Australian AM off-band Radio stations surveyed | radioinfo

Australian AM off-band Radio stations surveyed

Thursday 06 May, 2010

Almost 70 low power stations are now broadcasting in Australia's expanded AM ‘off-band' radio dial between the frequencies 1611-1701. The Radio Heritage Foundation has surveyed stations operating in these frequencies as the off-band sector turns 20 years old and found that stations fall mainly into 5 formats: Italian, Country, Arabic, Greek and Gold.

Originally populated by ethnic broadcasters and niche formats, the situation remains almost unchanged in 2010.

Radio Heritage Foundation says existing commercial broadcasters saw these licences “as a dangerously cheap back door into digital broadcasting and lobbied strongly to exclude 1611-1701 AM stations from digital entitlements. Coupled with poor availability of AM radios able to tune to the new frequencies, attempts by commercial aspirants like Radio 2 to establish economics of scale and a nationwide network collapsed.”

 According to Radio Heritage findings, the major players on air now are:

  • Rete Italia [part of the Italian Media publishing and media group],
  • The Goanna [a country music network co-owned with 2ME an Arabic language station, previously known as NTC],
  • Smart Group's Hot Country from Queensland,
  • Small footholds in the band have also been claimed by 3ABN and Queensland based Christian network Vision FM.


A small cluster of independent stations air a variation on the 'Gold' music format of 1960's hits popular with babyboomers, two Greek language stations compete for listeners in Sydney, and a handful of other stations serve ethnic markets for Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Islamic and Lebanese Christian audiences.

A large number of licences held in the 1611-1701 AM band have remained silent for many years and raise the ‘use it or lose it’ question in light of discussions happening in at the RadComms conference about other spectrum bands

The Radio Heritage Foundation has released a detailed list of Australian stations currently operating in the 1611-1701 AM band as a downloadable Word document at the link below.


The full list of stations, as catalogued by Radio Heritage is:

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20 May 2010 - 4:30am
Vision FM is now called Vision Radio Network because it opperates both FM & AM services
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