Commercial radio to share in $50M fund to boost regional news

Publisher & Content Director

The Government has revealed the 107 regional publishers and broadcasters to share in a $50 million fund committed to supporting regional news services.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said today that the funding will support newspaper businesses and commercial broadcasters across regional and remote Australia.

“These are unprecedented circumstances in regional media – with COVID-19 triggering catastrophic drops in advertising revenue leading to many newspapers suspending operations and threatening the sustainability of regional broadcasters,” he said.

“Through this program, the Government is providing $20 million for television, $18 million for publishing and $12 million for radio, with funds to flow from July.

Southern Cross Austereo confirmed it would receive “approximately $10 million” from the Government for its 78 regional stations and its regional television network.

“Regional communities and businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19,” SCA chief Grant Blakley said. “As Australia’s largest regional media business, SCA is no exception.

“This funding will assist SCA‘s network of radio and television stations continue to keep Australians and their local communities in regional and remote Australia informed about news and events that matter most to them.”

Of the 107 eligible applicants, there are 92 publishers, 13 for radio and five for television. Three applicants were successful across two streams.

Fletcher also said in a statement on Monday (June 29) that the majority of recipients operate small-to-medium businesses.

“Successful applicants will put these funds to good use to support a broad range of activities such as wages, training and technology upgrades that will allow them to keep delivering news that local communities need and want,” he said.

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George Danes
1 Jul 2020 - 1:43 pm

Local news is a start, what about local content.
Country radio, has never recovered from those wide eyed speculative buyers,
who thought by buying stations, and keeping the one program on all the stations they bought, would fulfil their country audience obligations.
It failed.

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