Watchdog bites Bill’s Supernetwork

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has, after almost seven months, finalised their investigation in to 2HC Coffs Harbour, 2EL Orange and 2PM Kempsey and found that they failed to broadcast the minimum requirement of three hours of local content in each of their respective markets on 8 September 2009.

The licensees of the three stations, all part of Bill Caralis’ Supernetwork, have been issued “remedial directions” which means they’ll have to report to the ACMA on a periodic basis to demonstrate how they are now meeting their local content requirements. They’ll also have to implement a rigorous training program to ensure that all staff are aware of and know how to deliver on their licence obligations.

“These remedial directions will address the issues raised by the investigations and are designed to better ensure future compliance by the licensees,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

A spokesperson for the Supernetwork said, “Whilst the three stations (2HC, 2EL and 2PM) have always believed they were complying with the regulations in relation to local content we accept the ACMA decision in relation to the Grant Goldman Program that is presented in Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Orange.”

The story first broke on Media Watch in October last year when presenter Jonathan Holmes alleged that the Grant Goldman Breakfast Show, networked to the three stations from 2SM Sydney did not meet local content requirements. That show plus an official complaint from a listener goaded the watchdog into action.

The ACMA has also commenced an audit of a representation of licensees and licence areas across Australia to assess the overal level of compliance with local content obligations. “Given that the local content obligations have now been in force for over two years, it is timely to examine licensee compliance more broadly,” said Mr Chapman.

According to The Supernetwork spokesperson their stations are now in compliance, “In terms of current programming, each of the three stations in question meets the local content requirements while they will continue to present the Grant Goldman Program”. 



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