Community TV stations Channel 31 and Channel 44 given three-year lifeline


A three-year reprieve has been granted to Australia’s only remaining community television (CTV) stations in a surprise vote that will allow them to stay on air and lock in key partnerships until 2024.

Channel 44 (Adelaide) and Channel 31 (Melbourne) had previously been told they had to stop broadcasting after June 30 and switch to an online-only model, but a vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday saw the federal government give them until 2024.

It was preceded by a majority vote in the Senate on Tuesday night.

“The C31 board would like to acknowledge the efforts of our wonderful staff, producers and program makers over the last few months,” C31 Melbourne Chair, Mike Zafiropoulos AM, said in a media release.

“We have also been overwhelmed by the showing of public support and are heartened by the collective resolve to fight for a positive outcome for Community Television in Victoria. Thank you.”

The stations have endured annual uncertainty since 2014, when former Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, ordered community stations across the country to shift to an online-only model to free up their spectrum for testing new technologies.

But Channel 31 General Manager, Shane Dunlop, said it was a common sense decision to allow the stations to keep broadcasting and to lock it in for three years.

“We’ve had a decade of getting used to whatever last minute reprieves we get,” he said.

“They’ve just been kicking the can down the road a little further, but this length of time really gives us a chance to make the most of whatever the future will hold for community TV, so we can appropriately plan and roll with punches a lot better.”

Source: ABC News.




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