The Governing Body of the National Communications Authority (NCA) has granted 133 radio stations approval to return to the airwaves.
According to the NCA stations include those whose licences were revoked after an audit in 2017 which affected Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.
Part of a statement from NCA reads, 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,” a statement from the NCA said.
The approval, according to the statement, is “subject to the applicants attending a sensitisation workshop on the terms and conditions of FM radio broadcasting authorisations.”
It would be recalled that, the National Communications Authority (NCA) in 2017 shut down radio stations operating without valid authorisations as determined by the 2017 FM Broadcasting Audit as enforcement action in view of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.
Following the FM Spectrum Audit in 2017, some stations were found to be in default and were fined by the Authority. However, some of the 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.
To this end, and in line with Regulations 65 (1) of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, L. I. 1991, which states that “A person shall not use a radio frequency without authorisation from the Authority” the National Communications Authority (NCA) enforced the shutdown of FM radio stations who are operating without authorisation.
“It should be noted that, as ruled by the ECT, submission of renewal application after expiry of authorisation is not a valid application and therefore shall not be considered by the Authority.
“While companies affected by this shut down may submit fresh applications to the Authority if they so wish, these applications shall go through the required procedure for new FM Broadcasting Authorisation and the outcome will be communicated to the applicants”, the NCA noted in a statement.