ACMA issues formal warnings to ARN & HT&E

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has scolded two radio companies for failures to notify the watchdog about radio licence changes within 10 business days.

Eleven licensees and subsidiaries of Australian Radio Network (ARN) received formal warnings for not alerting ACMA to a change in control of their licences within that required time frame. Meanwhile HT&E Finance, a subsidiary of HT&E, was issued a formal warning for not telling the authority  it was in a position to exercise control of the radio licences within 10 days.

For HT&E Finance, this obligation arose when HT&E’s structure changed in 2016. HT&E Finance was then in a position to exercise control, while six companies stopped being able to do so.

Those licensees, and HT&E Finance, self reported the failure to ACMA last year.

The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 imposes the 10 business day timeframe, and while the watchdog noted the licensees had not breached the Act in more than 10 years, and HT&E Finance had never failed in its requirements, it said the breaches were “serious” because they stretched more than 4 years.

Both ARN and HT&E Finance have “taken steps to prevent a similar oversight in the future”, ACMA confirmed.


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