sportfmThe Australian Communications and Media Authority has found that SportFM, the holder of a temporary community broadcasting licence in Fremantle, Western Australia, has breached its radio licence conditions by broadcasting advertisements and by exceeding the hourly sponsorship limit of five minutes.

Community radio stations are prohibited from broadcasting advertisements under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA). Sponsorship announcements that include appropriate acknowledgements of financial support (‘tags’) are permitted on community radio but announcements that do not include tags are considered to be advertisements and so fall within the prohibition. Under the BSA, community radio stations may broadcast up to five minutes of sponsorship announcements in any hour.

The ACMA received a complaint on 19 June 2009 about SportFM’s broadcast of a commercially sourced program, The Run Home. The complainant identified broadcasts on 10 and 15 June 2009, alleging that the licensee was not complying with the advertising and sponsorship provisions of the BSA.

In addition, the complainant alleged that the program was not consistent with SportFM’s community interest. The ACMA investigated the complaint and found that the licensee had broadcast advertisements on 10 and 15 June 2009 and that sponsorship announcements had been broadcast in excess of the allowable limit on 15 June 2009. However, the ACMA found that SportFM continues to represent its community interest.

In response to the breach findings, the licensee has taken the program off air and is reviewing its broadcast of other commercially sourced programming. SportFM has also provided training to relevant staff.

The ACMA is comfortable that these actions demonstrate SportFM’s commitment to meeting its obligations under its licence conditions and that they should reduce the risk of similar breaches occurring in the future. It has therefore decided not to take any further action at this time.

The licensee of SportFM, Western Sports Media Inc, holds a temporary community broadcasting licence to provide a radio service in the Fremantle RA1 licence area, which includes East Fremantle and parts of Cockburn and Melville in Western Australia. SportFM shares the 91.3FM frequency in Fremantle RA1 with another temporary community broadcaster, Portuguese Radio.