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JCCV Tigerish after the fall of Lion

June 14, 2011 – 11:42 am29 Comments

Tommy Hafey, former Richmond (Tigers) Football Club coach, immortalised the words, “There’s nothing more tigerish than a wounded tiger!” But what’s to be done about a dead Lion?  In the wake of the Lion FM debacle,  the JCCV has today issued the following media release. It’s sure to be of interest to many of our readers:

On Friday 10 June 2011, ACMA notified MJR Inc. that it would not be renewing the temporary community broadcasting licence for “Lion FM” with the result that “Lion FM” was required to cease broadcasting at midnight on Monday 13 June 2011.

ACMA have also announced that they do not intend to issue any further community broadcasting licences in Melbourne.

JCCV President, John Searle said “the loss of the licence is very unfortunate; indeed it is devastating news for our community for whom the benefits of the licence were enormous. 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”.

Searle went on to say that “the JCCV is aware that at least two other groups had been formed (in addition to “Lion FM”), each with a view to either applying for the community broadcasting licence or being involved in community broadcasting. It would appear that the “fight for the licence” might have been a contributing factor in the ACMA decision, as clearly, ACMA did not see a unified community”.

Searle went on to say that “the JCCV is of the firm view that any attempt to regain a community broadcasting licence will be futile unless it can be demonstrated to ACMA that there is indeed one cohesive, representative body seeking the licence on behalf of the entire Jewish community.

To this end the JCCV has decided to facilitate discussions between all interested parties with a view to forming such a representative body and then initiating an attempt to regain the community broadcasting licence.”

The first meeting to consider an initiative to regain the licence has been called by the JCCV and will be held at 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm, 16 June, 2011 at Beth Weizmann Community Centre, 306 Hawthorn Rd, South Caulfield. All interested people are encouraged to attend.

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  • In JewTribe the following comment was made on Friday:

    It has been suggested that John Searle of the JCCV may convene a public meeting to garner support as to any future ambitions for a Jewish radio station. However the JCCV has its own critics in the community who assert that the JCCV itself would not be entirely open and transparent. Leading many, once again, to believe that such a radio station would not be representative of many groups within the community and bound by too many restrictions.

    I’d be interested to hear any comments on this.


  • It’s exactly that kind of talk that will doom any hope of a Jewish community radio station. There will never be an organization that will be good enough for everyone. Would people rather have a radio station that is representative of the vast majority (and intent on being more so), or no station at all?

  • Malki Rose says:

    It’s clear that John Searle is suggesting this type of OPEN meeting to remedy exactly this concern. That anyone who considers themselves an interested party should be able to attend and put forward there thoughts so that WERE the Jewish community to go the ACMA for a COMMUNITY license in the future (or if the community had its time again) that the group seeking to apply would have its house in order, be transparent and truly representative.

  • If the criticism, as leveled by JewTribe and not by me, is “that the JCCV itself would not be entirely open and transparent” then it does not look entirely open and transparent if the JCCV are the organisation running the meeting to establish openness and transparency. You’ve just got to look at their track record on doing “open and transparent” business to see just how badly they do “open and transparent”.

    I am just asking the question about the comment on JewTribe. Someone else has raised the question, and I’m curious.


  • Malki Rose says:

    Yes and we’ve both addressed this concern.

    It doesn’t really matter whether you love or hate the JCCV. They are not owning, running or proposing to own or run a Jewish radio station.

    They are just calling the meeting. An OPEN MEETING FOR EVERYONE.

    Presumably you will be there to make sure your voice is heard and your opinions are represented.

  • Addressed, but not to my satisfaction.

    I can’t make it on such short notice, but I have asked someone who will be there to represent any concerns I may have.

  • David, are you suggesting that any radio station should only represent the majority voice of the community for which it’s license has been allocated? And if you are effectively saying that, then what I hear is that the minority sections of the community are less worthy of a voice.

    Such groups might included the disabled, Russians, South Africans, GLBT, secularists, bundists, etc. These people might not have much of a representation but they are vital to the diversity and vibrancy of the community, and are as worthy of a voice as any other group. Some fail to grasps that when it comes to community radio.


  • Eli says:

    I would tend to agree with Michael on the point of representation. It is essential that groups that are quite often marginalised of have few resources are given access to be represented in a community radio station. I am not sure what David means by vast majority. Both politically and religiously the community is quite diverse. To encompass all opinions and views would be difficult to manage. To exclude some might be considered censorship. There is no easy solution so it requires people and management of impeccable character amongst other traits that can forge a team that cannot be questioned for its integrity.

