Joe Anokye, Director General, National Communications Authority
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has approved the granting of a total of 133 FM radio broadcasting authorizations to certain entities.
This includes new applications from entities whose FM radio stations were closed after the 2017 FM audit as well as existing stations that have applied for the renewal of their expired FM radio broadcast authorizations.
Online chart understands that Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, which were closed after the 2017 FM audit, are among the entities whose new applications have been approved.
Fifty-seven of the 144 frequency modulation (FM) stations that were cited for various infractions in a 2017 audit exercise by the NCA were closed in 2019.
In accordance with the decisions of the Electronic Communication Tribunal (ECT), 30 of the 57 stations filed new applications for FM authorization.
In the case of Radio Gold for example, tThe license was revoked for non-payment of operating license fees over an extended period.
The Electronic Communications Tribunal therefore ruled that by this act, the license had expired.
However, it is not automatic that they return to their old frequencies after the granting of the new authorization.
Indeed, the NCA allocates frequencies based on availability.
In addition, approval is subject to the participation of candidates in an awareness workshop on the terms and conditions of FM radio broadcasting authorizations.
Awareness workshop Online chart includes will take place on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. It is a one-day event.
The approval was made by the new ANC board chaired by Isaac Emmil Osei-Bonsu at its meeting on Monday, October 11, 2021.
A press release dated October 12, 2021 issued by the NCA explained that tEntities file a new application on the basis of which the ANC grants them the license.
“This approval of the Council is subject to the participation of the candidates in an awareness workshop on the terms and conditions of the authorizations to broadcast FM radio.”
“The workshop will clarify the legal, regulatory and technical requirements for the establishment and operation of an FM broadcasting station,” the statement added.
It specifies that provisional authorizations will be issued to the candidates selected at the end of the workshop and that the frequencies will be allocated to the candidates only after having fulfilled the conditions of the provisional authorization.
He reminded the public that under 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 license from Authority frequency. Offenders are liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than three thousand sentence units or to imprisonment for not more than five years or both, in accordance with section 73 of Law 775 of 2008.
The NCA explained in 2019 that it had shut down Radio Gold, Radio XYZ and some other radio stations because they failed to comply with the Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) ruling.
Following the FM spectrum audit in 2017, some stations were found to be in default and were fined by the NCA.
However, some of the failing stations were not satisfied and have taken the matter to the various courts; Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) and the High Court are appealing the NCA’s decision.
This culminated in a 2018 ECT decision that reviewed the status of expired FM radio broadcast licenses and ruled, among other things, that companies with expired licenses were back in the same position as a new applicant.
While some stations have closed their doors following this decision, others have not.
To this end, and in accordance with Regulation 65 (1) of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, LI 1991, which states that “a person shall not use a radio frequency without the authorization of the Authority”, the NCA imposed the shutdown of FM radio stations that were operating without permission.
Why the delay?
In accordance with the TCE rule, submitting a renewal request after the expiration of the authorization is not a valid request and therefore should not be taken into account by the NCA.
While businesses affected by the shutdown could have submitted new applications to the NCA if they wished, applications will have to go through the process required for a new FM broadcast authorization and the result will be communicated to applicants.
Entities are only allowed to use frequencies for a specific period or period.
Frequencies are national property and not the property of users because they are not allocated to users in perpetuity.
All license and authorization holders must ensure compliance with the various conditions of their licenses and authorizations, as well as the relevant regulations.
Click here to read the ANC press release