Press release

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has decided not to renew the community radio broadcasting licence held by Youth Media Society of Western Australia Inc (YMS). YMS provides the service known as Groove FM for the youth community of Perth. The licence expires at midnight on 28 February 2008.

‘ACMA is responsible for ensuring that broadcasting spectrum, which is a valuable and scarce public resource, is used in a manner that best promotes the public interest, as contemplated by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘YMS has not performed at the level and with the outcomes expected of community broadcasters.’

In assessing the licence renewal application from YMS, ACMA found significant corporate governance problems. Due to the seriousness of these problems and the poor history of compliance by YMS with its licence obligations over several years, ACMA decided that YMS does not have the management capacity to provide the service. ACMA was also of the view that the service provided did not adequately meet the needs of the broader youth community of Perth as its music programming is too narrow.

In summary, YMS did not demonstrate to ACMA that it has the management capacity to represent its community interest, encourage participation in the operations of the service and in the selection and provision of programs. YMS was also not able to demonstrate the capacity to comply with additional licence conditions relating to Australian music content, on-air announcements, maintaining the access committee and financial record-keeping.

YMS will have the opportunity to apply for a three-month temporary community broadcasting licence which will have the effect of the service not going off air in the immediate future. Further, under a temporary community broadcasting licence, the additional licence obligations would cease to apply and YMS would have the chance to reconsider its community of interest and show through its own actions that it can encourage participation in the operations of the station.

‘YMS has a strong incentive to use its time on a temporary community broadcasting licence to demonstrate to ACMA that it can comply with the Broadcasting Services Act,’ Mr Chapman said.

However, YMS will need to share the frequency if, at some stage, there are other aspirant community broadcasters in the licence area who are also interested in providing a community radio broadcasting service.