WTV off air in Perth “until further notice”

Perth's community TV group makes a brutal decision to cease broadcasting.

Perth’s community TV broadcaster WTV is doing it tough, forced to cease broadcasting on Free to Air.

Instead it will focus on social media and YouTube.

A post on Facebook last night said, “Dear loyal WTV c44 viewers. WTV is currently off free-to-air television until further notice. There will be more updates to follow. In the meantime – our Undercurrent journalists will be bringing to you a variety of stories to enjoy on FB. We will also proceed to develop our YouTube channel further with more WTV productions. We thank you for your ongoing support. We appreciate your audience very much.”

West Television is a non-profit organisation, run mostly by students and volunteers. It began broadcasting in 2010 following the demise of Access 31.

In December WTV told its followers online, “Perth. We have a problem. For years, we have acted as a training ground and talent incubator in Perth, Australia. But what you might not know is that we have been limping on by last-minute licence extensions since 2015. Unfortunately, today we have to break the news to you that we might not be able to hold out much longer.”

A GoFundMe campaign set up last week was hoping to raise $30,000 for facilities, equipment and administration costs.

“West TV needs your help. We are a community-based television station based in East Perth.  The federal and state government do not fund community television here in Perth, Western Australia. We, at WTV, want to bring to you the true community spirit.Perth is built up of many cultures. We would like to share your stories, passions and news. Therefore, we are asking you to help us now,” the campaign advised.

The Community broadcasting sector in Australia has had a difficult 5 years after then-Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered all broadcasters in 2014 to move to an online model with their broadcast spectrum to end. Pleas from the community has led to multiple extensions now until 30th June 2020.

4 Responses

  1. Well I often wondered who was monitoring what was going on when an interview would end in mid sentence to jump to a commercial and then never return to the original programme. This would happen quite often in the middle of a show I was watching. On the other hand, I really liked the news presented by Al Jazeera, RT, and DW as well as some of the 1940s vintage film-noirs (with only one commercial break!). So yes, I am sad to see Channel 44 sink into oblivion while other home grown idiot TV shows prosper.

  2. … to put this in it’s proper historical perspective, community TV was to be kicked off the digital channel known as “the sixth channel” effective from the end of 2014 by the previous communications minister Stephen Conroy in his 2012 “Convergence Review”, Turnbull extended that date. The difference was that Conroy made vague promises about finding “permanent spectrum allocation” whereas Turnbull headed straight to the inevitable online model. As far as being “a training ground and talent incubator”, this was a role that used to be undertaken by regional TV until Hawke killed that with his “aggregation” model and by the smaller capital city stations until Keating killed that with his abolition of “the 2-station rule”. Today’s sad reality is that television broadcasting is completely dictated by moguls in Sydney – a model that is itself being threatened by the OTT services.

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