National Communications Network (NCN) 98.1 Hot FM and Hits and Jams Radio 94.1 Boom FM are among those to be taken off air “very soon.”
Yesterday, Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Leslie Sobers indicated he will not be backpedaling on the sub-committee’s decision to take serious measures against those owing millions of dollars in backed-up fees.
However, he decided against publishing the list of all non-compliant broadcasters who as a result of their errant ways will no longer be allowed to operate. Instead, Sobers provided a list of all compliant radio stations.
He said that some broadcasters made efforts on Friday, and yesterday, to either pay off their fees, while others entered into a payment scheme with the Authority. On the other hand, some broadcasters totally ignored the warning featured in this newspaper just a few days ago.
Sobers said that GNBA was grateful that some broadcasters paid off, as it is not the desire of the authority to take stations off air. However, he said, “we have been patient and now it is time for us to take necessary measures.”
Sobers said that only the following are being deemed legal broadcasters :Blackman and Sons, Brutal Group Inc, CNS Sharma, Two Brothers Corporation, Multi Cultural Communication, Kaieteur Radio, I-Radio, Pinnacle Radio, Freedom Radio, Radio Guyana Inc, Little Rock Radio and NTN Radio.
The GNBA Chairman said that radio stations that continue to operate while owing are doing so illegally and “in the very near future we will make moves to take them off air. “
Sobers was keen to note, “When I say in the very near future I mean in coming days, not weeks.”
Notably absent from the list provided by Sobers were two of the more popular radio stations—98.1, owned by the state and 94.1 owned by Hits and Jams.
Kaieteur News understands that those who are yet to pay their fees owe millions of dollars.
Last week, Sobers told Kaieteur News that at the beginning of the year, he met with all broadcasters—television and radio. During his meeting with radio broadcasters, Sobers informed them of the Board’s decision to facilitate a payment scheme that they should take advantage of to fulfill their financial obligations.
The Board decided to have all broadcasters, individually, pay half of their debt within the first quarter of the year, giving them the rest of the year to pay the balance in monthly installments.
But the first quarter elapsed without all broadcasters coming in financial compliance.
Sobers indicated that one broadcaster, whom he did not name, cried out that he cannot make the payment.
The broadcaster reportedly indicated that he will be filing for bankruptcy. Sobers said, “That will not stop us; we will still be going after him. We cannot allow him to come and operate here, make money, claim he folded, and go away with all the money he owes us. “
The Board, according to Sobers, had made a decision that something had to be done, and gave the subcommittee, with responsibility for licence fee and legal issues, a mandate to take the necessary appropriate action.
The committee had a meeting last week to decide what form of “appropriate action” must be taken. They decided to take errant broadcasters off air.
When stations are taken off air, further measures can include the seizing of equipment.
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