Will regional stations get a pass on local content quotas? | radioinfo

Will regional stations get a pass on local content quotas?

Wednesday 06 May, 2020

Gathering local content for regional radio stations is becoming more difficult as the COVID-19 crisis affects the ability of station staff to assemble content as many are working from home and some newsrooms have reduced staff numbers.

Commercial Radio Australia is asking the Federal Government for relief from the current local content regulation for the 220 stations broadcasting in regional areas.

CRA’s Chief Executive Officer, Joan Warner told radioinfo, “The commercial radio industry has sought regulatory forbearance from the Federal Government on local news and content obligations for regional radio stations during COVID-19.

“In recognition of the very real challenges being faced, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has to date offered to extend the due date for reporting in 2020 and to consider regulatory forbearance on a case by case basis for the 220 regional radio station members of CRA.

“We are continuing to have discussions with both the Minister for Communications and the ACMA to seek industry level certainty in this difficult period.

“Regional broadcasters have done a tremendous job of staying on air in the face of ad revenues falling, staff being stood down or asked to take leave, and in many cases being required to work from home if regional studios don’t allow the requisite social distancing.

“It is reasonable to expect tolerance where stations miss their local content or news quotas by a relatively small percentage as a result of the coronavirus. These stations have delivered hyper local news and content for many years and will continue to do so when the crisis has passed, but we need a commitment to a sensible and practical level of regulatory forbearance in the interim to help us through this crisis.” 






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