Friday, 17 May 2019 11:20

ACMA considers AM to FM swap by South Australian commercial radio station

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority is considering a proposal from South Australian commercial radio station 5MU to swap from AM to FM transmission.

The station broadcasts in the Murray Bridge, Mount Barker and Victor Harbour areas and the ACMA says it will consider facilitating a conversion after looking at the issues involved.

“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.

“The ACMA will facilitate a conversion after taking a number of issues into account. These include availability of suitable spectrum and being satisfied that audiences in regional areas do not lose radio services under that proposal.”

The ACMA is also proposing to plan a new long-term community radio broadcasting service for Mount Barker, which is currently served by temporary community broadcasting services.

“We now want to hear from the audiences in Murray Bridge, Mount Barker and Victor Harbor about these proposals,” O’Loughlin said.

She said if the ACMA decided to approve the conversions, the timing of the FM conversion would be up to the commercial broadcasters.

And if the new community service was approved, the ACMA said it may then proceed to a merit-based allocation of the licence.

Submissions on the proposals are due with the ACMA by 14 June.

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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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