Proposals to take over Radio Adelaide

The University of Adelaide has announced it is planning a new ownership structure for Radio Adelaide, which may see it handing the licence to another organisation or at least relinquishing control of day to day operations.

If that happens, it is unlikely that the university would continue to fund the operations of Radio Adelaide in the long term.

Musicians and politicians were among thousands of South Australians who joined the fight to save Radio Adelaide, Australia’s first community radio station, after it was announced the University would no longer fund it at previous levels.

In less than three days more than 3600 supporters had signed the station’s petition, asking the University of Adelaide to secure the stations’ future.

However, instead of convicing the university to continue funding Radio Adelaide, the process has resulted in the university identifying several organisations it says could potentially take over running and perhaps funding of the station.

Final details of the new ownership are expected to be announced in January.

“Since we began public consultation two weeks ago, several organisations well positioned to operate a community radio station have stepped forward with proposals to take over Radio Adelaide,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Warren Bebbington.

“We are now in negotiation with these parties. Over the next 10 days we also welcome registrations of interest from other organisations with the capacity to take a significant financial interest in the station.”

The aim is to establish an independent entity acceptable to the media authority ACMA, with the University keen to be represented on the new Board of Directors. It envisages a new location and a facilities solution will be available to meet the station’s ongoing requirements.

“I would expect a new Board to respect the mission of the existing station while both revitalising the station’s community programming and maintaining the training it provides to our media students.”

Professor Bebbington said that since releasing a Briefing Paper summarising options for the station’s future, he had met with key stakeholders and received 168 written responses.“While there was a variety of views expressed, most preferred a transition to an independent entity.”

He noted that many people were keen to see Radio Adelaide continue, and he hoped they would show their support by signing on for a subscription. “The level of community support the station receives via subscriptions has been amongst the lowest of any such station in Australia.”

Other organisations wishing to bid for an ownership interest should complete the Registration of Interest form, which needs to be submitted by 24 December 2015.

Station staff say they are “feeling confusion and disappointment that the station community has been sidelined” from discussions, after the University put out its latest statement today.


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