Security and status

Security and status Book Section

A History of Regional Commercial Television in Australia

  • Author(s): Thurlow, Michael
  • Secondary Author(s): Thurlow, Michael
  • Published: 2022
  • Publisher: Springer International Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-3-031-10944-7

Abstract: This chapter examines the changing status of regional commercial television between 1981 and 1986. The period was notable for several developments which, on the surface, appeared to reaffirm the role of regional television in its existing form. These included the Fraser Coalition government’s stalling of plans to introduce pay television in the lead-up to the 1983 election; the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal’s (ABT) 1983 inquiry into localism in broadcasting; the Hawke Labor government’s 1983 Supplementary Licence Scheme (SLS) which offered the means to increase viewer options while maintaining the status quo; the government’s 1984 decision to establish a zone-based Remote Commercial Television Service (RCTS) controlled by regional stations; and the first community-based efforts at Indigenous broadcasting. This apparent commitment to localism coupled with the sector’s strong financial position gave the regionals an ultimately false sense of security. This chapter argues the government’s 1984 decision to establish a zonal rather than national satellite television beam was the sector’s sixth liminal moment. The regionals believed that the RCTS, in conjunction with the SLS, would provide the means to expand the number of services in their markets while preserving their valuable monopolies. These conditions brought the first increase in localism since services began in the 1960s and a further slowing of declines in independence.

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Thurlow, Michael, 2022, Security and status, Book Section, viewed 21 February 2024,

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