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Licence to broadcast at special events

You need a licence to broadcast TV or radio at a special event. We can grant open narrowcast licences for short periods or a limited audience.

Definition of a special event

To broadcast with an open narrowcast licence, the special event must:

  • last no longer than 30 days
  • be significant for cultural, sporting or other community reasons
  • have one or more specific organisers

Examples of special events are:

  • the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix
  • Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games
  • cultural events such as horticultural or flower shows
  • artistic exhibitions 

The Broadcasting Services Clarification Notice 2016 contains the exact definition.

Who can apply

We only issue one special event licence for each event. To apply, you need to be:

  • the event organiser 
  • a peak body

You will need to share air-time if:

  • we receive more than one application for an event
  • applicants disagree about who the main body is

In this situation, we will ask you to:

  • discuss and agree the shared air-time arrangement 7 weeks before the event 
  • give us this agreement no less than 3 weeks before the event 

If you cannot agree, we will consult with you and allocate licences equally. 

How to apply

To apply for a transmitter licence for a special event: 

A special event licence may include one or two days before the event for testing.

If we approve your application, you need to pay a transmitter licence tax.

You may allow other people to operate a transmitter under your licence. If you do, you must write to them to confirm the agreement. You must give us details of the agreement if we ask.

What we consider

When we issue a licence, we balance:

  • the needs of the public in the long term
  • an immediate and high-level demand at the event

If your requested frequency is not available for the special event, we will try and find an alternative frequency. You can only use this:

  • for the exact special event purpose 
  • the exact location of the event

If you need help

If you have any queries about licences for special events, email or call 1300 850 115.



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