The RadAd Station Workers’ Association has released an update on the situation with Radio Adelaide, following the earlier announcement Fresh 92.7 has entered into an agreement with the University of Adelaide to transition the station away from university ownership.
Workers at Radio Adelaide at the time of the announcement said they were sceptical about a deal that will “secure Radio Adelaide an independent future“.
In a statement today, the Association says Radio Adelaide is going strong despite the “alarming experiences” of the last couple of months. With “great care and continued support it may survive the shock” and make a full recovery in time, to continue as an independent broadcaster committed to access, diversity and innovation.
The shock was the announcement that the station had been “saved” in a secret deal signed between the University of Adelaide and Fresh 92.7. This came after months of speculation after the University decision to give up the community radio licence, followed by a call for expressions of interest from organizations wanting to take the license over.
Fresh 92.7 will be paid an undisclosed fee to establish a new organisation (sharing the Fresh premises) and manage a licence transfer to a new Radio Adelaide. “The University opted not to support the Radio Adelaide community to transition the station to independence – as called for by thousands of supporters during the Save Radio Adelaide campaign in December,” says the statement.
Little is known of the real details of the agreement. As paid staff are gagged from public comment, RadAd Station Workers Association (RASWA) has formed to represent the community, to develop strategies and keep supporters informed about the actual situation. They have organised station worker meetings, attempted to negotiate with the University and met with Fresh 92.7 to discuss future possibilities.
“The station and RASWA are in good shape and ready to give it a go. We do still have concerns about a slow death through this arranged marriage with Fresh since we will lose a lot of work space and maybe some of the contracts which are our main sources of income,” says Nicky Page, Chairperson of RASWA.
“The expertise of the current Radio Adelaide community is necessary to this experiment and we are waiting to be called on. A Transition Manager has been appointed by Fresh and we are ready and waiting to meet with him. Our financial strategies and public support flow from our diverse programming strategy and projects. This needs to be understood or it could mean that Radio Adelaide will change so drastically that it will no longer be the station the community expects.”
A new board will be formed to manage the new Radio Adelaide.
Conditions for transfer of a licence require the new licensee to meet the expectations of the existing community, and involve them in the transfer process. So far this has not occurred, though the community through RASWA has repeatedly expressed its willingness to engage with the process.
The licencing decision ultimately rests in the hands of the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority).