Friday, March 30, 2007

Aussie commercial radio industry furious over new license conditions

The commercial radio industry in Australia is furious about new licence conditions which have been imposed on its regional stations by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The changes mean that if a regional radio station is sold or merged into another media group, staff numbers at the station cannot be cut and the size of its production facilities must be maintained.
The head of Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner, says the new conditions are not as restrictive as those originally proposed, but are still highly intrusive. “It’s taking government regulation back to the dark ages where they are fiddling in the day-to-day operations of commercial enterprises,” she said.
Communications Minister Helen Coonan says the industry was consulted. “We’ve worked through the concerns of all of her members and we’ve put in a great deal of flexibility,” she said.
She says the changes are designed to protect media diversity in regional areas. “Concerns were expressed that the reform to the media laws would mean that they would lose all their local presence - in other words they would lose local radio stations operating within their communities and it was an attempt to get the balance right so they wouldn’t just get hubbed and streamed material,” Senator Coonan said.
(Source: ABC News Online/T Netherlands Media Network Weblog)