  • I’m suggesting that if people keep demanding the highest possible standard of representation (and nothing less), they will end up with nothing.

    There is a clear intent for an open process here, so people should embrace it and take the opportunity to be part of it!

  • Well that’s ironic David because when they settled for second best they ended up with nothing too.

  • Eli says:

    The Jewish Daily Forward just re-launched its website. Samuel Norich the publisher said in part “…our unique role and value as the only truly independent Jewish newspaper in the United States, unaffiliated with any branch of Judaism, unbeholden to any religious or communal authority, and free from bias or conflicts of interest…appealing to Jews and to a broader community.” is perhaps what I was trying to say ..but he said it better. Replace newspaper with radio.

  • It can be argued that the JCCV cannot be considered an impartial entity in these discussions. Of course, a viable radio station is highly valuable to the community, and of far more use than a defunct one.

    From MJR’s constitution:

    39 Winding up
    39.1 In the event
    of the winding up or the cancellation of the incorporation of the Association,
    the assets of the Association shall be transferred to the Jewish Community
    Council of Victoria Inc but always in accordance with the provisions
    of the Act.

  • Michael – it is ironic. I don’t think LION-FM originally set out to be genuinely representative of the entire Jewish community.

  • See, that’s where ACMA would see things differently to them.

  • Yaakov says:

    If I had a choice between (a) a Jewish station which had a LGBT program, or (b) one which had no such program or (C) no station I’d pick (b). Were the choice between (a) and (b) I would be influenced by the fact that there is actually a separate LGBT radio station in Melbourne, JOY FM.

    I don’t listen to Joy so I don’t know if they have a separate program for Jews, or South Afticans, or Russians, or disabled members of the LGBT community, but one thing is clear to me: after monday, those Jews who are members of the LGBT community have access to a community radio station in JOY. Those who are Bundists have access to 3CR, indeed any non-Zionist group is likely to be welcomed openly by 3CR.

    The only people without a voice are the majority.

    I can’t understand why, other than straight out davka, the Bundists, LGBT etc, who already have a voice and access to community radio outside the Jewish community, speaking to their audience, feel that they have a right to speak to an existing audience from within the platform of a Jewish community station.

    Disclosure: former solicitor to Brother Sister and BNews group of companies, former solicitor to and former board member of 3PBS-FM.

  • Jacob, it all sounds so nice, your little plan of compartmentalisation. The communists have their station in 3CR and the homosexuals have theirs in JOY. Any other minorities you’d like to single out? Perhaps you can add the disabled, because they’ve got their station in 3RPH.

    At school was taught about a time before I was born when people were forced to wear different badges on their clothes, depending on the different type of community or difference they represented. The Jews wore a yellow star, the homosexuals wore a pink triangle and the disabled wore a black triangle.

    The people in charge thought they were more entitled than these minorities to pull the strings, and so they pushed the minorities outside their community, to make them disappear, in a puff of smoke.

    What you’re doing here is saying that these minorites aren’t a part of your majority community, that they don’t deserve a voice in the community and that they aren’t welcome. That’s what you’re doing, and it’s not very nice.

  • Oh yes, I forgot. The communists were made to wear a red triange.

  • frosh says:

    Michael, that isn’t at all what Yaakov said (not sure why you called him Jacob other than perhaps to deliberately be incorrect). Furthermore, it is disgusting to equate any of the protagonists here to Nazis.

    There is plenty of room for you to disagree with Yaakov’s comment without trivialising the Shoah.

  • His name translated in my head to Jacob. It was unintentional.

    Why must it be “us and them” and not “we”? How many times a day are you persecuted on your difference Frosh? Did you feel privileged on your wedding day?


  • 17 Jun 2011
    The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

    Watchdog slays the Lion

    “There is no prospect whatsoever of having the community licence returned unless an organisation can go to ACMA and say in absolutely no uncertain terms … that we are representative of the Jewish community.”
    John Searle JCCV president

    A CRISIS meeting has been called by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) after Jewish community radio station Lion FM was axed late last week.

    [Image]During happier times … Alan Zavod was a presenter on the now-defunct Lion FM.[/Image]

    Broadcasting authorities did not renew a probationary licence for the troubled station, which was pulled off the air on Monday.

    The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued its verdict against Lion FM, citing a policy decision to tackle congested conditions on the FM band.

    ACMA chair Chris Chapman said Melbourne was “a spectrum-congested area with little likelihood of spectrum being made available for any additional long-term community broadcasting services”.

    Further quizzed by The AJN, an ACMA spokesperson would only state that extending the use of Lion FM’s 96.1 radio frequency “would not represent economic or efficient use of the spectrum”.

