The community TV station was due to switch off for good tonight.
After desperate pleas for government support in the lead up to its final day of broadcasting, Channel 31 has been given a lifeline by both the Victorian and federal government. The support came at the 11th hour, with the community TV station’s licence due to expire at 11:59pm on Tuesday June 30.
The federal government has agreed to extend the station’s licence for 12 months to assist them in transitioning to a digital format. The decision follows the Victorian government’s announcement that it will provide financial support to Channel 31 in the form of a $120,000 grant to ensure it can continue providing a vital service to the community.
The station will work closely with the Victorian government to create opportunities for Melbourne content creators to share their stories online, as well as providing on-air representation for vulnerable communities.
“We’re grateful for the support of the Federal and Victorian State Governments that will allow our beloved station to make an eventual successful transition online, and are appreciative of their ongoing support of the arts industry,” said Channel 31 General Manager, Shane Dunlop.
“We’re looking forward to using the next 12 months to continue to pivot our operations to focus on online broadcasting, and we look forward to working with producers and viewers to ensure that they can still create, distribute and access community television content, for many years to come,” he said.
Minister for Communications and Arts Paul Fletcher revealed the extension last night on Q&A ahead of the official announcement today, saying the federal government will work with both Channel 31 and its Adelaide sister station Channel 44 to assist the transition from television to an online platform.
“We think the best way for them to operate is in a digital mode,” said Minister Fletcher. “That’s been the government’s policy since 2014. We’re going to spend the next 12 months on that.”
Our Facebook page has our full media release:
— Channel 31 (@C31Melbourne) June 29, 2020
Find out more here.
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