Oct 25, 2011

Trapped in the overlap: Southern Cross Austereo takes on ACMA

A media company is taking ACMA to court to stop the forced sale of radio stations. But gaming the media ownership laws is no longer as easy as it once was.

Newly-merged radio network Southern Cross Austereo, which held its AGM today, is trying to avoid selling radio licences it undertook to dispose of earlier this year and has commenced Federal Court action to prevent the media regulator ACMA from enforcing the requirements of the Broadcasting Services Act.

Last week the company, chaired by Max Moore-Wilton and headed by industry veteran Rhys Holleran, advised the ASX that it had commenced legal action against ACMA to compel the regulator to reconsider the company’s application for a reduction in the overlap between the Nambour and Brisbane radio licence areas. Because of the boundary overlap they are treated as a single licence area for the purposes of the BSA, so SCA must sell two of its FM licences in the Brisbane-Nambour area (it currently owns four) in breach of the Act. It acquired the Brisbane licences when Southern Cross acquired Austereo in a merger advised by Southern Cross’s part owner Macquarie Group earlier this year.

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3 thoughts on “Trapped in the overlap: Southern Cross Austereo takes on ACMA

  1. Meski

    Reduce the transmission power? You’ll annoy your listeners, but then, you knew that the overlap existed.

  2. Ceratodus

    The ABA originally omitted the Caboolture area from the service area overlap between the Nambour and Brisbane radio stations, but Sunshine Coast Broadcasters (SCB) appealed the decision in the Federal Court under the AD(JR) Act and won. I suspect SCB and its later owners have lamented the decision to appeal ever since. See Sunshine Coast Broadcasters v Duncan (1988).

  3. Meski


    Ok, imagine the can of worms that would be opened if you decided to broadcast via satellite (with it’s huge coverage footprints) – that might limit you to owning only one station/network…

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