The ABA is making a range of frequency changes in and around Canberra with the aim of moving the ABC’s NewsRadio service to the FM band.
NewsRadio, now heard on AM 1440 will convert to the FM band “in order to rectify its current reception deficiencies.” It will be heard on FM frequencies 103.9 and 99.9, two frequencies which were previously reserved for community radio.
The ABA says the AM 1440 frequency will “continue to be reserved for a national radio service for the foreseeable future.” There is also some industry speculation that Canberra might also be another city where Digital Radio trials might take place.
The ABA’s decisions are contained in its variations to the Canberra and Cooma radio licence area plans and address “numerous requests from broadcasters requesting variations to these plans.”
The populations of the Illawarra, South East NSW and ACT commercial and community radio licence areas, were initially determined using 1996 Census figures, but the new plan will update that information by using 2001 Census figures.
Other changes in the licence area plan will also affect other broadcasters:
· Channel capacity will be made available for an additional FM transmitter for the existing community radio service 1RPH (AM 1125) to serve the city of Wagga Wagga, NSW.
· The existing Queanbeyan community radio service, 2QBN will be given the option to change its current technical operating conditions, in order to serve the communities of Sutton and Bungendore
· Extra channel capacity will be made available for an additional FM transmitter for the existing community radio service 1WAY FM 91.9 to serve the area of Tuggeranong, ACT.
No new open narrowcasting services will be made available in Canberra.
· Channel capacity will be made available for an additional transmitter for the Cooma community radio service, 2MNO, to serve the town of Bombala, NSW.
· There will be a change the frequency of the existing Bombala open narrowcasting service in order to avoid potential interference from the proposed Illawarra high power national service.