Photo:‘headlock’ by fPat Murray (used under a Creative Commons licence)
In our travels shooting Hound TV, people often ask us how to receive Channel 31 through their digital TV or set top box, or what will happen to Channel 31 when analogue TV is switched off.
This has always been a bit of a confusing one (for me, at least), but with the release of the federal budget, the answer has become a bit more clear – and it’s not pretty. Here’s what Channel 31 had to say about it:
Get ready for digital? Get ready for nothing.
Todayâ€™s budget announcement leaves Community Television out in the cold and facing an uncertain future as Australia moves rapidly towards digital television.
â€˜Itâ€™s a real kick in the teethâ€™ says Greg Dee, C31 General Manager, â€˜Senator Conroy has constantly assured the sector that we would not be left behind. Then when the time has come to put their money where their mouth is, this government has given us nothing.â€™
The budget announces $140 million to assist viewers in converting to digital, but fails to ensure that all television broadcasters are converted to digital by omitting community television yet again. The ABC is set to receive $136 million to fund its third digital channel, whilst not a cent can be found to give C31 a single digital channel.
As an independent small business C31 provides an incomparable service to large and diverse sections of the community.
- C31 provides a communication platform to marginalised and under-represented sections of the community largely ignored by the mainstream media – often new and emerging communities.
- C31 airs over 95 locally produced shows each week making it by far the largest broadcaster of local content in Australia.
- C31 serves as a training ground for the entire television sector, and has produced some of the most well known faces on Australian TV including Rove and Hamish and Andy, in addition to hundreds of people working behind the scenes.
- C31 provides a marketing platform which enables local business to use the power of television to target a local audience.
ALL OF THIS AT NO COST TO THE TAXPAYER.
With the increased uptake of digital set top boxes, the 11th hour approaches for community television.
â€˜There is currently unused spectrum that could easily be allocated to C31â€™ continues Greg Dee â€˜and the cost associated with upgrading our facilities to broadcast in digital are, relatively speaking, miniscule.â€™
Will there be a chair for community TV when the music stops on analogue TV?
Digital. Donâ€™t go there until we do.
So, what are you – the humble viewer – supposed to do about it?
Simple: Contact your local MP and ask them to explain why support for the transition to Digital for Community TV has been left out of the Budget, and what they plan to do now. Feel free to play the ‘You will lose my vote if this doesn’t happen’, and the ‘How is Steven from Hound TV supposed to feed his family now?’ cards 🙂
If each one of our fans makes one call or writes one letter, it will make a difference! Thanks.