    But The AJN understands that internal squabbling at Lion FM, over the 12-month-old station’s obligations to the community and over the governance requirements of its licence, was a major contributor to its demise.

    JCCV president John Searle described the end of Lion FM as “a very significant loss to the community of a potential asset, the full potential of which had not yet been reached”.

    He called for “a functional, representational” station, but said the community has, at least for now, “been deprived of the opportunity of achieving that”.

    The JCCV organised a meeting of interested parties, due to be held at Beth Weizmann Centre at 6.30pm tonight (Thursday) to look at the future of Jewish broadcasting.

    Among the invitees are members of the Melbourne Jewish Radio (MJR)-Lion FM board, representatives of Jewish Broadcasting for the Community, which is interested in obtaining a licence, and another group hoping to run a Jewish radio station, as well as former Lion FM broadcasters.

    While ACMA seems to have no plans to re-issue the licence, Searle remained optimistic.

    “There is no prospect whatsoever of having the community licence returned unless an organisation can go to ACMA and say in absolutely no uncertain terms and without qualifications that we are representative of the Jewish community,” Searle said.

    The JCCV would facilitate and help a genuinely representative proposal to relaunch the station, he said.

    In a letter to ACMA, Jewish Broadcasting for the Community, interim chairman Dr Paul Gardner stated his hope that “the work that we are doing to ensure full and transparent cross-community representation and involvement will speedily move us towards a time when the ACMA will reconsider the situation”.

    MJR-Lion FM issued a short statement saying it was “disappointed by ACMA’s undiscussed decision to change technical regulations in this area, in particular, following strenuous attempts by the station to ensure that it was abiding by the ACMA broadcasting guidelines”.

    Contacted by The AJN, MJR vicepresident Menachem Khoen refused to comment on internal criticism that the board’s decision not to admit any breaches of ACMA guidelines to investigators from the media watchdog triggered the station’s downfall.

    Khoen blamed AJN coverage of Lion FM’s internal affairs for its failure to be granted a new temporary licence.

    But this week, The AJN learned the rot was even deeper than earlier suspected, with board members Ronit Fraid and Ralph Zwier – who were brought in to help Lion FM adhere to ACMA guidelines – tending their resignation at the weekend. They’re the latest in a growing number of people to have quit the station since its launch.

    Khoen said he had not yet made up his mind on whether he would attend tonight’s summit.

  • 17 Jun 2011
    The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

    Hardly a roaring success

    IN the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. So sang The Tokens in 1961, propelling them to the top of the US charts. Fifty years on, closer to home, another lion is sleeping – or rather, like so many sick animals for whom there’s no hope of a cure, it has actually been put to sleep.

    Yes, as of Monday this week, Melbourne Jewish Radio-Lion FM has been axed from the airwaves.

    The real tragedy is that it should never have been a jungle out there for the king of the beasts, It should have been a walk in the park.

    After all, with so much Jewish talent in our midst, so much demand for a Jewish broadcaster catering to communal interests and so much enthusiasm and goodwill at its inception, the station should have enjoyed a long, healthy and glorious life at the heart of Melbourne Jewry.

    In truth, many of us did appreciate its programs and will mourn the lost opportunity to tune in to a local station playing Israeli music and discussing issues and events happening right on our doorstep. But off air, away from the microphones, many of those involved had long since formed the opinion that the mighty lion was in fact a disease-ridden alley cat.

    It is somewhat disingenuous of MJR vice-president Menachem Khoen to blame The AJN for the mangy moggy’s demise. Numerous resignations from the board including those of two of its presidents, allegations of mismanagement and censorship, legal action taken against its own members, shabby treatment of the presidents of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Zionist Council of Victoria, and an investigation by the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) – none of which had anything to do with The AJN – all suggest Lion’s problems lay within its own den.

    The station’s short life was defined by bickering, bitterness and backbiting. And even though those weren’t the reasons officially handed down by ACMA for refusing to renew the licence, one could well imagine they played a part in the authority’s thinking.

    Hopefully in the not too distant future the opportunity to operate a community licence will once again be made available and it will be handed to applicants who have learna genuine desire and ability to run a station for all of the community in a positive and professional manner.

