What you need to know

You must get an Approved Radio Engineer (ARE) to apply for a licence on your behalf.

Commercial FM sound broadcasting licences are allocated by competitive allocation, like an auction, or by direct sale. When someone applies for an FM broadcasting frequency, we put out a public call for expressions of interest (EOI). That way, anyone else who’s interested in getting an FM frequency in the same area has a fair chance to bid for it.

  • If more than one party submits an expression of interest, the frequency is auctioned to the highest bidder.
  • If you’re the only party interested, the frequency will be sold to you at market value. This is called a direct sale and we invoice you.
  • If your licence serves only a small population the licence can be awarded by direct sale.

Having a licence doesn’t automatically give you the right to broadcast from a certain site. You'll need to talk to the site owner or landlord to get approval to broadcast from your preferred location.

Fees

$150.00 per year

Additional costs:

  • A one-off spectrum resource charge, based on the population covered in your broadcasting coverage area or the highest bid from the auction.
  • An engineering fee, agreed between you and your ARE.
  • Levies to the Broadcasting Standards Authority(external link) (BSA) under the Broadcasting Act 1989.
  • Performing rights and artist copyright or royalty fees to APRA AMCOS(external link).

With this licence you must:

Follow the technical parameters of the licence, which include operating:

  • on a specific frequency
  • up to a set power limit
  • from a defined transmitting location.

Pay an annual fee to keep your licence current. All commercial sound broadcasting licences are valid until April 2031.

Set up your broadcasting service within 2 years of getting your licence. You’ll need to be on air within 21 months, or you’ll lose your frequency.

Not operate in a way that causes interference to other radio services.

You can:

  • use your frequency once the licence is transferred into your name
  • trade or sell your frequency after you've been on air for 3 months.

Process

  1. Submit an expression of interest for an available frequency through your ARE.

    See Expressions of interest, including Managed Spectrum Park for more information.

  2. If you're successful in your bid, pay the one-off resource fee.

  3. Once your licence is certified you’ll get an email:

    • Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your licence.
    • Make payment if requested.
  4. You’ll receive a further email, confirming that your licence has been granted.

    This will contain the conditions of your licence, and the date you can start broadcasting.

  5. Set up your equipment in line with your licence conditions.

  6. Start broadcasting within 21 months from the date your licence is registered.