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Tassie radio stations want to convert from AM to FM Featured

Three of Tasmania’s regional commercial radio stations are seeking regulatory approval to convert from AM to FM transmission.

The stations — 7BU in Burnie and 7AD in Devonport — have proposed to the telecoms and communications industry watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority. to allow them to convert from AM to FM transmission, and allow 7SD to simulcast its Scottsdale — in the north-east of the state — 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.”

Scottsdale is the first licence area for which the ACMA has proposed a simulcast arrangement, as the new FM signal will not cover all the areas served by 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,” 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 on the state’s west coast.

The authority says the new Queenstown FM channel will enable the 7AUS commercial service to transmit for the first time, and the current 7XS service will continue on its existing FM frequency.

A consultation paper released on Tuesday sets out the variations proposed for licence area plans for each area, with 5 July the deadline for submissions.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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