The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has renewed the community broadcasting licence issued to Otway FM Community Radio Group Inc. (Otway FM) in Colac, Victoria, after the station was able to satisfy concerns raised by the Authority.

“In the course of the Otway FM licence renewal process ACMA raised several issues with the licensee over what can only be described as severe management failure,” said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. “Of most concern is that the station was off air for almost 18 months and has not provided a service to significant parts of the licence area. Membership, sponsorship and volunteer levels are all low for these reasons.”

“Fortunately, over the course of the licence renewal period a new management team at Otway FM has begun to address ACMAĆ¢€™s concerns, either directly, or through specific undertakings. ACMA has taken this into account and has decided to renew the licence of the only community broadcaster in the Colac region. Instead ACMA will work with Otway FM to revive the service,” Mr Chapman said.

“However, Otway FM will have little room for error. ACMA will continue to monitor the operations of the station and is expecting to see significant improvement over the coming months.”

ACMA has informed the station that it reserves the right to take further action if it does not meet its undertakings, including imposing additional licence conditions or ultimately cancelling the licence.

“ACMA is charged with promoting the availability of a diverse range of radio services throughout Australia, as well as ensuring that broadcasters meet all their statutory obligations,” Mr Chapman said.

“This decision successfully balances both of these objectives and represents an acceptable outcome to the renewal process,” Mr Chapman concluded.