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Video clip synopsis – The role of community television in general and its role in training TV personalities.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 2min 30sec
Tags - audiences, broadcasting, communities, culture, diversity, media and society, media ownership, media production, television, see all tags


Community TV

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About the Video Clip


The interviews with Mac Gudgeon and Corinne Grant were recorded for the website From Wireless to Web produced in 2005.

Mac Gudgeon is a screenwriter and a community television advocate. Corinne Grant is a comic, writer and actor. You can view their full biographies at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Area of study 3. Australian media organisations

This area of study focuses on an analysis of Australian media organisations and the social and industrial framework within which they operate.

Media products are produced within a cultural, aesthetic, legal, political, economic, institutional and historical framework. Their production, distribution and circulation is affected by law, self-regulatory codes of conduct, industry pressures and the practices of particular media organisations. Other factors (for example, sources of revenue, ratings, circulation, ownership and control) influence the nature and range of media texts produced by individual organisations. Consideration of the impact of these factors on media organisations and their products is important in developing an understanding of the production role of different Australian media organisations.

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


In 1989 angry Germans took to the Berlin Wall with pickaxes and the 'old world order’ collapsed. Then the first Gulf War saturated the media, leading a parade of local conflicts from around the world into our homes during the 1990s. Globalisation became the buzzword and millions hooked up to the internet. Australians searched for a place in the 'new world order’. Some embraced it, some turned 'green’ and adopted the slogan, 'think global, act local’. Others simply turned off.

1992 Community TV (CTV)
Channel 31 (Sydney) promotes itself as being ‘free, fresh and for all’. Channel 31 (Melbourne) broadcasts programs for 18 hours every day of the week, and averages the production of 63 hours of first-run locally made programs each week. Channel 31 (Adelaide) states that its mission is 'to present quality programs that educate, entertain and are relevant to the people of Adelaide … to showcase all the wonderfully diverse faces and facets of our city … [and] to bring together the people of Adelaide in real community spirit’.

Community television (CTV) is open-access television for individuals and groups from all areas of the community including educational institutions, filmmakers, multicultural and community groups, sporting bodies and local businesses – indeed, just about anyone of any age who wants to get involved in television.

Community television programming reflects a wide range of communities including language groups, environmental and social justice groups, and gay and lesbian programming, as well as local information, local sport, student productions, Indigenous programs, panel discussions and magazine-style entertainment. This list represents only a small portion of the possible culture groups, taste groups, civil society organisations and local government agencies that might participate in community television.

Community television – allocated to Channel 31 on the UHF band – was launched in 1992. CTV stations are not-for-profit organisations, self-funded mostly through airtime sales and individual and corporate sponsorship. CTV caters to community interests not served by network or pay-TV. However Channel 31 Melbourne also allows a commercial operator, Renaissance TV, to use its transmitter.

CTV has been made possible by new low-cost technologies, especially affordable and relatively portable video recording equipment, and is characterised by low-budget 'niche’ productions. There are six licensed CTV operators in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Lismore. Current CTV licences run to 2006.

Classroom Activities


Answer the following questions from the Video Clip Context and the video clip itself:

  1. Mac Gudgeon in a broadcaster interview said that ‘because it is cheap to produce, community TV can take risks’. What do you think he meant by this and what risks do you think community TV should be taking?
  2. List what you see as the advantages and disadvantages of community TV versus community radio. Draw up a table to present your conclusions.
  3. Develop an idea for a show that you and your friends could present on community television.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

C31 Melbourne