Orange Community Radio Station is found in breach of the BSA

Orange community radio station 2OCW has been in found to have breached Paragraph 9(1)(b) of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, in that the licensee will not broadcast advertisements.

The ACMA was responding to three complaints that raised allegations that the station failed with its obligations to comply with its licensing conditions in relation to a program that included the following statements

“…that’s one of the things we’re going to do on the show each week… is talk about local businesses… tell people about some products…”

“…we’re going to be talking a lot about products and businesses and generally trying to get locals a bit excited about their town, about businesses…”

“…We’re talking about local businesses in Orange and some of their fantastic products.”

“…The idea of this show is to have a bit of fun and give some publicity to good businesses and some great products”

The ACMA found that these statements “…clearly indicates that one of the intentions of the program was to promote local businesses in Orange.”

Throughout the program, the hosts discussed a number of local businesses in Orange, noting the products and services provided by the businesses in a complimentary way, and also noted things such as product prices and the location of the business.

The dialogue used throughout the program promoted the businesses being discussed in various ways, including:

  • Drawing attention to the goods and services provided by the businesses
  • Encouraging listeners to buy goods and services from the businesses
  • Providing the location of the businesses
  • Discussing the price and good value of the products from the businesses

One of the qualifications for the general prohibition on advertising on a community broadcasting service is material that is broadcast as an accidental or incidental accompaniment to broadcasting other matter and that the licensee did not receive payment or other valuable or other consideration.

Both these elements must be satisfied for the qualification to apply.

While the first element of this qualification is satisfied, as no financial consideration was received for the promotion of the businesses, the ACMA is of the view that the broadcast of the material was neither accidental or incidental.

Furthermore the ACMA found that the discussion of various businesses on the program were not accompanied by an acknowledgement of financial or in-kind support, and so were not sponsorship announcements, and that therefore there was sufficient evidence to show that advertising was broadcast during the program.

The licensee advised the ACMA that:

  • 2OCW’s presenters’ agreement has been revised to include the requirements relating to advertising and sponsorship, and all current and new presenters are required to sign this agreement.
  • All 2OCW’s presenters have been directed to read and fully comprehend all of 2OCW’s policies and guiding principles.

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