Regional Queensland radio station FAB FM holds a licence to provide an ‘open narrowcasting service’. Under law, open narrowcasting services must be limited in some way, such as targeting special interest groups, or by providing programmes of limited appeal.
An ACMA investigation found FAB FM was broadcasting some content to a special interest group, being tourists visiting the Port Douglas region, however the proportion of material targeted at this group was low. The majority of content was targeted at a wide audience, being residents of the Douglas Shire.
The radio station directors are Paul and Marion Makin. Paul is a former host of Today Tonight in Adelaide who also has a long radio career ranging from 2UE and 2GB to Fiveaa.
Paul and Marion Makin purchased the licences and started broadcasting throughout the Douglas Shire on Anzac Day 2018 from their studio in Adelaide SA. In November 2018 they relocated to Port Douglas to live and started broadcasting from their new studio situated at the historic Bally Hooley Railway Station at the Marina.
Of the FAB FM broadcasts reviewed by the ACMA, less than 10 per cent of automated programming provided tourist information. Of its four live-hosted programs, no more than 17 per cent of time was devoted to tourism information.
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said radio broadcasters must ensure they operate within the terms of their licences or licensing arrangements.
“After a thorough investigation, we found that FAB FM is not providing open narrowcasting in accordance with its licence,” O’Loughlin said.
“Licensees must comply with their licence conditions at all times. There are serious consequences for not doing so, including criminal proceedings and suspension or cancellation of the licence.”
The ACMA has accepted a court enforceable undertaking made by FAB FM to take actions to comply with its licence conditions and be monitored by the ACMA for the next two years.