Jewish radio station gets stamp of approval from the ECAJ

July 26, 2011 by  
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ECAJ President Dr Danny Lamm has written to Jewish Broadcasting for the Community (JBC) noting the intentions of the new Jewish media organisation and stating that JBC has “the full support of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry”.

Dr Paul Gardner

JBC was founded, according to interim chair Dr Paul Gardner, “in order to serve the broadest possible range of interests of the Jewish community. Our long-term vision is to evolve into a national organisation that encompasses radio, TV and other communications media.  Jewish radio in Melbourne is a pressing initial focus of our activities.”

JBC would not itself be applying for a new radio licence in Melbourne.  “We see our role,” he explained, “as encouraging a suitably structured and resourced group to submit a licence application. We would endorse a group only if it agreed to be bound by our principles.”

In addition to requiring a commitment to encouraging broadcasting of programs that reflect the rich diversity of religious, political and ethnic interests of the community, JBC’s principles include a clear commitment to professional standards of management.  “We insist on separation of powers and defined lines of authority,” Dr Gardner said.  “The JBC Board will determine broad policies. Any new radio station we endorse will be run by a separate management committee and presenters will determine program content within the station’s established parameters.”

During the past two months, JBC has been assembling an Advisory Group in order to provide a broad range of expert support.  A national Jewish media organisation needs to be able to call upon people with technical, legal, commercial and financial know-how, as well as religious guidance from across the community, Dr Gardner explained.  He noted that in a broad community organisation, sharp differences of opinion and even serious conflicts can arise. “That’s already happened in the case of MJR and Lion-FM.  We plan to form a Conflict Resolution committee, with people experienced in dealing with commercial and legal disputes, so that difficulties might be resolved within the community, without the need for complainants to go direct to government authorities.”

JBC is currently working on the aftermath of the MJR/Lion-FM episode.  In an attempt to find a way forward so that a new radio licence might be obtained in Melbourne, a joint meeting of representatives of JBC and MJR (Melbourne Jewish Radio were the operators of Lion FM) was held on Monday afternoon.  “The meeting was amicable and constructive,” Dr Gardner commented.  “It was a positive meeting in that MJR people clearly understood what our principles are, and what we are offering.  We in JBC also understand what MJR wants.  Several points of agreement emerged during the meeting, but we haven’t reached a consensus yet.  Discussions are continuing.”


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