REPORT OF INVESTIGATION COMMUNITY RADIO STATION SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCEMENTS ADVERTISEMENTS by theduets

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									                             REPORT OF INVESTIGATION

                   COMMUNITY RADIO STATION 2GLA
             SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCEMENTS/ADVERTISEMENTS


File No. 98/0078
Complaint No. 10066
Investigation No. 531

INTRODUCTION

On 19 January 1998 the Australian Broadcasting Authority (‘the ABA’) received a written
unresolved complaint in relation to community radio station 2GLA. The complainant
alleged that certain sponsorship announcements broadcast by that station were not
acknowledging the financial support of that sponsor as required by the Broadcasting
Services Act 1992 (‘the Act’).

In response to these complaints the ABA sought written comments from the licensee of
2GLA, Great Lakes Area FM Community Radio Limited, as well as a sample audiotape
recorded on 28 January 1998 (refer to transcript at Attachment A). The complainant also
supplied the ABA with a sample audiotape recorded on 24 December 1997 (refer to
transcript at Attachment B).

LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK

Section 123 of the Act requires that each industry sector develop codes of practice relating
to program content issues and complaints handling processes. The community radio
broadcasting sector registered its codes of practice with the ABA in January 1996.

Under section 147 of the Act, if a person believes that another person who is providing a
broadcasting service has committed an offence against the Act or the regulations, or has
breached a condition of a licence or a class licence, then that person may make a complaint
to the ABA about the matter.

Section 149 of the Act requires the ABA to investigate complaints referred to it in these
ways, unless it is satisfied that the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good
faith.

ASSESSMENT

Clause 2(2) of Schedule 2 of the Act sets out what does not amount to advertising on
community radio stations:

      .....the broadcasting by a community broadcasting licensee of:

      (a)       community information material or community promotional material: or
      (b)        a sponsorship announcement that acknowledges financial support by a person of
        the licensee, whether or not the announcement:
                         (i) specifies the name and address of, and a description of the general
                         nature of any business or undertaking carried on by the person; or
                         (ii) promotes activities, events, products, services or programs of the
                         person; or

      (c)        material that announces or promotes the service provided under the licence,
                 including material (whether by way of the announcement or promotion of
        activities, events, products, services or otherwise) that is likely to induce public
        support, whether financially or otherwise, or to make use of, the services
        provided under the licence;

      is not to be taken to be the broadcasting of an advertisement.

Clause 9 of Schedule 2 of the Act sets out certain conditions applicable to services
provided under community broadcasting licences and states, in part, that:

      9. (1) Each community broadcasting licence is subject to the following conditions:

      ......

      (b)       the licensee will not broadcast advertisements, and the licensee will not
                broadcast sponsorship announcements otherwise than as mentioned in subclause
        (3);

      ......

        (3) A community broadcasting licensee may broadcast sponsorship announcements that
      run in total for not more than 4 minutes in any hour of broadcasting.

        (4) A community television broadcasting licensee may broadcast sponsorship
      announcements only during periods before programs commence, after programs end or
      during natural program breaks.

         (5) In working out the length of time devoted to the broadcasting of sponsorship
      announcements, account is not to be taken of the broadcasting by a community broadcasting
      licensee of any of the following:

         (a)    material that publicises programs to be broadcast by the licensee;

         (b)    material that promotes the licensee’s products, services or activities for the
                broadcast of which the licensee does not receive any consideration in cash or in
        kind;

        (c)     community information or community promotional material for the broadcast of
        which the licensee does not receive any consideration in cash or in kind;

         (d)    sponsorship announcements consisting of moving text that is overlaid on a test
                pattern.




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THE COMPLAINT

The complainant alleged that certain sponsorship announcements broadcast by 2GLA were
not ‘tagged’ (i.e. did not acknowledge financial support) and were thus advertisements
under the Act. In its letter of complaint to the ABA the complainant wrote:

      It would appear that 2GLA is not meeting the regulations in that sponsorship announcements
      are not tagged as required under the BSA. To the general listener the station “sounds” no
      different to a commercial situation.

      I have enclosed a cassette tape of 2GLA broadcasts on 24 December 1997 that clearly
      demonstrates that the station is playing advertisements and not sponsorship announcements.

