Australia’s media regulator found Lithgow radio station 2LT breached its broadcasting licence by not airing any local news bulletins between mid-January and mid-February this year.
Investigating a complaint received from a listener, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found the station did not meet its licence’s minimum services standard of broadcasting at least 35 local news bulletins per week.
Local news bulletins are a vital source of information for Lithgow residentsNerida O’Loughlin
“Local news bulletins are a vital source of information for Lithgow residents,” said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
“They must be a priority for regional radio licensees.”
A spokesperson for Midwest Radio Network, the radio station’s licensee, said 2LT had come across staffing issues, that have since been resolved.
“The news was meant to restart after the Christmas break, which is usual for radio stations at that time of year,” he said.
“But we had staffing issues and then we engaged someone to do it, but there was an issue there in terms of illness, so it didn’t proceed.”
As it was Midwest Radio Network’s first breach, and the local news bulletins resumed in March, ACMA is not pursuing any action against the network.
“The ACMA is confident that the actions the Network has taken will ensure it delivers the right amount of local news bulletins in the future,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
“Midwest Radio Network has confirmed that it has implemented measures to avoid future non-compliance including improved managerial oversight.”
The spokesperson for Midwest Radio Network said ACMA had made the right decision.
“It was unfortunate that it occurred, but I believe ACMA took the appropriate steps and made the right decision.
“There is no necessity for further action on their part.”
He said 2LT employs 6-10 people on a full-time and casual basis. Midwest Radio Network also operates Lithgow radio station Move FM.
An ACMA spokesperson said bulletins are considered to be ‘local’ if they relate to a licensee’s licence area.