Melbourne community television station Channel 31, recently received a licensing extension to continue broadcasting for another year before moving to an online platform.
The announcement came on Monday, June 29, when Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, announced that the stations free-to-air license would be extended for an additional 12 months to allow broadcasting to continue.
Adelaide community station C44, also received a similar extension as well. Both companies were expected to stop operations on Tuesday, June 30, at 11:59 pm.
Minister Paul Fletcher explained that Channel 31 will be allowed to continue its on-air services, with the expectation that it will fully convert online after the reprieve is up.
The community television station provides programs for various demographics in multiple different languages, including content that’s in Greek. Currently, Channel 31 has been providing vital communication services throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with Fletcher’s initiative, Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley, also said that a grant of up to 106,000 euros ($120,000) will be awarded to C31 in order to help it transition to an online model. Foley’s announcement came on Tuesday, June 30.
Additional support is also expected to come via advertising investments from the Victorian Government, in order to ensure that C31 continues with its vital services.
In an interview session with Australian network ABC, Minister Martin Foley expressed how “community television is an important and highly valued service, particularly for members of Victoria’s diverse multicultural, disability and LGBTIQ communities.”
For Greek-Australians especially, Channel 31 is an important lifeline for the community, as the station includes religious services, seniors exercise classes, and educational programs.
C31 is reported to reach 660,000 viewers each month while broadcasting 100 shows a week, a feat that is made possible with the generous help of the stations 1,000 volunteers.
Since being launched in 1994, Channel 31 has featured various sources of Greek entertainment, including Greek Beat, Greek Current Affairs, and Greek Musical Portraits.