LICENSEE’S COMMENTS

In a letter to the ABA dated 13 February 1998 the General Manager of 2GLA wrote:

      With regards to this station complying to paragraph 9(1)(b) of schedule 2 of the broadcast
      act, we believe we are complying with the stated requirements. Over time we have been
      looking at ways of presenting sponsorships with acknowledgment of sponsors support of the
      station announced at various times during programmes. It’s the belief that doing this we are
      not breaching conditions of the act as we are acknowledging their sponsorship of the station
      on-air.

      Listeners to the station are more than aware we are a community station doing the things that
      keep them informed, entertained and filling a gap that our Commercial Operators are unable
      to fulfil.

DISCUSSION

Clause 9 of Schedule 2 of the Act (quoted in part earlier in this report) sets out certain
conditions to which all community licensees are subject. Specifically, paragraph 9(1)(b)
provides that no community broadcasting licensee shall be permitted to broadcast
advertisements and that sponsorship announcements (which are permitted) shall not be
broadcast unless they conform with the procedure as specified in subclause (3), i.e. the
total broadcast time for sponsorship announcements does not exceed 4 minutes per hour.

Paragraph 2(2)(b) of Schedule 2 of the Act (also quoted earlier) provides that what might
otherwise be taken to be an advertisement shall not be so taken if it is ‘a sponsorship
announcement that acknowledges financial support by a person of the licensee’. This is so
whether or not the announcement specifies any details of the sponsor or promotes
activities, events, products, services or programs of the sponsor.

From the tapes of 2GLA broadcasts supplied to the ABA (refer to Attachments A and B)
and from the licensee’s letter to the ABA of 13 February 1998 it is apparent that 2GLA are
often acknowledging the financial support of their sponsors in ‘blocks’ rather than as part
of each individual announcement. In other words, the announcement regarding a sponsor’s
product and the acknowledgment of financial support by that sponsor are frequently
broadcast separately rather than in conjunction. However, in the opinion of the ABA this
format is not consistent with the exemption at paragraph 2(2)(b) quoted above.



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The wording of paragraph 2(2)(b) makes it a clear requirement that each sponsorship
announcement itself must include an acknowledgment of financial support, as opposed to
the acknowledgment being broadcast as a separate and discreet program element and at a
different time during the broadcast. In the tapes supplied to the ABA by 2GLA each
individual announcement does not acknowledge financial support by a sponsor. The tape
of the broadcast from 28 January 1998 contains announcements for the Great Lakes
Aquatic Centre , several local restaurants (as part of the Great Lakes FM restaurant
guide), Forster Tuncurry Golf Club, Kit and Caboodle Restaurant and Forster Beach
Photo and Craft which do not acknowledge financial support as part of the announcement.
Similarly, in the tape of the broadcast from 24 December 1997 announcements for the
Nabiac Hotel and Tuncurry Plaza do not acknowledge financial support. Rather,
acknowledgments of financial support are made separately either earlier or later in the
broadcast.

As announcements with no acknowledgment accompanying them fall outside the scope of
paragraph 2(2)(b) they would be likely to be held to be advertisements and therefore the
licensee of a community station broadcasting such announcements would be in breach of
the condition of its license set out at paragraph 9(1)(b) of Schedule 2 of the Act.

ACTION TAKEN

The licensee of 2GLA responded to the ABA’s preliminary investigation report in a letter
dated 1 May 1998, and stated that:

     The ABA can be assured that everything will be done to make sure that something like this
     will not be repeated again. All the volunteers and staff who are responsible to the making of
     the written sponsorships to and including the presenters and producers are fully aware of
     their understanding of the broadcast act concerning community radio stations about the
     difference of advertising to sponsorships.




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DECISION

I, Lesley Osborne, Acting Director Program Services Branch, being the appropriate
delegated officer of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, am satisfied that the licensee of
community radio station 2GLA, Great Lakes Area FM Community Radio Limited,
breached the condition of its community radio broadcasting licence set out at paragraph
9(1)(b) of Schedule 2 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 in that it broadcast
advertisements which do not come under the exemption at paragraph 2(2)(b) of Schedule
2 of that Act.




