Public Service Broadcasting Radio to be Established


Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has informed that Cabinet has approved the re-assignment of the KOOL FM radio station to the Ministry, in order to establish a Public Service Broadcasting Radio.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing, held at Jamaica House, yesterday (June 4), Miss Grange said the move was in keeping with “the general policy direction, on which there is broad consensus, to discontinue the participation of government in commercial broadcasting and enhance the development of public broadcasting.”
The Minister noted too, that the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) was currently retaining an FM frequency for lease to a successful applicant for a radio broadcast licence or a programme provider, who intended to offer dedicated news programming.
“There are two FM frequencies involved, one that KOOL FM was operating on and one that was held in reserve for PBCJ to use. Instead of starting from scratch with the one that was being held, we will make KOOL FM the broadcasting entity, which allows us to use the one that we were holding to make that available for radio, except that we are keeping it within a prescribed way of operating,” she explained.
She said, although the intention was not to alter the radio station’s format, PBCJ would have to determine the final format. “I know that KOOL FM has a very dedicated listening audience because of its format, in terms of the kind of music it played, and so on,” Miss Grange added.
“We will not have commercials on the radio station and naturally, we will have to review the existing format to make it more consistent with public broadcasting,” she explained further, noting that KOOL FM employees need not be “nervous about anything.”
In terms of the FM frequency to be leased, the Minister pointed out that, a number of persons had previously applied for radio licences and that there were more applicants than FM frequencies. “We’ll use this opportunity to look at it in a holistic way and to see how we can clear the backlog of applications, get the Broadcasting Commission to review all the applications that have come in and to make available whatever FM frequencies we have to the successful applicants after the necessary due diligence is done,” Miss Grange said.
KOOL FM is currently operated by Aeronautical Telecommunications Limited (AEROTEL) a subsidiary of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), which falls under the Ministry of Transport and Works.

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