The Governing Board of the National Communications Authority (NCA), at a Board meeting held on 11th October 2021, approved the grant of a total of One Hundred and Thirty-Three (133) FM radio broadcasting authorizations which 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 authorizations.
This approval from the Board is subject to the applicants attending a sensitization workshop on the terms and conditions of FM radio broadcasting authorizations. The workshop shall clarify the legal, regulatory, and technical requirements for the establishment and operation of an FM Radio Broadcasting station.
Provisional authorizations shall be issued to the successful applicants at the end of the workshop and frequencies shall be assigned to the applicants only upon the fulfillment of the conditions of the Provisional Authorisation.
The general public is reminded 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 authorization by the Authority. Offenders are liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than three thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or to both, as per Section 73 of Act 775 of 2008.
A number of radio stations including Radio Gold and XYZ were shut down by the National Communications Authority in May 2019.
Radio Gold, for example, was at the time accused of operating with a license that expired in the year 2000.
The NCA referenced a 2018 ruling by the Electronic Communications Tribunal on the status of FM stations with expired authorization saying companies whose authorizations had expired reverted to the same position as fresh applicants.
It added that the applications were to go through the required procedure for new FM Broadcasting Authorisation.
The shut-down of stations extended beyond just Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.
The NCA in the 2017 audit fined Radio XYZ GHS4,090,000 for operating with a license that expired on 8th May 2016.
In the report, Radio Gold was also fined GH¢ 61,330,000 for operating with a license that expired on 6th September 2000.