Station put on notice for not fulfilling its commitments

EAVA FM in Leicester has been found in breach of its Key Commitments for not serving its intended audience during the month of Ramadan.

The East African Voice Association station is licensed to provide a service to Leicester’s inner-city new migrant and refugee communities, particularly those from East Africa and related areas, but during Ofcom monitoring in May 2019, it was found to be providing programmes aimed specifically at the Islamic community.

During the three days of listening by Ofcom, triggered by a complaint about its output, EAVA FM was also found to broadcast no local news as required by the character of service.

All of the programming broadcast during the days monitored, including music, local information and cultural, faith and educational programming, appeared to be aimed specifically at one religion.

Ofcom said: “We recognise the prominence and existence of Islamic music from East Africa, and from within other genres which might be relevant to the Licensee’s target community. However, the Licensee’s target community is wide-ranging and it is Ofcom’s view that the broadcast of solely Islamic religious music during this period did not fulfil the Licensee’s music output requirement.”

The licensee explained that it fulfilled its music requirement over the course of the year, but Ofcom points out the requirement is one which the licensee is required to meet “over the course of each week”.

The station was previously found in breach of licence conditions in 2015 for failing to broadcast local news and music aimed at serving its entire target community during the period of Ramadan. As a result, Ofcom has put the Licensee on notice that it is minded to consider this breach for the imposition of a statutory sanction.