We also note that the constitution of the Educational Broadcasters Adelaide Inc, drawn up by Adelaide University, does not ensure any form of membership, and that the Board, appointed by Adelaide University, need not face an election within its first five years.”
RASWA does not believe that this process amounts to transparency and accountability.
The group has proposed that the board needs to commit to a membership process and set a date for election of board members, before a transfer application is submitted, so as to comply with the ACMA requirements.
The workers association says it is hoping to work with the board and the new management to resolve the issues.
The ACMA has confirmed to radioinfo that it has received correspondence from RASWA. “However, the ACMA has yet to respond to it,” a spokesperson said.