Out FM Incorporated will be formally wound up following an Australian Broadcasting Authority decision not to award a further community licence on the AM band.

The group, which formed initially to obtain a community radio licence on the FM band, was one of eight broadcast groups pitching for an AM licence.

However, ABA chairman Professor David Flint announced yesterday that no AM licence would be awarded at this time. The frequency will not be made available for other broadcasting purposes, he said.

After giving careful consideration to the criteria laid down in the legislation and the information provided by the applicants, the ABA has decided in this case not to allocate the licence, Professor Flint said.

Out FM management committee member Sean Crellin told Sydney Star Observer that the decision was not a surprise, but questioned why the ABA needed two years to come to the conclusion. The ABA invited expressions of interest in the AM community licence in May 2001, when they awarded three FM community licences in the Sydney area.

In their decision, the ABA found that Out FM did not provide income or expenditure details, or evidence of a financial plan or contingency plans in their submission to operate the service.

Crellin said that none of the eight groups pitching for the AM licence could provide meaningful financial information  as none of them had experience operating on that band, which is more costly to operate than FM.
The AM option was always a poor relation to the FM broadcast plan, Crellin said.

One of the current FM community licences -“ awarded to youth station FBi in May 2001 -“ could lapse in May if they did not commence broadcasting, Crellin said, but Out FM would not be in a position to bid for the licence should it become available. He confirmed that Out FM, which has existed without formal membership for over 12 months, would be wound up shortly.

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