The future of community television stations hang in the balance as broadcasters await a decision from the Minister to renew Apparatus Licences beyond 2013.
This is despite recently having had Broadcast Services Licences renewed to 2019 by the ACMA. Recent press reports speculate that the Minister is prepared to axe community television services due to “weak ratings”.
C31 general manager Richard McLelland argued that community television stations should not be subjected to the same performance criteria of the commercial networks or government funded broadcasters, ABC and SBS.
McLelland said: “Community television should be measured by the value it adds to the community as a whole, by providing open access, promoting community engagement and local content that will never be seen on the national broadcasters.”
Australia’s community TV stations don’t plan to go down without a fight. An internet campaign has been launched which asks Australians to show their support for the future of community television by sending an email to Minister Turnbull asking him to ‘Commit to Community TV’.
The campaign points to the role that community television plays as a training ground for rising television talent and as a resource for tertiary institutions to provide real world experience to students.
Many of Australia’s most recognisable television personalities got their start on community TV, including Rove McManus, Hamish and Andy, Corinne Grant, Dave Thornton and Waleed Aly.