Channel 44 – Local Community Television Station in City of Prospect
Since the COVID-19 Lockdown, Channel 44 Adelaide has had 57,000 new viewers.
Community television stations have achieved historic Easter live-to-air broadcasts despite looming switch-off deadline enforced by Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher.
Community TV station Channel 44 Adelaide has received widespread support from local religious and multicultural organisations in a fight to renew their free-to-air broadcast licences beyond the current deadline of June 30, 2020. Despite ongoing and mounting support, Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher continues to stand by his decision to not consider a reprieve for community television. The Minister has declined to provide an explanation behind his decision and has not communicated directly with either station since taking on the portfolio.
Channel 44 supported cultural and religious groups affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic by providing historic live-to-air TV broadcasts of their services. With 2.5 million Australians without access to the internet to watch online services, these broadcasts provided an essential service during Easter Week, Ramadan and Vaisakhi and have continued through this extended period of social isolation. (The Age, ABC News).
Channel 44 Adelaide’s Acting General Manager Kristen Hamill said, “Community TV is a sector is worth fighting for. Our stations have been able to adapt quickly during the pandemic and identify needs within the local community. We look forward to supporting cultural and religious groups across both states to connect with their audiences while these restrictions are in place. “
Community television stations have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with stations facing reduced revenue, staff redundancies, operational challenges and production shutdowns.
Channel 44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne have formally asked Minister Fletcher for a renewal of our broadcast licences, allowing time to navigate this pandemic and to make a successful digital transition work at its end. They also requested that they be left on air to provide a service to their local communities until there is a planned alternative use for the broadcast spectrum they occupy.
If forced to switch off their free-to-air broadcasts on June 30, resulting in immediate job losses of more than 15 full time staff, over 200 weekly volunteers and insolvency for both businesses.
Both Channel 44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne have not received a response from Minister Fletcher to date.
Read Channel 44’s Media Release for more information..