Friday, 27 March 2020 13:12

Future of radio in Australia focus of new ACMA report

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The telecommunications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has laid out its priorities for the future delivery of radio in Australia, underlining what it says is the vital importance of radio to Australian audiences.

The Future Delivery of Radio report also outlines how the ACMA will prioritise the provision of spectrum to “best assist” broadcasters to serve the Australian community, with ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin saying that the Authority is focused on how Australia can get the most out of its “valuable but limited broadcasting frequencies, particularly for FM and digital radio”.

“Radio plays a critical role in providing news and informing communities in times of emergencies, as we saw during the bushfires and are seeing now with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms O’Loughlin.

“We know that the radio industry needs to evolve in response to new technology and changing audience preferences, and the spectrum that the ACMA manages is a key part of that evolution.

“We have worked with all parts of the radio sector to understand their views on the future delivery of radio. And in response we are prioritising the frequency planning options that will assist radio broadcasters to make the best choices about their future service delivery,” she said.

O’Loughlin says the ACMA’s priorities outlined in the report include the continued transitioning of commercial, community and national services in regional areas from AM to FM where spectrum is readily available, arrangements to allow further rollout of digital radio where this is feasible, coverage improvements for national, commercial and community broadcasting where spectrum is available and support for trials of new types of broadcasting technology.

“These priorities will guide our work and we intend to consult further with the radio industry on a work program each year through our Five-Year Spectrum Outlook,” O’Loughlin said.

The Future Delivery of Radio Project was established by the ACMA to ask Australian broadcasters and audio content providers about emerging technologies, the impact on their businesses and the choices these create for the radio industry - including how radio will be delivered to audiences in the future.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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