Radio Adelaide chairman Iain Evans says the ABC is “hijacking” Radio Adelaide’s name after the national broadcaster anounced plans to rebrand stations next year.
As part of a national rebranding strategy, ABC’s local capital city radio stations will drop the call numbers from their names and highlight their cities. 702ABC Sydney will become ABC Radio Sydney, 774ABC Melbourne will become ABC Radio Melbourne and 891ABC Adelaide will become ABC Radio Adelaide.
And there’s the problem for Radio Adelaide. Iain Evans says the similar naming will confuse the market.
The station has sent a cease and desist legal letter to the ABC objecting to the planned name change.
He told The Wire’s Bonnie Parker: “This is an attack on Radio Adelaide by the ABC. They’re hijacking our name… It’s breathtakingly arrogant of the ABC to use the name Radio Adelaide.”
ABC South Australian manager Graeme Bennett disputes the community radio station’s claim, telling 891ABC Adelaide’s breakfast show:
“Their name will still be Radio Adelaide — the fact is we’re ABC Radio and I think a great many people who use our services would think of us as ABC Radio…
“We completely understand how important community radio is to the Australian public and there is no way that any of this is about doing any kind of harm to Radio Adelaide and the fantastic people who work there.”
Bennett explained that the rebranding strategy takes into account that many people are now listening on devices that do not receive an AM signal and do not tune in via the 891 frequency.
“More than a third of the people who are listening to this broadcast right now are listening to it on a digital radio where it automatically tunes to the stations, so you don’t need to find it yourself other than the first time you turn it on.”
He said ABC Radio and Radio Adelaide have very different audiences and he does not see any conflict with the community station’s educational charter.
Radio Adelaide was recently cut loose from Adelaide University and has been reconstituted under a new board and management. The ACMA has not yet formally approved a change of licence.