Jul 9, 2010

ACMA put digital radio local content quota on ice

Last week the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced it had registered a new code which would exempt digital commercial radio stations from local music quotas for three years, writes Tracey Grimson.

Last week the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced it had registered a new code which would exempt digital commercial radio stations from local music quotas for three years.

Pulling the levers on this decision was Commercial Radio Australia (CRA). CRA put forward the new code to ACMA in spite of the concerns of music industry bodies that the process leading to the code’s registration had not been transparent nor consultative enough (claims refuted by CRA).

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3 thoughts on “ACMA put digital radio local content quota on ice

  1. tmgrimson

    In the interests of full disclosure, this is the bio I sent to Crikey with this piece:

    Tracey Grimson is a former broadcaster and one-time General Manager of Sydney community radio station FBi 94.5fm, was Prize Director of the Australian Music Prize for 2008, and has worked on projects for a range of media and music organisations – across the private, public and non-profit sectors including, at one time, as a consultant for the Austereo commercial radio network. She once had a Pink song as her ringtone.

  2. Graham Cairns

    Teacup, meet storm!

    Whilst it will change state-by-state, it’s perhaps worthwhile to take a scan around my digital radio’s dial …

    (The quota I refer to is the standard quota imposed on broadcast radio …)

    ABC NewsRadio .. News
    ABC RadioNational – simulcast, meets quota
    ABC Classic – simulcast, exempt from quota given the nature of Classical music
    ABC Country – far exceeds quota
    ABC DigMusic – far exceeds quota
    ABC Grandstand – Sport
    ABC Jazz – I don’t listen … but I’d assume it is in the same position as ABC Classic
    ABC NAIDOC – it’s music is 100% Australian content, I believe
    B105 – Simulcast, so has to meet quota
    Classic Hits Live – probably doesn’t meet quota
    Edge digital – (Hip Hop, etc) hard to tell, but probably doesn’t meet quota
    Koffee – (Chill) Hard to tell, but probably doesn’t meet quota
    Nova – simulcast, so has to meet quota
    NovaNation – as a dance station, probably doesn’t meet quota
    Radar – 100% unsigned Aussie music
    Radio Gaga – off-air, so it doesn’t count 🙂
    SBS Chill – who knows? Probably meets quota
    SBS PopAsia – doesn’t play any Aussie music
    SBS Radio 1-6 – Again, who knows – but chances are they don’t
    The Buckle – Country, including Aus country. Probably meets quota
    MMM – simulcast, so should meet quota
    JJJ – simulcast, exceeds quota
    U20 – Austereo’s youth station … their playist will meet quota, but since individual presenters get to choose which tracks they play, who knows?
    4BC News/Talk
    4BH – simulcast, meets quota
    4KQ – simulcast, meets quota
    4kQ Plus – varies, depending on specialist programming
    4TAB – Horseracing
    ABC Local – meets quota
    973 – simulcast, meets quota

    So – most stations are going to meet the quota requirements of broadcast stations – and theose that don’t are more than compensated for by those that are all-Australian.

    All of this ignores the question of whether quotas are the best way of supporting the arts, in any case … but that’s an argument for another time.

  3. tmgrimson

    Thanks for all that info Graham, appreciated.

    The point here though is the music quota for commercial radio specifically. If CRA didn’t intend to play less local content, then there would be no reason for it to put forward a different code.

    It’s early days and, yes, a good slab of digital radio content is currently simulcast. But “event” stations like Radio GaGa will increase in prevalence. If CRA can make a commercial argument for stations which don’t include Australian music, you can bet it’ll use everything in its power to lobby for keeping the quota low or non-existent beyond the initial three years.

    And yes, there’s definitely an argument to be had on how best to support artists – clearly there’s no one silver bullet. However there is an established relationship between radio airplay and album sales at the commercial end of town and that has flow-on effects for artists all the way down the food chain.

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