Sunrise Radio has been found in breach of its broadcast licence after failing to inform Ofcom of three different ownership changes.
They took place between October 2012 and April 2014, before the company was dissolved and picked up by Lyca Media. Ofcom investigated the situation after Avtar Lit, who Ofcom regarded as being the ultimate controller of the station, told the regulator he had quit as a director from the licence holding company.
After several forms were filled in, Ofcom realised there had been three other specific changes to its shareholdings or directorships which they should have been told about.
Prior to 24 April 2014, the existing information held on file by Ofcom, dating from 17 September 2009, showed that the licence-holding company (at that time known as Buzz Asia Ltd) was 100% owned by Litt Corporation Ltd. That company was, in turn, 100% owned by Avtar Lit. Since then, the following three changes had taken place:
- The transfer, in October 2012, of Litt Corporation’s 100% shareholding in the licensee company to Avtar Lit
- The issue, at some point prior to December 2013, of 99 new shares in the licensee company to Anita Lit (Avtar Lit’s wife). At this time, the company was 99% owned by Anita Lit, however Avtar Lit remained the sole director.
- The issue, in February 2014, of an additional 150 shares in the licensee company. Half (75) of these new shares were issued to Triple A Express Limited, with the other half issued to Autoline Consulting Ltd. Additional directors – Rajinder Bajwa, Gurdev Jassi and Anita Lit – were also appointed to the board.
Ofcom said: “We noted that the issue of 99 shares to Anita Lit gave this shareholder a majority interest in the company, and that on that basis, Anita Lit controlled the company. Avtar Lit also retained ‘de facto control’. The issue of 150 additional shares in February 2014 and the addition of directors at the same time, also constituted an important change”
The Licensee acknowledged the changes should have been notified to Ofcom, but was not. Therefore the station is in breach of Licence Condition 10 in Part 2 of the Schedule.
Sunrise Radio is currently facing competition from five other groups who are bidding for the licence it owns to broadcast on 963/972AM.