Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam Nartey George, has indicated that some of the 133 radio stations that were shut down by the National Communications Authority (NCA) in 2017 cannot return to business despite their re-authorisation.
He revealed that the transmitters of some of these stations have been damaged beyond repairs because they were not being used.
The cost of maintenance, he said, was high, a situation that made it impossible for them to continue repairing when no profits were being made.
The ranking member on the select committee on communications further revealed that thieves have stolen properties belonging to these stations.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM Saturday, October 16, with host Dzifah Bampoh, he said “133 stations, I know some of the stations that are literally dead.
“Equipment, for four years, had not been used, theft has happened to some of their transmitters so there may be some of these stations that genuinely, as a result of the actions that were taken in 2017, can just not come back on air.
“Their transmitters have developed problems because when you are operating, you constantly service it, many people have not even visited their transmitter-based stations in two years and three years so, they don’t know the state.
“Strangely, two weeks ago, one of the owners of the radio stations called me and said Sam, I am looking to sell my transmitters and I said please don’t, because, maximum, in a month I am confident you will back with your frequency.
“But he said he can’t because they have been trying to manage it and even the cost of keeping security at the site was high.”
The Governing Board of the NCA has approved the grant of a total of One Hundred and thirty-three (133) FM radio broadcasting authorisations 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 authorisations.
The approval was done at a Board meeting held on 11th October 2021.
A statement issued by the NCA on Tuesday, October 12 said this approval from the Board is subject to the applicants attending a sensitisation workshop on the terms and conditions of FM radio broadcasting authorisations.
“The workshop shall clarify the legal, regulatory, and technical requirements for the establishment and operation of an FM Radio Broadcasting station.
“Provisional authorisations shall be issued to the successful applicants at the end of the workshop and frequencies shall be assigned to the applicants only upon the fulfilment 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 authorisation 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.”
The NCA shut down Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, and several others.
A statement issued by the NCA in Accra on May 9, 2019, said the closures were carried out 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.”
Referring to a 2018 ruling by the Electronic Communications Tribunal on the status of FM stations with expired authorisation, the NCA said “Companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant,” adding that “these applications shall go through the required procedure for new FM Broadcasting Authorisation.”
The regulator did not mention the two stations, implying that it was a general exercise. However, only Radio XYZ and Radio Gold have been closed so far. Officials of the NCA, backed by armed police officers, stormed the premises of the radio stations to enforce the shutdown in the afternoon of May 9.
This is the second time in less than two years that the regulator has flexed its muscles against “defaulting stations.” In September 2017, the NCA carried out a massive purge of the broadcasting industry that saw a total of 34 radio and television stations being shut down for various infractions, in enforcement of Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.
The regulator also imposed fines on a number of stations ranging from GHC50,000 (US$11,000) to GHC61,000,000 (US$13.8 million) depending on the infraction and the duration the infraction persisted.