ACMA press release: The Australian Communications and Media Authority is inviting applications from aspirant community broadcasters to provide temporary radio services to Perth on the frequency 101.7 MHz, following the surrender of the frequency by the operator of community broadcasting service, Groove FM.

‘This is an opportunity for community groups to develop their operational and programming skills while providing for the cultural needs of the Perth community not met by existing services,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.

‘ACMA is committed to retaining 101.7 MHz for community radio broadcasting in Perth. The decision to permit community radio trials on the frequency is seen as a first step towards the eventual long-term reallocation of the frequency for community radio,’ Mr Chapman said.

Groove FM, which ceased broadcasting at midnight Sunday 9 March 2008, was licensed to provide a service for youth in Perth under a temporary community broadcasting licence. ACMA issued the temporary licence in February this year following a decision not to renew the long-term licence for the service.

‘It is disappointing that Groove FM was unable to take advantage of its temporary licence to address the concerns that ACMA identified with the service,’ Mr Chapman said.

While ACMA would welcome the emergence of a new organisation representing the youth community, it is the policy intention of the Broadcasting Services Act that temporary services will not be confined to youth radio but may address any legitimate community need.

‘We hope that other groups will now take up the challenge of promoting diversity in broadcasting services for Perth audiences,’ Mr Chapman said.

Applications are open to not-for-profit companies registered in Australia or an external territory that represents a community interest. ACMA will consider all applications received by close of business, Monday 31 March 2008.

ACMA is aware of potential interest from more than one aspirant group. If more than one group is found to meet the basic eligibility requirements or if new aspirant community broadcasters later emerge, access to the frequency will be shared. At an appropriate time, ACMA will offer a long-term community broadcasting licence for allocation, after conducting a merit-based assessment of all applicants for the licence.