Applying for an LPON Radio Licence in Australia

Note: This information does not apply to New Zealand.

To Re-broadcast 3ABN Radio Network as an Affiliate Station

  1. You need a desire to spread the Gospel truth to the target community. If you face challenges you will need this commitment to get you soldiering through the difficulties. Satan does not want to make the job easy for you and God wants you to be really committed to His cause and to the spreading of the Gospel.
  2. Pray constantly for God’s guidance, open doors and intervention when facing challenges.
  3. If after reading this guide you think it is too hard to do yourself and would like to have help and guidance from someone else there are a few people listed on this web site who can help you.  They have all successfully purchased licenses and have stations on air.
  4. Licences can be purchased in the names of individuals, groups or churches. See if anyone in your local church or your own family wants to be part of it. If not, go it alone. Many others have. There are some who strongly advocate having the license issued in the name of the local church conference but that is not at all necessary.
  5. Do not say very much to people outside your radio group that you are going to apply for a radio licence and are interested in setting up a 3ABN Radio station. If other LPON (Low Power Open Narrowcasting) broadcasters find out you are planning to start a radio service in your area they may try to get any available licences before you do. It is a highly competitive market place for many other broadcasters and some do not want 3ABN as competition. Everyone should stay low key until you have the licence – if one is available in your target area.
  6. Log on to the ACMA website for information on any LPON radio licences in the district. Here you can check your area by postcode to see what stations are already transmitting. Click on the radio ID to find out the frequencies. For detailed information on LPON licences please see the LPON page on the ACMA website. You should also download or request a copy of the Applicant Information Package. It is very long but important to read it.
  7. Drive in your car around the area for a couple of weeks and listen on the car radio to the frequencies 88.0, 87.6 and 87.8 MHz as mentioned in section 5. If any of these frequencies are open—no one broadcasting on them—then these/this frequency should be available in the area. You must check for a couple of weeks in case, for some reason, there was no transmission at the time you first listened. Have others from your church/family do the same.  You must make sure there is a free frequency before you go further. You can pay a fee to ACMA and have them check to see if there is an unused frequency available in your target area.  That is the quick, easy way but it costs.  You also must have your site with its coordinates already picked out so they can do the search; see sections 9 & 10 below.
  8. There are only 3 FM bands available for LPON. First in the area is allocated 88.0MHz. second is allocated 87.6MHz. Third is given 87.8MHz.
  9. If possible choose an allocated site that is permanent i.e. Church, school, community hall, golf course, shopping centre, etc. You would need to seek prior written approval for many of these sites from the local owner/management/group. Private homes are OK, but may be temporary due to people selling up and moving away—the licence is allocated to a site and is transferable only if there is another acceptable site close by, within your territory—a transfer fee applies. Another alternative is to share facilities with Telstra or Australian Broadcasting Authority (02) 8113 4666. But it can be expensive to lease space at some sites so check first.  It is best to find an elevated site so your signal can go as far as possible. Sites in gullies and narrow valleys are not what you are looking for. A council water tower is NOT a good site due to council health and safety issues. Check first with your local council health surveyor for their rulings and for a letter of clarification.
  10. Your site must be no closer than 10 kms from another licence site of the SAME frequency OR from 88.0 and 87.6 if you are applying for 87.8fm. Acquire a GPS reading of your chosen site i.e. northings (latitude) and eastings (longitude). The GPS co-ordinates must be provided in AGD 66 (or Aus Geo 66) and degrees decimal. That information is mainly needed if both 88.0 and 87.6 are already in use in your target area. It is best to choose more than one site in case your first choice is not acceptable.
  11. Registration documents from Australian Communications and Media Authority can be downloaded from the web address above or write to ACMA, PO Box 78, Belconnen, ACT, 2616.  Ph 1300 850 115, (02) 6219 5262, fax (02) 6219 5231. Ask for the closing date of the next application round.
  12. Get a map, to scale, of your area from your local shire. It is very helpful to cut out a half circle shape of 5km radius (according to the scale on your map) to help you see where potential sites will reach and if they overlap with other station sites in your target area.
  13. Fill out your form carefully as it is a legal document. Signatures need to be witnessed. Keep a copy for your records but send the original, before the closing of allocation of LPON licences, accompanied by your entry fee, currently $394.00 (correct as at October 2015). Please check this on the ACMA website as it can change.
  14. They will notify you if you are successful and you will be required to pay a further price for the site and an annual transmitter licence tax. Check these fees as well.
  15. If successful in acquiring a licence you have six months to purchase equipment, have it installed and be on air. So you MUST have your site properly organised BEFORE applying for a licence.

Remember, you may not be able to acquire a licence in your first choice of area but there may be another area a bit further away that still has potential and a frequency available. Do not overlook the possibility that this other area may be where God wants you to spread the Gospel via 3ABN Radio Network, not your first choice. Check on the current costs yourself as they can change.

Also, you may be able to find a station that you can lease or purchase a license if you can find an owner who is willing to sell. It can happen!

Equipment Suppliers

SRK Electronics

34 Queens Ave, Hawthorn, VICTORIA, 3122
Ph (03) 9819 4819
Email: [email protected]

SRK Electronics supply very good AM and FM transmitters. Their FM transmitters are suitable for LPON licences.

Fordray Electronics

34 William Street, Orange, NSW, 2800
Ph (02) 6362 9901, Fax (02) 6362 8675.
E-mail: [email protected]

Warwick Ford is very helpful and reasonably priced. (Ask about a 2 watt transmitter which is adjusted to 1.2 watt to allow for a drop of power down the cable).

Ramsey Electronics (USA)

Fax +1-585-924-4886.  Some New Zealand affiliates have used equipment from Ramseys.

All up costs for fees, licence, equipment, etc., is normally around $3,000 to $5,000 within Australia, the lesser amount being the norm.

Important Notes

Remember to keep 3ABN Australia informed of your progress and let us know if you are successful in acquiring a licence. We will then help you with the 3ABN Radio Affiliate Agreement. It does not cost anything but is a legal requirement for those re-broadcasting 3ABN Radio’s signal as it gives their legal permission and outlines your obligations. It does not limit you to re-broadcasting 3ABN only but gives you legal permission to re-broadcast the amount you choose.

Also, please note, 3ABN Radio affiliates do not have legal status to use 3ABN’s name in their station ID name/website/e-mail address. An affiliate is an organisation/business which has become officially attached or connected to another organisation but does not take the name of that organisation. All 3ABN names and logos are copyrighted. Once you have completed the necessary forms and become a 3ABN Radio affiliate, you are entitled to say you are an affiliate of 3ABN Radio and that you are re-broadcasting their signal.