Narrowcasting clarified

The ABA has sent an update on the rule changes for Open Narrowcasting Radio Licences to people who have applied for information packs.

The update explains the new scheme for licence renewals of narrowcast licences. The new prices may surprise some in the narrowcast sector.

Schedule 2, item 6A licences will now incur an annual fee of somewhere between $1,100 and $96,000. The prices are:

Sydney – $96,000

Melbourne – $85,000

Perth – $29,000

Adelaide – $18,000

Gosford and Geelong – $13,000

Hobart – $1,100

Schedule 2, item 6B and 6C licences vary from a low of $650 to a high of $27,000.

The update also gives more information about definitions of narrowcast services. Most of the information is not new, but the document does provide further clarification of some previously hazy areas. For instance the document indicates that country and dance music are unlikely to be considered as narrowcast formats. It also limits the ability to target specific age groups and the definition also locks out “commercial” formats from the narrowcast sector.

The unanswered question in the document is what would happen to a format that started out as narrowcast and then eventually was taken up by a commercial station. Would the definition of that format then be changed to commercial and become unavailable to narrowcasters?