NCA approves licences for Radio Gold, Radio XYZ, 130 others
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has warned Radio Gold, Radio XYZ, and 131 others given the green light to operate radio stations that it would not hesitate to sanction them should they fail to comply with regulations.
Following a meeting held on Monday, October 11, the governing board of the NCA approved the licences of 133 radio stations in total.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, October 12, the NCA explained that the beneficiaries include “new applications from entities whose FM radio stations were closed down after the 2017 FM Audit as well as existing stations which applied for renewal of their expired FM Radio broadcasting authorisations.”
NCA stated that the approval of the licences was “subject to the applicants attending a sensitisation workshop on the terms and conditions of FM radio broadcasting authorisations.”
The workshop would be used to clarify the legal, regulatory, and technical requirements for the establishment and operation of an FM radio broadcasting station.
The NCA noted that it would grant provisional authorisations to the successful applicants at the end of the workshop, and frequencies would be assigned to the applicants only upon the fulfilment of the conditions of the provisional authorisation.
The NCA reminded the stations and the public that per Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775, a person shall not operate a broadcasting system or provide a broadcasting service without a frequency authorisation.
“Offenders are liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 3,000 penalty units (GH₵36,000) or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or to both, as per Section 73 of Act 775 of 2008,” NCA said.
It would be recalled that the NCA, in May 2019, shut down several radio stations, including Radio Gold and XYZ.
The NCA carried out a similar exercise in September 2017 to sanitise the broadcasting sector and shut down 34 radio and television stations for various infractions.
The NCA explained that the exercise was carried out after it observed that the two radio stations and many others had refused to pay their operating licence fees and had flouted other obligations in line with their licences.
“Following the FM Spectrum Audit in 2017, some stations were found to be in default and were fined by the Authority. However, some stations in default were not satisfied and proceeded to the various courts, Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) and the High Court to appeal against the NCA’s decision.
This resulted in a decision by the ECT in 2018, which reviewed the status of expired FM Radio Broadcasting Authorisations and which ruled among others that companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant. While some stations shut down following this decision, others did not,” NCA explained.