  • Doodie Ringelblum says:

    Yaakov – you speak very authoratively about 3CR but your comments are quite wrong.
    In fact Tzukunft, the young-adult branch of the Bund – had a radio program on 3CR in the 1970s, fought tooth-and-nail against the anti-semitism at the station and resigned in protest. The Bund – one of the most vehement anti-communist movements around – was not and would never be welcome at 3CR.
    I think it wonderfully ironic that you would be happy to exclude the Bund from a Jewish community radio station. (Would you also like to exclude them from the JCCV?) Why ironic? Because the Bund (through it’s youth group SKIF running the In One Voice festival) is probably the only Jewish organisation in Melbourne that has endorsed and promoted (not just tolerated – but actively promoted) every other Jewish organisation, including those it ideologically disagrees with. But it strongly believes that all voices should be heard.
    I’d love to hear you explain why you feel the Bund isn’t part of the mainstream Jewish community. Perhaps you can define your criteria for which views and voices should be heard on Jewish Community radio?

  • The following is a press release from “Jewish Broadcasting for the Community”:

    MEDIA RELEASE for immediate release. 14 June 2011

    Jewish Broadcasting for the Community was formally established last Thursday evening 9th of June. It will be a Company limited by Guarantee. The independent group known as JBC met with Dr Paul Gardner as chairman. The meeting held at Melbourne’s B’nai B’rith House Hotham St was attended by people with a variety of interests and expertise, reflecting diverse segments of the Jewish community, including a participant from Israel who was connected to the meeting by Skype! JBC has held discussions with the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the, Executive council of Australian Jewry, and will seek to work with them. Upon being informed of the creation of JBC, JCCV President John Searle reacted positively to the development. “I am more than interested to hear from, and work with, a dedicated group of people who are aiming to assist the Jewish community in media matters,” he said. Searle is calling a meeting this week of various people with an interest in promoting Jewish community broadcasting. “I was delighted to be told that representatives of JBC will be attending this community meeting, and I look forward to JBC’s involvement in the future”, he added.
    JBC aims to support, develop and promote Jewish broadcasting and media use for the Community. It will work with the community and its organizational structures to develop and assist Jewish community associations to structure, develop and deliver quality programs. JBC aims to be open and transparent with a wide representation from all sections of the community. This will ensure that diverse views about all matters including Israel and Judaism can be discussed in an open and free manner. Although originating in Melbourne JBC intends to extend its reach to communities, in other states.

    The meeting adopted a constitution, appointed an interim Board, and also agreed to establish an Advisory Committee. Dr Paul Gardner is currently the acting Chair of the Board. The interim Board will meet shortly and appoint people to executive positions who will hold office until formal elections are held at the JBC’s first annual general meeting later in the year. Membership of the association will be open to any member of the Jewish community interested in promoting the broadcasting of Jewish programs on radio TV and the internet.

    Eight interim Board members and three members of the Advisory Committee have already been named. Next steps after incorporation are to apply for formal membership of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, and to extend and formalise discussions with the various individuals and parties involved and interested.

  • Why the urgent need for the JBC to become a JCCV member? In any case, I thought that JCCV membership required the applicant organisation to have at least 50 members or thereabouts.

    Yaakov, further to Doodie’s comments, and in response to your earlier comment, it’s apparent that whilst there are some community radio stations in operation that cater for specific communities, these radio stations don’t necessarily guarantee an overlap from one community to another.

    So for example, as Doodie demonstrated, at the time, 3CR was a hostile environment for a Jewish program. Other radio stations that cater for niche demographics such as 3RPH or JOY may not want to put a Jewish program to air simply because it doesn’t fit their programming style or target demographic.

    By you saying that these minority groups in the Jewish community are capable of getting a voice in another community radio station, you are correct there, but they won’t necessarily get a Jewish voice, and they won’t necessarily get a Jewish audience.

    By being part of a radio station catering to the Jewish community, the minority groups will be able to program Jewish content to a Jewish audience.

    Perhaps though you don’t want some people in the Jewish community hearing some of the content that would be programmed? That’s where the off-switch comes in handy, or an open mind.


  • Adam Neira says:

    I enjoyed listening to Lion FM on many occasions but didn’t tune in at all the last six months. Focus has had to be on other things. Jerusalem and the Middle East is where the action is. Melbourne is one of the safest and best cities in the world at the moment and we are truly spoilt for media choices. There is also a vast array of Jewish media sources available on the internet. As for the community building side of things, again there are numerous opportunities for community in the city by the bay. Many shuls are not that well attended every Shabbat. Melbournians wouldn’t be a little spoilt would they ? Or is the point that people want to be involved in something meaningful which contributes to a better world and that was the promise of Lion FM ?

    Thank you to the Lion FM funders, managers and presenters.

