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Enhancements to SBS Radio in Canberra and surrounds.

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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

Media Release

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305

16 October 2006

Enhancements to SBS Radio in Canberra and surrounds

From today, residents of Canberra and surrounds will have access to programming in 68 languages and broadcasts of SBS radio will more than double, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan announced today.

“I am pleased to announce SBS has commenced transmission of a second radio frequency to Canberra as of today,” Senator Coonan said at the official launch of the service today.

“SBS radio audiences in the Canberra region will now have access to the same content as the AM and FM SBS Radio services currently transmitted to Sydney - which means a larger number of languages and language programming per week.

“I would particularly like to thank my Parliamentary colleague, the Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn MP who worked hard to ensure the introduction of this service for his constituency.”

In Canberra, SBS plans to transmit its Sydney FM radio content on FM 105.5 kHz, and its SBS Sydney AM radio content on AM 1440 MHz.

The former frequency currently transmits the SBS National Radio Network to Canberra, which features a combination of programming sourced from both Sydney services.

“This initiative will particularly benefit around 57,000 Canberrans who speak a language other than English at home, although the service is expected to reach an estimated 360,000 people in the Canberra region,” Senator Coonan said.

“These changes will provide Canberra residents with access to additional language programming by increasing the number of languages available by 13 to 68, and the hours of language programming broadcast from 168 hours per week to 336 hours per week.”

The following languages will be broadcast in Canberra for the first time: Albanian, Assyrian, Bangla, Bosnian, Cook Islands Maori, Fijian, Gujarati, Kannada, Kurdish, Maori, Nepalese, Norwegian and Samoan.

SBS Radio provides a mix of local, national and international news, as well as coverage of cultural, arts, music and sporting events throughout Australia and around the world.