What You Think | radioinfo

What You Think

User Opinion Story
Philip Smith
10 December 2010 - 5:30am
I don't fully agree with the CRA blueprint for rolling out DAB+ radio in regional areas. I submit that there is scope for deploying DRM digital radio technology, so that AM frequencies can also migrate successfuly to a digital platform. I concede that there may be a case for favouring a consistent digital codec across the nation, and perhaps DAB+ should be the standard digital radio format. But the problem I see is that some existing operators, primarily narrowcasters, both FM and even moreso AM licence holders, are going to be excluded from the digital future.

Since analogue radio is not likely to be switched off anytime in the coming decade, it makes sense that ACMA be permitted to release more analogue frequencies where they are available. And in regional areas, theire probably are not that many more planned frequencies that can be allocated, either as commercial, community or High-power Open Narrowcast services. Rather than having a moratorium, releasing all these potential frequencies soon, mostly as narrowcast licences, would consolidate the analogue landscape and from that point, the digital future can be properly discussed and planned.

Linking this planning process to the timetable for switching of analogue TV is a good idea, but a moratorium on new analogue services in regional areas is not necessary. As Channel 3 and 5 TV stations switch to DVB digital, parts of FM spectrum can be reassigned to provide radio services in areas where there is demand for new stations, especially narrowcast services. Certainly, the government can allow new LPON applications in areas where these are now excluded because of Channel 3 TV. This is a responsible use of spectrum in response to the digital dividend.
DAB+ on regional radio agenda
James Vicary
9 December 2010 - 5:30am
Great article, & some excellent observations & insights from Mr Maizens. Thanks. How to get the most from your Station Tech
Amanda H A Watson
7 December 2010 - 5:30am
Pete was a warm and dear friend. He was generous and full of laughter and interest in others.

Pete and I met when we were both teaching news media students at Petersham TAFE. He would arrive in the staffroom perspiring, after riding there on his bicycle. He would change shirts and begin photocopying notes and making final preparations for his class. He always greeted me with a warm smile.

We became friends, and when Pete learned about the community radio station I was working at, 2RPH, he offered to help out. He became a regular announcer on the station and was a reliable, dependable volunteer. He was well-liked by the other volunteers on his shift as he guided them with an encouraging and helpful manner.

When I moved to Papua New Guinea, he came to visit me during a holiday break. Ever keen to try new things, he completed a scuba diving course while I was working each day. By the end of his trip, he was a qualified diver. I really enjoyed having him stay in my spare room during those ten days or so as he was a supportive, interested and understanding friend.

Pete was a community-minded volunteer. After he moved to Byron Bay, he volunteered at a local dive shop there. This meant that he helped them out with getting divers geared up and ready, and he also got free dives!

I have had some lovely weekends visiting Pete in Byron Bay. We did bushwalks, went sea kayaking and spent much time at the beach. I will miss his friendship, sunny smile and encouragement very much.

Amanda H A Watson
Vale Pete Jackson
7 December 2010 - 5:30am
Grant Broadcasters.....looks like more cheap equipement again! North-West Tassie gets new local studios
Dave Stretton
5 December 2010 - 5:30am
What a tool this bloke is!!!! Kyle sticks it to Merrick as he signs with Austereo for another three years
5 December 2010 - 5:30am
Hi guys,

I believe they started there tour on Monday in Perth, 92.9 played the show live into Perth at 1pm

Hamish and Andy knighted by musical royalty
Philip Smith
2 December 2010 - 5:30am
I can't agree with Joan warner on this point. I think ACMA should release more HPONS and community radio licences - both AM and FM - as there is demand in the marketplace for these radio services in various communities, in particular those urban areas where new LPONs are not currently permitted.

I would think Australia is getting close to saturation for Community radio stations. It has been proved many times that it is difficult for the smaller towns of less than 10,000 population to be able to sustain a single commercial radio station, let alone a community station as well. And there are probably not too many places left in Australia where a community radio service would be viable in the long term. But the few towns that could sustain a community radio which don't yet have at least one service operating, should be permitted to obtain frequencies from ACMA where they are available and where there is a demand for such services.

The same can be said of HPONs. There are a similar number of HPON services as there are community radio services in Australia. Most HPONs are owned by the Racing industry, with a few owned by United Christian broadcasters and country music commercial narrowcasters (most of which are owned by commercial broadcasting interests anyway). There is scope for releasing more frequencies for HPONS in some regions, and while it is fair that commercial broadcast radio be given more licences than the community or narrowcast sectors, there is still scope for growing the number of HPONS, which tend to be viable in smaller population areas since most operate as relay stations for services based in the bigger urban markets. (EG Kix Country FM has many HPONs and LPONs in regional areas of QLD and SA, but the studio is in Bundaberg, population 50,000).

I don't think ACMA is being reckless in releasing these analogue frequencies at time when the Commercial radio sector is trying to consolidate the market to accept the new DAB+ radio technology. The uptake has been faster than predicted, which should mean a successful rollout of the DAB+ is leading to a bright future. But DAB+ is not a replacement to analogue radio broadcasting. I think the CRA are crying wolf in regards to ACMA's decision to release new analogue frequencies in a judicious manner for new HPON and community services.

The switchover from analogue to digital TV will yield a digital dividend, especially in Newcastle, Bunbury, Townsville, Wollongong, Renmark where Channel 3 and Channel 5 TV stations currently operate on frequencies in the VHF Band II, (FM broadcast band). In these markets, ACMA does not allow new applications for LPONS because of exclusion zones imposed to protect these TV stations from potential interference. While I believe these protection radii are often overly protective, and could be reduced by a third in most cases without riskingn interference to TV transmissions, these zones are unfortunately likely to remain in place until after the switching off of analogue TV services.

In the mean time, ACMA might be able to release a few scarce frequencies o supply new HPON and community services within these protected zones, to allow new entrants into these markets and improve diversity in regions where DAB+ services are not yet available, and indeed may not be sustainable anyway. I would hope ACMA might remove the exclusion zones as soon as the switchover to digital TV is complete (in fact sooner would be better) in a Channel 3 or 5 TV zone, so that new LPONs can be applied for. This of course is assuming that ACMA will continue the LPON system past 2013 - something that will be decided in 2011.

Philip Smith
Narrowcaster & Media Consultant
Perth WA
[email protected]
Mob:0409 212377
CRA asks ACMA to hold off granting new regional analog licences
Mark Flanagan
1 December 2010 - 5:30am
Ray Hadley - a total self-rightous pig head. With friends like Hadley….
Lachlan Kitchen
27 November 2010 - 5:30am
I'm really saddened by this news.

I worked with Pete at TAFE and I'll always remember just how infectious his smile and warmth were.

Sadly missed.

Vale Pete Jackson
Guy Ashford
26 November 2010 - 5:30am
Worked with "PJ" at 2MC Port Macquarie i am sad and shocked to hear of his passing.Life really is too short, Pete was one of the industries nice guys. Vale Pete Jackson


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