  • 24 Jun 2011
    The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

    Rumble in the jungle

    THE plug may have been pulled on Lion FM, but some of those involved with Melbourne Jewish Radio (MJR) seem to think that they can still broadcast their views throughout the city if they shout loudly enough. But voices weren’t the only things raised when a meeting was held last Thursday night to discuss the future of Jewish broadcasting after the station’s axing by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

    The atmosphere in Beth Weizmann became decidedly heated when the president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, John Searle, tried to physically force MJR’s vice-president, Menachem Khoen, back into his seat. Despite Searle, who was chairing the meeting, urging those in attendance to refrain from the recriminations of recent months, Khoen seemed determined to drag up the past. During a lengthy speech in which he called for an end to “the delegitimisation of Lion FM”, he claimed one of the station’s enemies had threatened an engineer who was supposed to be solving certain antenna problems.

    At that point, Searle tried to cut him short, calling for “constructive discussion”, but his pleas fell on deaf ears as did his insistence that Khoen “sit down or leave the meeting”. When Khoen refused, Searle took matters – or rather Khoen – into his own hands, prompting a furious outburst from Khoen’s supporters.

    For all the acrimony, all agreed the community should present a united front if the opportunity to obtain a licence returned. The only question was how that could be achieved. Two solutions were put forward: unite behind Lion, which MJR executives insisted had learned from its past errors, or start from scratch. “It doesn’t matter how we do it, we just have to do it,” said Searle. “We need to talk with one another not about one another.”

    For his part, Khoen claimed he was currently involved in negotiations which within a month would hopefully allow him to announce a date when Lion would return to air. “Join Lion FM and we will work together to broadcast on behalf of the Jewish community,” he urged.

    Aaron Zaitman, president of Jewish Community Radio Victoria seemed against the idea of resurrecting Lion, preferring to “clear the air” and begin with a “clean slate with all parties getting together and deciding what’s going to happen”.

    Meanwhile, Dr Paul Gardner, interim chairman of Jewish Broadcasting for the Community (JBC), insisted his organistaion had no interest in supplanting Lion and simply wished to ensure the various talents within the community worked together to get a Jewish radio station back on air.

    JBC has convened a further meeting at 7.30pm this Sunday at Beth Weizmann for interested parties to once again come together and attempt to move forward.

    Following the meeting, Khoen told The AJN: “We have been inundated with expressions of support from Israelis, Australians, Orthodox, Masorti and secular Jews … We want to thank the community for the support, encouragement and strengthening messages we constantly receive.”

  • JBC are now calling for members. All details here.

  • 1 Jul 2011
    The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

    Off-air discussions after Lion’s pause

    A COMMUNITY meeting has set the goal of establishing a new Jewish community radio station in Melbourne follwing the demise of Lion FM.

    Participants at the June 26 meeting, organised by Jewish Broadcasting for the Community (JBC), included current and former members of Melbourne Jewish Radio (MJR), which ran Lion FM, and representatives of Jewish programs on community station 3ZZZ.

    Participants agreed a new station must comply with community broadcasting standards and cater to diverse Jewish groups.

    There was broad consensus at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre meeting that a new station should have backing from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and other state and federal communal bodies.

    Dr Paul Gardner, JBC’s interim chairman, told the meeting: “We aim to support and promote Jewish broadcasting generally. We are not opposed to MJR. We see our role as assisting community-based broadcasting organisations whose aims and objectives fit within the parameters of our own broad and inclusive objectives.”

    He said the leadership of Lion FM seemed uninterested in gaining JBC’s support, “which is regrettable, but our door is always open”.

    Dr Gardner said JBC’s role would be to facilitate applications for a community licence, not obtain its own licence. But questions were raised about the likelihood of another temporary permit, after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) last month withdrew Lion FM’s licence.

    Some attendees suggested consulting those involved with MJR’s successful application.

    Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, a member of JBC’s advisory group, told The AJN: “From people who know, there seems to be some optimism that if [ACMA] were dealing with a credible cross-community application, they would have to consider it on its merits.”

    JBC has also won cooperation from a third group interested in gaining a licence, Jewish Community Radio.

    Sunday night’s gathering followed a stormy meeting on June 16, which aired recriminations over who was responsible for the plug being pulled Lion FM.

    MJR vice-president Menachem Khoen was invited to Sunday’s JBC meeting but declined. MJR, meanwhile, held its own meeting at the station’s studio. “I have received a lot of phone calls and emails of support from those people who attended,” said Khoen.

    “We were very happy to see more than 60 people at the meeting including VIP members of our community. The message we gave ‘No more war, No more fighting’ was well received.

    “We are looking forward to work together with all parties involved and we welcome all to become member of our organisation.”

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