Incoming Fairfax chairman Nick Falloon cleared to join board after radio licence mix up

Incoming Fairfax Media chairman Nick Falloon has been cleared to take his seat on the Fairfax Media board after being granted a temporary clearance to breach the Broadcasting Services Act.

Last week it was reported Fallon, who will take over from current chairman Roger Corbett in August, could not take his seat on the board as he was not among directors cleared by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to breach the law limiting the number of radio licences a company can control in a single market.

That breach was caused by Fairfax Radio’s merger with Macquarie Radio, with the new entity currently holding three licences in Sydney. However, the ACMA has now cleared Falloon to be added to the list and he has been added to the Fairfax board.

Whilst Fairfax has sought clearance for its directors, including Todd Sampson, to breach the rules as far back as January, Falloon had not been granted the same clearance when he was named as a new appointment to the board at the end of March.

The ACMA statement:

On 1 May 2015 the Australian Communications and Media Authority issued a notice approving a temporary breach of the directorship limit associated with the ‘two-to-a-market’ limit for commercial radio broadcasting licences in Sydney.

The temporary breach arises on Mr Nicholas Falloon’s appointment as a director of Fairfax Media Limited (Fairfax) following the granting of this approval. The approval has been granted for a period of one year.

Fairfax is currently in a position to control three commercial radio licences in the Sydney RA1 licence area; 2UE, 2GB and 2CH. This follows completion of the merger of Macquarie Radio Network Limited (MRN) with the radio business of Fairfax on 31 March 2015.

On appointment,  Mr Falloon becomes a director of a company that is in a position to control more than two commercial radio licences in a licence area, in breach of paragraph 56(a) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

The ACMA has previously approved temporary breaches of ‘two-to-a-market’ limit for commercial radio licences in the Sydney RA1 licence area and associated directorship limits resulting from the MRN/Fairfax merger – also for a period of one year.

The ACMA can consider applications for approval of temporary breaches of the media control rules prior to a transaction or agreement occurring.  Any such prior approval is temporary because a condition of the approval is that the applicant must divest assets to remedy all its breaches within a set timeframe.

Details of temporary breaches approved by ACMA are provided in the Register of Notices and Approvals under Part 5 of the Act


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.