The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s decision to withdraw from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has led to the closure of the industry body, chairman Ryan Till announced on Monday. The SABC cited cost cutting as the reason for its resignation from RAB.
“Look, this isn’t what we (the RAB board) want. We explored other ideas on how we could keep going. What could we become? Was there another form we could take? But really, when we ‘de-emotionalised’ the issue, practically we simply couldn’t carry on without the majority,” Till told The Media Online.
“It’s such a pity as we all like each other. This wasn’t because there were bad relationships,” he said.
“The SABC is the biggest funder of the organisation. In light of that, it would have been foolish and ultimately short-sighted of us to continue operating, if we were to remain a truly representative body,” he said.
The decision to close the RAB is with immediate effect, and means three full time staff members were retrenched, Till said. A further two, shared with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), will retain their jobs with the NAB.
Till said the body would wind up over the next two weeks. The SABC notified the board of its intention to withdraw in July this year, but the board met at a Special General Meeting last month and voted unanimously to dissolve the organisation.
Till said the RAB had contributed much to radio and advertising in its six years of operation. He said highlights included the annual RadioWorks conference and the launch of a multi-disciplinary, highly resourced website complete with category-specific case studies. It has also undertaken a number of qualitative research studies including the UK-affiliated RadioGauge report and provided independent consulting during agency pitch processes on the use of radio in potential advertising campaigns.
“We were looking into further research projects but of course that won’t happen now. The NAB will continue as the regulatory body, and deal with issues such as needletime. Radio bodies will continue to collaborate,” he said.
Till said the broadcast industry has also recently established the Broadcast Research Council (BRC) which is the body responsible for overseeing the new research currency expected to roll out in late 2015. The BRC includes representation from all major broadcasting players as well as the advertising and marketing community.
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