Today, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that the licensee of 2CCR Parramatta, Cumberland Community Radio Inc, breached a condition of its licence by broadcasting an advertisement.
ACMA found that 2CCR broadcast an advertisement on 31 January 2008 as it failed to broadcast a ‘tag’. However, ACMA is satisfied that the pre-recorded announcement did include a tag but that it was inadvertently faded out due to human error.
Community radio stations may broadcast up to five minutes of sponsorship announcements per hour. Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, sponsorship announcements must include an appropriate acknowledgement of financial support (a ‘tag’) otherwise they are considered advertisements.
This of course is a serious issue – commercial radio licences are bought and sold for hundreds of millions of dollars on the basis of the huge amounts of advertising they attract.
Community radio stations (i.e FM licences) on the other hand go for a lot less- in fact in some cases for next to nothing on the basis that they will not receive any money from advertising. Therefore breaches such as these are seen as a direct challenge not only to the law, but the commercial radio sector as well.
In this case says ACMA, as the licensee has already taken appropriate measures to minimise the potential for this type of human error and to ensure its obligations under the Act are met, ACMA is not proposing to take any action at this time.