The Australian Communications Media Authority has found that Central Victorian Community Broadcasters Inc., the licensee of the temporary community radio service Phoenix FM Bendigo, breached a condition of its licence by broadcasting an advertisement. Community broadcasters are prohibited from broadcasting advertisements under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA).

Following a complaint, ACMA commenced an investigation and found that the licensee of Phoenix FM breached its licence conditions by broadcasting an advertisement on 5 November 2008.

The advertisement occurred during a live interview with a local business person. The interview was found to be an advertisement because the discussion promoted the business and its products. The business was a sponsor of Phoenix FM but was not identified as such throughout the interview.

In response to ACMA’s investigation, Phoenix FM has taken a number of measures to ensure that similar breaches do not occur in the future. These measures include specific training on sponsorship and advertising for all presenters, implementation of a process for managerial approval of live interviews and training for all volunteers on the licensee’s legislative obligations.

ACMA considers Phoenix FM’s response to the compliance issues raised by this investigation appropriate and has decided to take no further action at this time. In coming to this view, ACMA took into account the fact that a previous breach of this condition in 2008 was of a technical nature, being caused by equipment failure (see ACMA investigation report no. 2046).

The licensee of Phoenix FM, Central Victorian Community Broadcasters Inc., holds a temporary community broadcasting licence to serve the Bendigo RA2 licence area.

A copy of Investigation Report 2107 is available on the ACMA website.