Listeners of commercial radio stations 7BU Burnie, 7AD Devonport and 7SD Scottsdale in Tasmania may soon have to change the dial if the ACMA accepts proposals by these stations.
The proposals will make FM spectrum available for 7BU and 7AD to convert from AM to FM transmission, and allow 7SD to simulcast its Scottsdale AM transmission in FM.
‘FM radio provides improved audio quality for listeners in regional areas and can be more cost-effective to operate than AM radio,’ said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
‘A number of regional commercial radio stations are seeking to convert their services to FM under an industry-led conversion program. ACMA will facilitate a conversion if we are satisfied that audiences in regional areas do not lose important radio services under the proposal,’ Ms O’Loughlin said.
Scottsdale is the first licence area for which the ACMA has proposed a simulcast arrangement, as the new FM signal won’t cover all the areas served by the AM, including Flinders Island.
‘The licensee, Grant Broadcasters, has assured ACMA that it has no current plans to turn off the Scottsdale AM station. However, we think simulcasting arrangements are necessary for the foreseeable future so that audiences do not miss out,’ Ms O’Loughlin said.
‘We now want to hear from the local audiences of these Tasmanian stations their views on the conversion and simulcasting proposals.’
The ACMA is also proposing to make spectrum available for a second commercial radio service in Queenstown. The new FM channel will enable the 7AUS commercial service to transmit for the first time. The current 7XS service will continue on its existing FM frequency.
A consultation paper released today sets out the variations proposed for licence area plans (LAPs) for each area.
Deadline for submissions is 5 July 2018. More information about AM–FM conversion and the ACMA’s role is available online.
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Media release 16/2018 - 5 June