Australian Community Television - 1995

Community Broadcasting is well established in Australia, with the sector in place for over 21 years. Community television is the new kid on the block. Both radio and television are represented by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA), the national representative body for the sector.

Community television includes free to air services, prospective cable operators and potentially others delivered by satellite, MDS, or new technologies yet to be developed. It provides access and equity to the television medium, enabling the Australian community to participate, learn, create and most importantly, communicate in audio visual media. After one year of operation, community television is producing more Australian content than any other television service per week. It allows the development of new and innovative television ideas to become a valuable product and provides a place to develop skills and talent.

Community Television in itŐs first year of operation:

  • has a cumulative audience of 455,000 per week in Melbourne (as found by Roy Morgan Research).
  • has an estimated audience of one million viewers per week nationally.
  • broadcasts between 75 - 98 % Australian content per week.
  • produces 165 hours of Australian content per week.
  • provides regular training for hundreds of individuals.
  • has encouraged the formation of over one hundred production groups nationally.


    Five stations have been on air for one year. Within this time they have developed rapidly despite limited resources and infrastructure.

    Community television operates in accordance with community broadcasting objects and codes of practice. It is similar to community radio but utilises the television medium.

    Community television is creating new and innovative ways of providing a service to a viewing audience that is looking for something different. It benefits the Australian community, government, industry, business, and the education sector. Community televisionŐs key features are:

  • non-discriminatory access
  • community participation in all areas of television operations

    It is estimated that one million viewers watch community television sometime each week. Whilst catering for a diverse range of viewing tastes, community television;

  • targets a niche audience
  • services local areas
  • allows audience participation

    Training Education & Employment:
    Community televisionŐs hands-on experience offers unique training, employment and educational opportunities. In particular;

  • technical literacy (learning to use technology to communicate)
  • effective entry level training
  • interactive educational programming
  • community self empowerment
  • employment
  • schools and university based production groups

    Already, significant numbers of CTVvolunteers have moved into further education and employment within the media, and related industries.

    Australian Content:
    CTV offers the Australian community a new form of cultural expression, programming schedules feature;

  • 75 -98% Australian content
  • diverse programming
  • innovative & experimental programs
  • educational & informative material
  • multicultural programs
  • indigenous media
  • programs by disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups
  • low cost operations and production
  • programming by the local community
  • a showcase for Australian independent film and video

    Innovation and Culture:
    Community television offers a unique environment for the development of innovative programming by;

  • providing for the participation of diverse programming groups
  • facilitating efficient use of resources
  • favouring new ideas over traditional production formats.

    Whilst community television is recognised as a cultural service in the Federal GovernmentŐs policy, Creative Nation, it has no source of government funding. It is totally self funded through sponsorship announcements and sale of airtime.

    Community television contributes over 20% of it's income, to the Federal.

    The biggest obstacles to the effective development of CTV at present are:

  • prohibition on Federal Government funding
  • commercial level fees set by Government agencies
  • lack of technical and administrative infrastructure support
  • lack of resources
  • lack of audience education showing how to tune in

    Sixth Channel Inquiry
    The battle for CTV has been a lengthy one but finally CTV has been able to broadcast on on a temporary basis on the ŇSixth ChannelÓ. However the imminent review into the Sixth Channel means CTV does not have any security for itŐs future. Your support is needed to keep the Sixth Channel available for community access.


  • contact your local CTV station for its suggestions
  • become a member
  • promote CTV on your radio station
  • write letters of support