Compliance essential but ACMA should not inhibit legitimate station operations: Jon Bisset | radioinfo

Compliance essential but ACMA should not inhibit legitimate station operations: Jon Bisset

Friday 26 October, 2018

The CBAA has told radioinfo it is aware that the ACMA has contacted a number of stations around Australia regarding their representation of their station’s sponsorship opportunities as advertising.

Chief Executive Officer Jon Bisset (pictured) says these issues "warrant further discussion."
 

"The CBAA is committed to supporting stations to act in the spirit of community broadcasting, including through supporting their compliance with licence regulations. However, it is also our high priority to ensure that directives on community radio stations are within the scope of existing regulations and do not inhibit legitimate station operations.

"Some of the matters raised by ACMA that potentially affect station revenue, are of particular concern, given that financial sustainability is the top challenge faced by community radio stations of all sizes and locations.

"We have contacted the ACMA and will continue to work with them to resolve this issue."

 

The letters from the ACMA, sighted by radioinfo, warn about three concerns: advertising, sponsorship from outside the broadcast area, and use of agencies, saying:

"The complaints relate to [station name redacted] representing sponsorship opportunities on its service as 'advertising', including that advertising on the service is cheaper than on commercial
radio.
 
"In addition, [station name] is alleged to be seeking sponsorship opportunities for its service from businesses that are located outside the Stations licence area, including through the use of 'advertising' agents to sell sponsorship announcements."

 

See our previous report for more.
 

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4 Comments

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Nero
28 October 2018 - 1:47pm
Coca Cola in the US, Samsung in South Korea. Some potential 'sponsors' outside the broadcast area. Community radio should stick to the rules or pay for a commercial licence.
Anthony The Koala
30 October 2018 - 9:46am
First this is not about the definition of community radio, as discussed in 2000 about a community station aspirant not awarded a licence because it was making profits either through its sponsorship announcements paid to a non-radio station entity and the selling of its CDs, reported in sources, https://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/19600/9976604 and https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/aba-investigation-wild-fm-and-free-fm.

Rather the issue is the distinction between a commercial and sponsorship announcement. A commercial consists of a corporate entity's jingle, use of trademarks and advertising getup/imagery. A sponsorship announcement consists of the following structure: "our sponsor is 'corporate entity'....they provide a 'description of product or service', they can be contacted on phone number or www.productorservice.com.au .....'corporate entity' is a proud sponsor of 2XYZ.

It would be overstepping the line if the sponsorship announcement consisted of the following structure: Our sponsor is 'product or service', the advertisement,.....proud sponsor of 2XYZ. Similarly it would be overstepping the line if the sponsorship announcement is: "Our sponsor is 'product or service', description of the qualities of the product or service and/or its advantages over its competitors........proud sponsor of 2XYZ.

Therefore if the sponsorship announcement resembles a commercial or the qualities of a commercial, it would violate Part 5 s9(1)(b), which states "the licensee will not broadcast advertisements, and the licensee will not broadcast sponsorship announcements otherwise than as mentioned in this clause;"

So assuming that a community station is playing a complying sponsorship announcement, then the officers of the radio station who a prospecting for potential sponsors offering to air advertisements instead of sponsorship announcements is clearly misleading the potential sponsor given that what is aired is not a commercial.

Surely it would make sense that the officers of the radio station are prospecting for an appropriate sponsor for an appropriate program. For example it is ridiculous to have a sponsorship announcement for an undertaker on a dance program.

Nevertheless, the entity sponsoring a radio station must not be sold that its announcements are sponsorship announcements NOT commercial. On balance the ACMA may be correct in judging the radio station prospecting for commercials rather than sponsorship announcement.

I know this based on my experience working as a volunteer on a community radio station.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
Anthony The Koala
30 October 2018 - 10:02am
Apologies. When I referred to Part 5 s9(1)(b) in my essay, I was referring to Part 5 s9(1)(b) of the Broadcast Services Act 1992 (Cth), amended in 2006.
Sorry,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
Anthony The Koala
30 October 2018 - 10:26am
Another apology. I muddled the 2nd last paragraph in my essay. It did not make sense. It should be:
"Nevertheless, the entity sponsoring a radio station must not be prospected by the radio station's officers as selling commercial time. On balance the ACMA may be correct in judging the radio station prospecting for commercials rather than sponsorship announcement."

Regards
Anthony of Belfield

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