Radio being ‘demonised’, ACMA’s empty cash for comment hearing is told

ACMA cash for comment mumbrellaAn audience of just 13 people showed up for today’s public consultation on cash for comment in commercial radio.

Those who attended the 160+ capacity venue were asked by staff to move to the front of the  room “to give the illusion” that there were more people present.  

The hearing at Sydney Museum was called by the Australian Communications and Media Authority as part of its review of the current regulations for how radio presenters disclose their commercial affiliations to listeners.

The review has been running for several months. Last year Fairfax’s 2UE was fined $360,000 for failing to properly disclose arranagements with sponsors of John Laws’ show. And it comes more than a decade after the ABC’s Media Watch broke the original cash for comment scandal which also featured Laws, along with Alan Jones.

This morning’s hearing featured a panel of nine chaired by broadcaster Philip Clark.

Occasional Gruen Transfer guest Jane Caro argued against presenters having to flag their affiliations every time they mention a sponsor, so long as it is worked into every show. She said: “Disclosure at the beginning and the end works for me.”

And Angela Clark, the former CEO of the Macquarie Radio Network which owns talk station 2GB, warned that radio faces being more regulated than other media. She asked why radio was under a particular spotlight.

Gawen Rudder of The Communications Council – which represents agencies –  told the hearing: “They are uncecessarily complicating what should be a simple issue by demonising radio for something that happened ten years ago.”


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