18 August 2008
ACMA proposes channels for ABC radio services in Victoria and Queensland
The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking written submissions from the public on proposals to make channels available for ABC radio services in the Bendigo, Colac and Geelong areas of Victoria and the Townsville area of Queensland.
ACMA is proposing to make channel capacity available in Bendigo, Colac and Townsville to enable the ABC to provide its NewsRadio service. In Geelong ACMA proposes to make channel capacity available for an extension of the ABC’s Local Radio service.
‘The proposed changes are part of a broader plan to extend these ABC services to all transmission areas of Australia with a population of 10,000 or more,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.
Spectrum is congested for high power services in each of these regions and ACMA was unable to identify any vacant FM frequencies that could be used for the ABC services. ACMA is therefore proposing to vary the frequency of various existing services in the radio markets for the introduction of these services.
‘The proposals to make frequencies available for ABC radio services would require changes to the transmission arrangements of some existing broadcasting services and ACMA is keen to receive community feedback on this issue,’ Mr Chapman said.
ACMA’s proposed variations to existing services in each of the areas are outlined in the attached backgrounder.
Details of the proposed changes are contained in the explanatory papers and draft variations to the Bendigo, Colac, Geelong, Charters Towers and Townsville radio licence area plans released for public comment today.
The explanatory papers, draft variations to the licence area plans and other related documents are available on the ACMA website, or by calling 1300 850 115.
The closing date for comments on these proposals is 5:00pm, Friday 19 September 2008.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager on (02) 9334 7980.
Licence area plans determine the number and characteristics, including technical specifications, of broadcasting services that are to be available in particular areas of Australia with the use of the broadcasting services bands.
ACMA prepares licence area plans under section 26(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act), and may vary them under section 26(2).
Proposed changes to existing services
ACMA is proposing that the ABC NewsRadio service operate on 89.5 MHz from Mount Alexander. This frequency is currently used on a share time basis by Goldfields Community Radio Co-operative and Phoenix FM under temporary community broadcasting licences (TCBLs).
As a result, ACMA is also proposing to change the frequency of the community radio service from 89.5 MHz to 101.5 MHz which also incorporates changes to the technical operating conditions. The frequency 101.5 MHz is currently used by the temporary community broadcaster, Central Victorian Gospel Radio. All three temporary broadcasters may share that spectrum if the proposal is adopted. This will ensure that spectrum continues to be made available for TCBLs in Bendigo until the allocation of the long-term community broadcasting licence can commence.
ACMA is proposing that the ABC NewsRadio service operate on 104.7 MHz from Warrion Hill. This frequency is currently used by the Colac community radio station 3OCR.
As a result, ACMA is also proposing to change the frequency of 3OCR from 104.7 MHz to 98.3 MHz which also incorporates changes to the technical operating conditions. This will ensure that spectrum continues to be made available for the community radio service in Colac.
ACMA is proposing that the ABC Local Radio service operate on 94.7 MHz from Murradoc Hill. This frequency is currently used by Geelong Ethnic Communities Inc. to broadcast The Pulse under a temporary community broadcasting licence.
As a result, ACMA is also proposing to change the frequency of the community radio service from 94.7 MHz to 91.9 MHz which also incorporates changes to the technical operating conditions. This will ensure that spectrum continues to be made available for TCBLs in Geelong until the allocation of the long-term community broadcasting licence can commence.
Charters Towers and Townsville
ACMA has identified two FM channels, 94.3 MHz and 93.5 MHz, available for use for ABC NewsRadio in Townsville and Townsville North. However these frequencies would first be subject to on air tests to identify any potential interference issues. The testing of these frequencies requires relocation of two other services operating in the area.
ACMA is proposing to relocate a high power open narrowcasting (HPON) service in Charters Towers to 98.3 MHz and a community radio service in Bowen to 95.9 MHz.
These services are currently operating on the same frequency to that of the planned frequency for ABC NewsRadio in Townsville. It is proposed that the change of frequency for these services occur at this time to facilitate the testing outlined above. Testing cannot be conducted while these services operate on their current frequencies and is expected to take six weeks.
The draft licence area plan variation also proposes to make channel capacity available on 96.7 MHz for an ABC NewRadio service at Bowen where spectrum has been identified as available.