Changes for regional radio: AM-FM conversions and other variations | ACMA

Changes for regional radio: AM-FM conversions and other variations

Consultation closes: 02 December 2016

IFC: 27/2016

Online consultation

Proposed new approach to AM–FM conversions and in-fill transmitters for commercial radio broadcasting services and LAP variations: Remote WA, Carnarvon, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broken Hill and Toowoomba/Warwick radio

Outcome

Further to this consultation, the ACMA has revised its approach to considering requests for AM–FM conversion for commercial radio broadcasting services, as well as requests from commercial radio broadcasting licensees to provide FM coverage infill transmitters to augment the coverage of an AM or FM main transmitter. Find out about the ACMA’s approach and read our new guidance document.

 

Submissions

The ACMA received eight submissions/comments to this consultation. Submissions and comments can be accessed from the right hand side index box.

 

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Downloads

Document

PDF

Word

Consultation paper:
A new approach to AM–FM conversions and in-fill transmitters for commercial radio broadcasting services

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395 KB

Consultation paper:
Draft variations to LAPs for Remote Western Australia radio, Carnarvon radio, Broken Hill radio, Karratha radio, Port Hedland radio and Toowomba/Warwick radio  

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418 KB 

Draft LAP:
Variation to Licence Area Plan – Remote Western Australia (Radio) –2016 (No.1)  

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278 KB 

Draft LAP:
Variation to Licence Area Plan – Carnarvon (Radio) – 2016 (No.1)  

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81 KB 

Draft LAP:
Variation to Licence Area Plan – Broken Hill (Radio) – 2016 (No.1)  

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87 KB 

Draft LAP:
Variation to Licence Area Plan – Karratha (Radio) – 2016 (No.1)  

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91 KB 

Draft LAP:
Variation to Licence Area Plan – Port Hedland (Radio) – 2016 (No.1)  

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94 KB 

Draft LAP:
Variation to Licence Area Plan – Toowoomba/Warwick (Radio) – 2016 (No.1)

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120 KB

Maps:
Draft licence area maps for Remote Western Australia radio and Carnarvon Radio

717 KB 

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Proposed revised approach for AM-FM conversions

The ACMA is seeking public comment on a revised approach to considering requests for AM-FM conversion for commercial radio broadcasting services in single licence (solus) regional licence areas, and the related issue of requests from commercial radio broadcasting licensees to provide FM coverage ‘in-fill’ transmitters to augment the coverage of an AM or FM main transmitter.

The consultation paper—A new approach to AM-FM conversions and in-fill transmitters for commercial radio broadcasting services—examines the ACMA’s long-standing approach to AM–FM conversions and the drivers for change. After examining the pros and cons of AM and FM transmission modes, the ACMA now considers that while there is still a place for AM transmitters in Australia (for example, for the provision of wide coverage services), FM radio has the potential to deliver a range of benefits including improved audio quality, reduced signal interference and lower costs.

The ACMA and its predecessors have previously only considered AM–FM conversion of commercial radio broadcasting services in very exceptional circumstances. The ACMA is now proposing to consider requests from commercial radio licensees for AM–FM conversion in regional solus markets outside of these exceptional circumstances.

The following are the first services that ACMA is proposing for AM-FM conversion.

  • ‘Red FM’ (6FMS)—Exmouth, WA
  • ‘Spirit Radio’ (6SAT)—Paraburdoo, WA
  • ‘Spirit Radio’ (6SAT)—Tom Price, WA
  • ‘Spirit 1260’ (6KA)—Karratha, WA
  • ‘Spirit Radio’ (6NW)—Port Hedland, WA
  • ‘567 2BH’ (2BH)—Broken Hill, NSW.

The discussion paper—Draft variations to LAPs for Remote Western Australia radio, Carnarvon radio, Broken Hill radio, Karratha radio, Port Hedland radio and Toowomba/Warwick radio—details the proposals. In preparing these draft proposals to vary LAPs, the ACMA has applied the new approach to AM-FM conversion to illustrate its application and to expedite conversion of these services. If the ACMA adopts the approach proposed in paper, conversions in the ‘harder’ licence areas (where finding a frequency will be more difficult) will follow.