Signed:        ---------------------------
               Lesley Osborne

dated this        day of May 1998




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                                                                    ATTACHMENT A
TAPE OF 2GLA FM 101.5 (SUPPLIED BY LICENSEE)
28 JANUARY 1998 - 8.00AM TO 9.00AM

Macquarie National News (international & national news)

time-call 8.06, followed by mid-north coast weather (‘Coastwatch, brought to you by Dial
a Security Door’)

station identification and time-call

song - ‘Something So Strong’ sung by Crowded House

time-call - 8.10

phone-in competition (‘Forster Shopping Village Secret Sound. Thanks to our sponsors -
Forster Shopping Village’), followed by several callers

announcement (untagged) - ‘Great Lakes Aquatic Centre Bridal Extravaganza Cocktail
Party of the Year’

Great Lakes FM restaurant guide:       Andys
(untagged)                             Fairview Family Restaurant
                                       Casuarina Restaurant
                                       Golden Pond

time-call - 8.14

song - ‘You Got a Friend’ sung by Brand New Heavies

time-call - 8.18

announcement re competition for tickets to Greg Norman’s Golf Championship

sponsorship announcement - ‘Harvey Norman 101 community update. Thanks to our
sponsors Harvey Norman’ (followed by various community announcements)

announcement - land being sold by Wilkins Real Estate Nabiac

announcement - ‘Great Lakes FM thanks our sponsors Dial a Security Door, Aim Higher,
Wilkins Real Estate, Harvey Norman, Forster Tuncurry Golf Club for their kind support. A
part of your community 101.5 Great Lakes FM’.

song - ‘Sweet Season’ sung by Carol King

song - ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ sung by Savage Garden

time-call - 8.29



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announcement re competition for tickets to Greg Norman’s Golf Championship

Macquarie National News, followed by local (mid-north coast) weather

station identification

song - ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ sung by Dusty Springfield

song - ‘Every Day a Winding Road’ sung by Cheryl Crow

time-call - 8.43

short announcement - whale sighting in area

short announcement re several jobs available in area

sponsorship announcement - Nabiac Nursery and Craft Cottage

announcement (untagged) - Forster Tuncurry Golf Club

announcement - ‘Support our sponsors Coca-Cola, Fred Williams, Gilmat Motors, The Kit
and Caboodle, and Forster Beach Photo and Craft who support your local station Great
Lakes FM’.

song - ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ sung by Steel Pulse

song - ‘Are You Old Enough’ sung by Dragon

time-call - 8.54

sponsorship announcement - Beach Street Fruit Market

announcement (untagged) - Kit and Caboodle Restaurant

announcement (untagged) - Forster Beach Photo and Craft

message from NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation re the wisdom of learning to swim

station identification

song - ‘Feel Like Making Love’ sung by Bad Company

                                        TAPE ENDS

N.B. All songs identified by song title and artist




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                                                                  ATTACHMENT B


TAPE OF 2GLA FM 101.5 (SUPPLIED BY COMPLAINANT)
24 DECEMBER 1997 - 8.00AM TO 8.30AM

8.00amMacquarie National News

            local weather forecast

8.07        station identification

            song - ‘Gipsies, Tramps and Thieves’ sung by Cher

8.10        announcement re ‘Forster Shopping Village Secret Sound Competition’
            followed by:
            announcement re Forster Shopping Village
            followed by:
            3 phone-ins re secret sound competition

8.13        announcement (untagged) for Nabiac Hotel

8.14        Great Lakes FM Restaurant Guide (info re various restaurants in area)

8.16        song - ‘Bitch’ sung by Meredith Brooks

8.19        station competition - $25.00 giveaway

8.20        announcement (untagged) - Tuncurry Plaza

8.21        announcement for Harvey Norman Taree, followed by:
            Harvey Norman 101 Community Update (various community
            announcements)

8.22        station I.D.

            song - ‘Leave Your Hat On’ sung by Tom Jones

            song - ‘Cotton Fields’ sung by The Beach Boys(?)

8.30        Macquarie National News

                                     TAPE ENDS




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