ICASA to decide on non-competitive community radio
After a day of complaints by stations, during which the ICASA conceded that it was only likely to complete the first round of four year licensing by the middle of 2002, the committee undertook to consider amendments to the IBA Act to allow the regulator to speed up its processes.
The committee heard that ICASA had been issuing four-year community radio licences since 1998 but to date had only completed licensing in 6 provinces. Due to delays caused by the merger of SATRA and the IBA, the committee heard that no four-year community radio licences had been issued since February 2000. The committee was further told that the first four-year licences will begin to expire in 2002 and will then need to be renewed, further increasing the workload of ICASA.
NAB executive committee member Humphrey Birkenstock, who together with Ebrahim Ismail, Randall Abrahams and Lara Kantor made the NAB submission, noted that the delays have had a profound effect on community radio.
“The delays have contributed to the damaging perception that the community radio sector is chaotic and unviable. This perception is exacerbated by the lack of information from the Authority on how and when the four-year licensing process will be concluded.”