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Access 31 pulls the plug on Edith Cowan studios

COMMUNITY television station Access 31 will move to new premises when its lease expires at the end of the year.

While the location of the new premises had not been confirmed, managing director Andrew Brine said Access 31 was looking into an 800 square metre property in Belmont.

He said the network had undertaken a year-long search for a new home after deciding to move from its current head-quarters at Edith Cowan University’s Mt Lawley campus, where it had been based since its inception in 1999.

Mr Brine said that, pending Belmont City Council approval, the station was aiming to relocate by November.

He said Access 31 would maintain its on-air services during the move.

Mr Brine said the financial difficulties earlier this year, during which time the station was placed into voluntary administration, are now in the past.

“Those problem areas have been dealt with,, so they are no longer a problem,” he told WA Business News.

“We have cleared a lot of the problems and differences the station had.”

Access 31 is one of five consortiums to have applied to the Australian Broadcasting Authority for the single five-year community television broad-casting licence being offered in Perth.

In previous years WA’s community television network has only been granted a series of one-year licences.

ABA media and public relations manager Donald Robertson said the association was currently in correspondence with the applicants on a number of issues.

The other applicants, if successful in their bids, will be looking to provide an alternative service to the community, while building on Access 31’s community focused groundwork.

The WA Media Group, which holds the licence for the community radio station Fremantle Radio, is one of the five interested parties in WA.

Spokesman Dr Edward Walker said that with 16 years of radio behind it and the broadcast infrastructure already in place, the group decided it would like to extend its services into television.

“It wasn’t a sudden inspiration, we have thought about it for a few years,” he said.

“We saw the opportunity to provide access in another medium other than sound.”

The bid by the Australian College of Entertainment, led by Glenn Stapleton, is looking towards building a nation-wide community network.

The group said it would not develop a national television model, but instead look to establishing initiatives such as national vocational training in film, television, radio, multimedia and performing arts.

Community News Television is proposing a news focus in its application for the licence.

Chairman Graham Edwin said the number of print publications serving the community was an indication that a CNN-style rolling news format concentrating on local news, events and issues had a place on community television.

Between news updates, there would be an opportunity for local television contributions, he said.

The other applicant, West TV, has indicated it will work closely with the community to provide the best television coverage, while providing the opportunity for representative groups to come forward with production ideas.

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