The broadcasting regulator has ordered radio station Cayrock to cease airing its trademark rock music by the end of Monday night.
David Archbold, managing director of the broadcasting regulatory body, the Information and Communications Technology Authority, said Monday that the station’s licence expired at midnight and would not be renewed until its owner, dms Broadcasting Ltd., relocated its broadcast tower out of George Town.
‘There’s been a problem with blanket interference,’ said Mr. Archbold. ‘We have been progressively getting stations to move outside the main George Town area.’
Stations moved their broadcasting operations temporarily to George Town after Hurricane Ivan destroyed their permanent facilities in September 2004, but most have now moved to the Newland/Northward area.
Cayrock operates on 96.5FM frequency. The company’s other stations, Hot FM, Kiss and X107.1 are not affected by the regulatory body’s order.
‘Last year, the move-out policy was formally confirmed by the board,’ Mr. Archbold said. ‘The remaining stations were told that they would have to move out prior to obtaining their licence renewal. Licences last five years and most of the stations’ five-year licences are expiring around now.’
He added that the board decided all stations should move out of George Town ‘in the interests of the listening public and in fairness to other stations.’
‘The ideal situation would be if we could afford to erect a 500-foot tower in the middle of the island and everyone could broadcast from there at the same strength and there would be no blanket interference because the signals would be equal all the way around the island. Unfortunately, we cannot afford that and neither can the broadcasters,’ he said.
When Heaven 97 and Gospel stations moved out to other parts of Grand Cayman following the board’s decision last year, Cayrock was the only one left broadcasting from George Town.
‘In July last year, we wrote to all three stations saying we are 99.9 per cent sure this is going to happen. We told them they would have to move out, the only question was the timing,’ Mr. Archbold said.
He said the regulatory body informed the stations in October that they would need to move before their licences were renewed.
Cayrock was given a three-month extension on its licence, he said, but had not moved its broadcasting operations by the time the new ICTA board met last Thursday.
‘The Authority believes it has been fair and given ample time and warning,’ Mr. Archbold said. ‘They have not yet moved They have been ordered to cease broadcasting.’
The company applied for a further extension but this was turned down by the board, he added.
Mr. Archbold said that if the station continued broadcasting, it would be operating without a licence and would be committing an offence.
Asked if Cayrock would continue to be on the air, Bryan Hollenbaugh, dms marketing manager, said: ‘I don’t think you’ll see it not on the air,’ but would not comment further.
The company’s legal representative Stuart Diamond from Diamond Law Associates, in an email to the Caymanian Compass, said: ‘The Board of the Authority made a decision on 1 October, 2009, and that decision was communicated to us on 2 October, 2009, although we have not yet received the formal original notification.’
He added: ‘We have already been in contact with the ICT Authority today. There is a legal process to be followed under the governing principles of the ICTA Law. Cayrock 96.5FM is doing its part in the process and it is expected that the ICTA will do its part. We are confident that process will bring a satisfactory result for all concerned.’