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National plan for development of metropolitan radio services: way clear for special interest commercial radio

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M inister for Transport and Communications Senator Gareth Evans Q.C.

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I COMMO.-i'vVtALi I \ ί ; I parliamentary library I I_____ c. i . s . j

9 August 1988




Amendments to the Broadcasting Act during the forthcoming Budget

session will clear the way for the introduction of a range of

new, specialised commercial radio services in mainland capital


Several groups have expressed interest in establishing

specialised commercial services tailored specifically towards

such areas as ethnic, horse racing, general sport or religious


In mainland capital cities, where there already exists a large

number of radio services from the commercial, national and public

radio sectors, specialised stations hold the potential to add

significantly to the diversity·of the overall offering.

Under the existing legislation, however, applicants for

commercial radio licences each must meet the requirement to

provide 'an adequate and comprehensive service'.

An amendment will be introduced to the Broadcasting Act to make

it clear, to the extent it is not already, that compliance with

this requirement is not jeopardised by the provision of a service

targeted only to a special interest group.

It will be made clear that a licensee's radio service should be

assessed in the context of the diversity and comprehensiveness of

all the services available in that particular area.

2 Γ

The Government has decided not to create special categories of

commercial radio licences, of the kind that exist in the public

radio sector. This is consistent with the Government's policy of

avoiding unnecessary regulation of the media and of allowing

licensees to identify and service their audiences as they see


Groups interested in establishing specialised services, eg TABS

or the Sydney based Eth-Com group, will be able under the

proposed new provisions to purchase existing AM licensee

companies, or to bid for new FM frequencies to be released in

Stage 2 of the National Plan for the Development of Metropolitan

Radio Services announced today. Either type of transaction

would, of course, need to be approved by the Australian

Broadcasting Tribunal.

Alternatively, existing AM or FM licensees might wish to propose

a move toward more specialised services, again in the context of

the overall services available in that particular area.

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For further information: John Stanton (062) 77 7200