Community’s seniors to miss out on dedicated radio station

PLANS for a dedicated seniors’ radio station have been thwarted by efforts to get local AM stations 6PR and 6IX onto the FM band.

Capital Community Radio, which was established last year with a view to providing news, music and information to seniors in the Perth area, claims a push to get 6PR and 6IX onto the FM band has robbed the aspiring broadcaster of an FM licence.

“At the end of last year the ABA told us there was a FM frequency available for an aspirant community radio station,” Capital Community Radio secretary Patricia Lawrence said.

“They told us quite definitely that there was one (a frequency) available but they didn’t tell us how many others had applied. Now we are informed (by the ABA) there are none available and they cannot progress our applications any further.

“The ABA received a number of submissions, including a number of conversions from AM to FM … the conversion of these frequencies from AM to FM would appear to have exhausted any additional FM frequencies (in the draft licence area plan for Perth).”

Capital Community Radio feels its application for a licence has been pushed aside by the heavyweight players in the game

“We are a totally voluntary staff. We applied in the year of the older person and we’re all seniors and this is the year of the volunteer, but we’re not given any serious consideration in competition with the commercial stations,” Ms Lawrence said.

The application for a licence was accompanied by letters of support from State Government agencies, seniors’ organisations and the Australian Pensioners League, which has offered studio and office space for the station in Perth.

“We are still getting letters of support for our application, which shows the depth of feeling about our request for a frequency,” Ms Lawrence said.

“We’re told the licence area plan (for Perth) is still under consideration but we’re told we’re no longer an applicant.”

The ABA claims no decision has been made, as yet, on Perth’s area licence plan.

“It’s still all up in the air. We’ve still got an open mind on these issues and we are seeking public comment on that and we hope to form a plan in the next few weeks,” Australian Broadcasting Authority manager of media and public relations Donald Robertson said.

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