SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australia’s only Jewish radio station has been forced to close.
Melbourne-based Lion FM, barely a year old, ceased broadcasting at midnight Monday following a decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority not to renew its radio license.
“It is devastating news for our community for whom the benefits of the license were enormous," said John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. "It provided not only a means of communication within our community, but also a wonderful window through which information could flow to the wider community.”
Lion FM has been beset by problems since it was founded last year. Its inaugural president, Michael Lipshutz, resigned just weeks into the job amid accusations of censorship, and his successor, John Kraus, stepped down in March. The position was still vacant when the station closed this week.
In addition, two radio hosts were yanked off air mid-session, and there have been accusations of poor governance, lack of transparency and exclusionary practices because some board members insisted at the station’s inception that Lion FM would be broadcast according to Jewish law.
Jewish radio programs are broadcast on other networks.