The ACMA is also taking the opportunity to propose other LAP variations for radio broadcasting services in the relevant regional licence areas. These variations are primarily to modify technical specifications and make spectrum available for a number of national, commercial and community broadcasting transmitters.

In summary, the ACMA is proposing to make the following variations: 

Licence Area
Plan (LAP)

Area served

Service(s)

Type of service

Proposal

Remote Western Australia radio
LAP

Paraburdoo & Tom Price

6SAT

Commercial

Make spectrum available to facilitate conversion from AM to FM

 

Exmouth 

6FMS

Commercial

Make spectrum available to facilitate conversion from AM to FM

 

Exmouth 

6SAT

Commercial

Change technical specifications to reflect actual operating conditions

 

Telfer 

6FMS

Commercial

Change technical specifications to improve coverage

 

Telfer 

6SAT 

Commercial

Remove technical specifications from LAP

 

Morawa 

76SAT & 6FMS

Commercial

Make spectrum available for FM transmitters

 

Coorow & Moora 

6FMS

Commercial

Make spectrum available for FM transmitters

 

Wittenoom 

6FMS & 6SAT

Commercial

Remove technical specifications from LAP

 

Halls Creek 

6PRK

Community

Change technical specifications to improve coverage

 

One Arm Point 

Community

Make spectrum available for new community service & determine new licence area

 

Bililuna 

Community

Make spectrum available for new community service & determine new licence area

Carnarvon
radio LAP

Onslow & Denham

6CAR 

Commercial

Make spectrum available for FM transmitters

 

Onslow & Denham

6LN

Commercial

Make spectrum available for FM transmitters

 

Onslow

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Correct administrative error by reinserting missing census district (CD)

 

Carnarvon

Parliamentary News Network/News Radio (PNN)

National 

Make spectrum available for FM transmitter

Karratha
radio LAP

Karratha

6KA

Commercial

Make spectrum available to facilitate a conversion from AM to FM

 

Roebourne

6KA 

Commercial

Make spectrum available for FM transmitter

 

Roebourne

6RED 

Commercial

Change the technical specifications to match planned 6KA FM transmitter

 

Karratha

6RED 

Commercial

Change the technical specifications to reflect actual operating conditions

 

Karratha

PNN 

National 

Make spectrum available in LAP for operating service

Port Hedland
radio LAP

Port Hedland

6NW

Commercial

Make spectrum available to facilitate a conversion from AM to FM

 

Port Hedland 

6HED 

Commercial

Change the technical specifications to improve coverage

 

Port Hedland

PNN

National 

Make spectrum available in LAP for operating service

 

Broome

PNN 

National 

Make spectrum available in LAP for operating service

Broken Hill
radio LAP

Broken Hill

2BH

Commercial

Make spectrum available to facilitate a conversion from AM to FM

Toowoomba/
Warwick radio LAP

Toowoomba

4WK

Commercial

Change the technical specifications to change nominal transmitter location and convert frequency band from AM to FM

The ACMA has formed the preliminary view that the proposed variations listed above will promote the objects of the BSA, including the economic and efficient use of radio frequency spectrum, by improving the coverage and reception of those services in their licence areas. 

Once a draft LAP has been finalised, the varied LAP is published on the ACMA website under Final licence area plans.

The consultation papers on the on revised approach to AM-FM conversion and the proposed variations to the regional licence areas, along with the draft licence area plan instruments, can be accessed from the downloads box above.

Issue for comment

Opportunity to provide feedback

The ACMA welcomes comment on the issues raised in the consultation papers or any other issues relevant to the ACMA’s proposed guidance about requests from commercial radio broadcasting licensees for AM-FM conversion and in-fill transmitters, and the proposed variations to radio broadcasting services listed above.