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Aus radio industry wants content quotas punted

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Peak radio industry body Commercial Radio Australia has called for the scrapping of quotas for local music on radio nationally and dropping the minimum local program content rules for regional areas.

In its submission to the government’s Convergence Review the CRA claims that maintaining local content levels is ''unsustainable and inequitable'' for its members - highly profitable commercial radio stations - particularly as Internet radio stations do not have to comply with the same content rules.

Under current regulation commercial radio must play 25 percent Australian music between 6 am and midnight but only a quarter of that needs to be a ‘new’ release ie released in the last 12 months (which could explain why members of GenY think that Sherbet and Skyhooks are actually contemporary rock acts).

The Australian Independent Record Labels Association GM Nick O’Byrne described the CRA’s position as “disingenuous rubbish”.

“Owning a license to broadcast in Australia is a privilege, not a right. Bandwidth should be treated like any other finite Australian natural resource. Commercial Radio stations are granted a license to broadcast by the Australian Government under the condition that they adhere to the Broadcasting Services Act whose aim is ‘to promote the role of broadcasting services in developing and reflecting a sense of Australian identity, character and cultural diversity’,” he said.

The Convergence Review Committee is scheduled to issue a draft report by the end of the year and seek more industry feedback before publishing the definitive document and recommendations. ®

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