Community TV viewers plea to PM

Joy HrubyCommunity television viewers are joining the campaign for government support to the sector, with TVS Sydney screening pleas directed at the Prime Minister.

The appeal was masterminded by the host and producer of television show Joy’s World, Joy Hruby OAM (pictured).

Twenty two viewers have recorded vox-pop appeals to the PM, asking for support for the inclusion of Community TV on digital television.

“All the other channels have been given digital spectrum except ours”, said Joy Hruby. “We just want TVS to be given the same opportunity as the others”.

TVS Chief Executive Laurie Patton added, “Every time another household does as the Government asks and buys a new digital TV or a digital set top box they potentially lose the ability to watch their Community channel”.

Community TV was pivotal to the careers of Rove McManus, Corrine Grant and Hamish and Andy.

The government has indicated community TV will not be left behind as Australians switch to digital by 2013, but so far it has given no clear path for the sector.

“CTV programming is targeted at audience groups that are under-served by the other free-to-air channels. The sector provides access for special interest groups, multicultural communities and social networks that are not well catered for by the mainstream media,” Mr Patton said.

11 Comments:

  1. Christian Kent

    Oh well, I take your point. In that case it wouldn’t take ACMA any effort at all to simply announce a “switchover date” for UHF 31 to stop being an analogue channel and start being a digital channel.

    It would be an excellent multiplex to be a home for A-PAC via free-to-air. There would still be room for 2 or 3 more services, which I’m quite sure ABC would love but the negotiations between all involved (and not involved) would be staggering. Alternatively, Channel 31 could go HD and just have A-PAC as a second stream.

  2. Community TV is regulated by ACMA under the provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act. Currently the BSA does not permit Community TV to broadcast in digital and therefore neither Broadcast Australia or TXA, the only two transmission facilities in Sydney, would countenance breaking the law by converting the existing analogue signal to digital. Digital has not snuck up on TVS. The station is already fully digital at its operations centre and only converts back to analogue at the tx site. Moreover the transmitter is digital ready. Both these steps were taken when TVS was set up four years ago. At that time the analogue switch-off was due to occur at the end of 2008. It is the delay in making the switch-over to digital (now due at the end of 2013) that has left Community TV marooned.on analogue.

  3. Christian Kent

    Is there anything really stopping them from pushing out a digital signal on UHF 31?

    I can’t be very sympathetic to C31 (at least in Sydney, in its past two incarnations) for its lack of technical proficiency and ambition. The whole digital transition seems to have snuck up on them as a surprise while producing an analogue signal which worked “just fine” but which the other networks were phasing out as their primary signal 10 years ago. Meantime the Gladesville Radio Club in Sydney has produced a better picture and better quality content on UHF 35 with a fraction of the money and staff. Stop whinging, give up the analogue audience, and plug in a digital modulator!! If SBS can get away with ad breaks that are illegal, nobody is going to begrudge Channel 31 for upgrading to digital on their own steam!

  4. Hi Paull. The reach of TVS, as with all others on digital, will ultimately depend on the power of the transmitter. TVS currently has the most powerful analogue transmitter of all the Community channels and is therefore available to a very high proportion of Sydney viewers. We don’t have translaters at Kings Cross and North Head so there are more black spots for us than the other FTA’s. Our hope is that when we go digital it will be with a high power transmitter (comparable to the others) and using single frequency networking to provide fill into the Eastern Suburbs and Northern Beaches, etc. Community TV relies on sponsorship revenue and that means maximising audiences, which in turn means being available across the whole viewing area.

  5. Actually an SD broadcast of tvs wouldn’t neceseserily increase the reach of the community station, as, unlike with analogue reception, where you can still pick up a channel even if its fuzy, with digital youll get constant “searching for signals”

  6. The broadband idea is a joke. They should give a little spectrum for the 31’s. The only reason they dont want to is it will anger the FTA’s as it will give community TV crisp reception in every state which for some states will be a new thing. Even in SD this will give 31 an advantage it has never had and will be greater competition.

    It is important to give some spectrum for at least an SD digital broadcast on freeview and not leave community Tv behind.

  7. Media Researcher

    That’s funny, the Senate and broadband experts are now discussing the great benefits of the NBN on A-PAC (20 Jul 09). It looks like a future to me by the way their talking:-). I’m glad such high-profile supporters from the community are starting to rear their heads in support of digital transitioning. However, the federal government only sees this as you just throwing names around: Try getting John Laws, Burt Newton or even Rupert Murdoch. By the way, Digital Fourty-Four is doing great in the market and will probably be one of the first choices for Channel A and B digital spectrum; along with NITV, ACC and other profiled companies. Here’s a secret: it is estimated that channel A and B allocations will be open for bids by year end 2009 to excellerate digital take up, since the commercial networks are slow to introduce newer channels. Stay tuned!

  8. D44 (or the trial datacasting channel) is a low powered transmission that cannot be seen in large parts of Sydney and/or is of problematic vision quality. There is no certainty about its future either. TVS will only be successful in the long term if it can be seen by every household in its viewing area and if it looks as good as the other free-to-airs. Since Joy’s “community plea” went to air TVS has recevied a constant stream of inquiries from viewers wanting to show their support for the channel. TVS needs to be provided with a full standard definition digital channel so that it can simulcast like all the others.

  9. I dont see a future in tvsHD, or multi-channeling, however they should at least be given a spot on D44, now that channel nsw is gone, which had me disappointed because i enjoyed watching surf watch on it.

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