Community Television: Mac Gudgeon
Channel 31 (Sydney) promotes itself as being 'free, fresh and for all'. Channel 31 (Melbourne) broadcasts programs for 18 hours every day of the week, and averages the production of 63 hours of first-run locally made programs each week. Channel 31 (Adelaide) states that its mission is 'to present quality programs that educate, entertain and are relevant to the people of Adelaide...to showcase all the wonderfully diverse faces and facets of our city....[and] to bring together the people of Adelaide in real community spirit'.
Community television (CTV) is open access television for individuals and groups from all areas of the commuity including educational institutions, filmmakers, multicultural and community groups, sporting bodies and local businesses - indeed, just about anyone, of any age, who wants to get involved in television.
Community televison programming reflects a wide range of communities including language groups, environmental and social justice groups, and gay and lesbian programming, as well as local information, local sport, student productions, Indigenous programs, panel discussions and magazine-style entertainment. This list represents only a small portion of the possible culture groups, taste groups, civil society organisations and local government agencies that might participate in community television.
Community television - allocated to Channel 31 on the UHF band - was launched in 1992. CTV stations are not-for-profit organisations, self-funded mostly through airtime sales and individual and corporate sponsorship. CTV caters to community interests not served by network or pay TV. However Channel 31 Melbourne also allows a commercial operator, Renaissance TV, to use its tramsmitter.
CTV has been made possible by new low-cost technologies, especially affordable and relatively portable video recording equipment, and is characterised by low-budget 'niche' productions. There are six license CTV operators in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Lismore. Current CTV licenses run to 2006.
Channel 31, October 1994. Accessed 25 February 2005; www.c31.org.au
Community Broadcasting Online. Accessed 25 February 2005; www.cbonline.org.au