Perth has lost its Groove: youth station closes its doors | radioinfo

Perth has lost its Groove: youth station closes its doors

Tuesday 11 March, 2008
Groove pulls the plug

Groove FM in Perth has gone dark. The Perth youth community radio station, on FM 101.7, turned off its transmitter last night and has now handed back its licence. ACMA will offer the licence temporarily to other aspirant community radio groups.

The station blames constant harrasment from commercial stations, particularly Nova 93.7, for its plight. It has been battling complaints and investigations for most of its five years on air. ACMA says the station was not being run properly.

Licencee 'Youth Media Society of Western Australia Inc' was investigated twice since the Groove FM service commenced in March 2003 (see our earlier story at the link below).

The first investigation in 2003-04 resulted in the imposition of additional licence conditions, and during the second investigation in 2007, ACMA found breaches of those conditions. ACMA found "significant corporate governance problems" with the station and its licence was not renewed as at 28 February 2008. It was broadcasting under a temporary licence for the last month.

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 was too narrow." It's initial format was mostly dance music.

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.

The regualtor is aware of potential interest from more than one aspirant group. It will grant TCBLs to any group (not necessarily only youth groups) wanting to try out for a licence, which will become permanently available at some time in the future.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman says the regulator 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... 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."

The station had over 100 youth volunteers at the time of its closure. radioinfo understands that at least some of the volunteers are planning to try to form a new group to eventualy win the licence.

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