Nick Xenophon accepting Keep The Community In Your Radio petition

Senator Nick Xenophon calling on Prime Minister to save community radio and TV

Helen Henry, 29th June 2016
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Senator Nick Xenophon has called on the Prime Minister to save the network of community radio stations and community TV stations that are facing closure after federal budget cuts and the removal of the broadcasting spectrum.

“The Abbott Government removed $1.4 million for 37 radio stations across Australia last year – which the Turnbull Government is going ahead with. That’s an average of only $37,000 each station per year. Is there any better value for maintaining a little media diversity?” Nick said in a press release distributed yesterday.

The release is shared in full below:

GOVT SWITCHES OFF TO COMMUNITY RADIO AND TV

Senator Nick Xenophon has called on the Prime Minister to save the network of community radio stations and community TV stations that are facing closure after federal budget cuts and the removal of the broadcasting spectrum.

“The Abbott Government removed $1.4 million for 37 radio stations across Australia last year – which the Turnbull Government is going ahead with. That’s an average of only $37,000 each station per year. Is there any better value for maintaining a little media diversity?” Nick said.

The situation for the community TV is even more dire. They received almost no federal funding and yet their broadcasting spectrum has been taken away to be sold off to commercial interests. Community TV will be off air by the end of this year. Sydney’s channel has already gone. Melbourne’s Channel 31 is sinking fast as sponsors abandon it as it transitions to a web based system. Adelaide’s Channel 44 is facing a similar fate.

"These cuts to community radio funding and removing access to the broadcasting spectrum are mean and miserable decisions made by the Abbott Government that the Turnbull Government is recklessly following through on,” Nick said.

“These stations cost the federal government almost nothing. They run on donations and committed community volunteers. They have been a training ground for new talent including Rove McManus and Waleed Aly. They offer hope to young people with a bit of get up and go who want to follow a dream of getting into TV or on radio. And now they are all about to either disappear or be severely diminished.

“In an age where our media, including the ABC, have become increasingly focused on Sydney these small state based community stations offer important alternative voices."

Senator Xenophon has committed the Nick Xenophon Team to have the restoration of funding for community radio and the broadcasting spectrum for community TV as a priority with any new government after the election.

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