Following an eleven month investigation by the nations broadcast regulator, the AustralianCommunications and Media Authority, Albany radio station Fly FM is to stay on air with it’s top 50 music format.

Although delighted that the station will remain on air, station owners Warren and Kira Mead are not in agreement with all of ACMA’s findings, and have expressed concern that the authority may have breached it’s own Principles For Decision Making paper. Fly FM plans to appeal the investigation through the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. In the meantime, they will abide by a written undertaking to play all songs in the same order. A cover note that accompanied the undertaking, and addressed to ACMA chairman Chris Chapman, stated:

“We acknowledge that the ACMA has found that our narrowcast service is not in accordance with our s21 opinion. We respectfully disagree with the legal basis of this finding. Despite this, we will fully abide by the signed enforceable undertaking.

However, we wish to make it clear that this document should not be taken to prejudice or preclude any further action or appeals we may wish to take.”

ACMA published the Meads undertaking on their web site, but have refused to include the covering letter.

According to Kira Mead “the ACMA investigation means only a small change to the way we run our business, but we believe it has larger consequences for the independent radio landscape in Australia, and we feel it’s important to see this through.”

ACMA Investigation 1871 was instigated by Commercial Radio Australia, who in Albany, represent the Macquarie owned stations Radio West and Hot FM. Radio West station manager in Albany, Jane Hansen, assisted the complaint by making audio recordings of Fly FM. “For a business that until recently positioned itself as “The Locals You Know” they seem to be excessively keen on snuffing out any local competition” Mr Mead said. “It’s remarkable that a group who can afford to pay it’s former CEO a $50 million dollar golden handshake, would be so concerned about the music content of a small station in Albany.”

The Meads described tactics of Commercial Radio Australia as “grubby“, and in particular, want answers on how a confidential email between Kira Mead and music industry body ARIA, mysteriously ended up in the hands of CRA’s Joan Warner, who quoted from the letter in correspondence with ACMA.

Throughout the investigation, Fly FM owners Warren and Kira Mead, have consistently argued that they were doing nothing wrong, and maintain that there is no clear legal basis in the Broadcasting Services Act to support ACMA’s ruling.

“The fact that ACMA intends to shortly commence a review of section 8 of the Broadcasting Services Clarification Notice 2001, indicates to us that we were right all along” Mr Mead said.

“We paid $1300 to get our program approved by the regulator, and firmly believe our program was running as stated in that Prior Opinion - now it appears ACMA have had a change of heart , and want to fiddle with the act to suit their whims”

Warren and Kira Mead thanked listeners and local business for their support during the investigation. “ I believe that most small business owners can relate to what we’ve been through, and no doubt, have their own stories about the arrogance of large corporations and their minions”.