2NUR breaches sponsorship limits | radioinfo

2NUR breaches sponsorship limits

Wednesday 22 August, 2018
2NUR morning presenter Mark Rorke

The University of Newcastle's community radio station 2NUR has breached the sponsorship guidelines by playing more than the mandated 5 minutes per hour, according to an ACMA Investigation.

The ACMA received a complaint that the station exceeded the hourly limit on two occasions in June and July this year, and began an investigation under section 170 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 into the licensee’s compliance with licence condition 9(3)(b) of Schedule 2 to the BSA.

That section of the Act mandates the hourly time limit for sponsorship announcements at 5 minutes.

After investigating the complaint, the station was found to be in breach:

The licensee breached paragraph 9(3)(b) of Schedule 2 to the BSA between 11 am and 12 pm during the broadcast of Morning on 21 June 2018.

The licensee breached paragraph 9(3)(b) of Schedule 2 to the BSA between 10 am and 11 am and 11 am and 12 pm during the broadcast of Sunday Sunrise on 1 July 2018.

The key feature of a sponsorship announcement is its acknowledgement of the financial or in-kind support given by a sponsor to a community broadcasting licensee or a program provided under the service, according to the ACMA.

2NUR will take a number of actions to make sure the breach does not happen again, these include reviewing its ad playout system and appointing a compliance officer.

The complaint raised concerns that between 11.00 am and 12.00 pm on 21 June 2018, sponsorship announcements were broadcast 12 times, and between 10.00 am and 12.00 pm on 1 July 2018, sponsorship announcements were broadcast 26 times. On 6 July the ACMA began an investigation under section 170 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and found that the station was in breach.

The reasons for the finding are:

The BSA does not provide a definition for a ‘sponsorship announcement’. However, the ACMA Community Broadcasting Sponsorship Guidelines 2008 (the ACMA Guidelines) state:
 

A sponsor is an individual or organisation who provides payment in cash or in kind to a community broadcasting licence or a program provided under the service. This could be by way of cash or contribution of goods or services that would otherwise be an expense for the licensee in operating the service. The key feature of a sponsorship announcement is its acknowledgement of the financial or in-kind support given by a sponsor to a community broadcasting licensee or a program provided under the service. [emphasis added]

Sponsorship announcements may also promote the activities, events, products, services or programs of the sponsor, provided that it contains an acknowledgement of financial or in-kind support by the sponsor of the licensee or of a program. [emphasis added]

A sponsorship ‘tag’ is a common term that refers to the on-air label affixed to material that enables a licensee to acknowledge support in cash or in kind given by a person or an organisation to a licensee or a program provided under the services.

A licensee is permitted to broadcast five minutes of sponsorship announcements in any hour of broadcasting. For the purposes of calculation, an hour of broadcast is taken from the start of each hour. The duration of a sponsorship announcement includes the acknowledgment of support and play-in/play-out music to the announcement.

The licensee advised that sponsors mentioned in sponsor credits had not paid for that airtime, whereas sponsors mentioned in sponsorship announcements had paid for that airtime. The test of whether or not an announcement is a sponsorship announcement for the purposes of the duration counting towards the five minutes per hour permitted for sponsorship announcements is not whether the airtime was paid or unpaid.

As outlined in the ACMA Guidelines, the key feature of a sponsorship announcement is its acknowledgement of the financial or in-kind support given by a sponsor to a licensee or a program provided under the licence. As such, if a sponsor has provided financial or in-kind support to a licensee for the station or a program, and that sponsorship is acknowledged, the duration of the announcement, including the acknowledgment, is counted towards the five minutes per hour permitted for sponsorship announcements.

The ACMA has worked out the durations of the sponsorship announcements, as follows:

  • between 11.00 am and 12.00 pm on 21 June 2018, 19 sponsorship announcements were broadcast, totalling 5 minutes and 21 seconds
  • between 10.00 am and 11.00 am on 1 July 2018, 21 sponsorship announcements were broadcast, totalling 6 minutes and 3 seconds
  • between 11.00 am and 12.00 pm on 1 July 2018, 21 sponsorship announcements were broadcast, totalling 5 minutes and 56 seconds.

Accordingly, the ACMA is of the view that the licensee exceeded the five minutes per hour permitted for sponsorship announcements on both 21 June 2018 and 1 July 2018, in breach of paragraph 9(3)(b) of Schedule 2 to the BSA.

In response to the preliminary breach finding, the licensee advised that it has taken the following actions as a result of the breach finding:

  1. 2NUR has commenced a review of its traffic systems and reporting requirements and is working with relevant suppliers to come up with possible solutions.
  2. 2NUR has appointed a Compliance Supervisor to prepare a pre-broadcast daily log, which will be monitored and reviewed daily to ensure that it does not exceed the hourly sponsorship limit.
  3. 2NUR has now limited sponsorship announcements to 4 minutes 30 seconds per hour and sponsorship credits, scheduled or live, are limited to 3 seconds in duration and are not to exceed 27 seconds per hour.
  4. There is to be no live reads of sponsorship announcements, unless these have been pre­approved and are within the 4 minutes 30 seconds per hour limit. Future reads will be pre-recorded and timed to meet the hourly sponsorship limit.
  5. Formal compliance training for all managers was undertaken by the CBAA on 13 August 2018. Internal compliance training workshops for all staff are ongoing and reminder training sessions have commenced for all on-air announcers, including volunteers.
  6. All on-air announcers, both staff and volunteers, have been reminded of the compliance obligations regarding live reads and mentions. 2NUR is taking the opportunity to review and update the station’s policies.

The ACMA noted that this is the licensee’s first breach of the licence condition and considers the actions are appropriate to minimise the risk of a breach of the same licence condition occurring.

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