Broadcast Australia executives came to Cairns this week on a Road Show of their services to industry. Broadcast Australia is the largest owner of broadcast transmission sites in the country, and their Road Show group included Business Manager Commercial Broadcast Salvatore Mattera, General manager Customer service Stephen Minahan and Accounts Manager Commercial Masoud Rasouli. Transmission site costs are one of the biggest expense areas for most broadcasters, so the QRAM/Black Star team are keen to manage costs and get the best deal!
The invited guests were from the commercial and Indigenous broadcasting sector. The forum started with a presentation by Stephen Minahan, who was at pains to tell everyone that they were not here for the hard sell, but as an information day and customer service support. Perhaps it’s a change of direction now that the service is owned by a Canadian pension fund and not Macquarie Group. The group touched on the re-stack of digital channels, pushing everything down one end and opening up spectrum for sell off by government. The process is being fast-tracked and Broadcast Australia are involved. The Government to keen to sell off the spectrum to the datacasters and make a buck – this is what they call the ‘digital dividend’. So let’s hope this sale of a public asset goes to fund something else that is of long-term benefit to the country. Spectrum is a public asset, so the benefit must go to the public. That’s what I think anyway.
The presentation very informative and full of customer service advice. The new focus is on corrective maintenance, emergency management and fault response. Broadcasters at the forum who were on Broadcast Australia sites walked away with a lot of new info and had all of their questions answered. In terms of the Indigenous sector and QRAM, we were happy to hear that there are well-placed sites across Queensland, as QRAM is interested in expanding the Black Star network to other large indigenous populated areas in the state that don’t have an indigenous service
The day ended on a discussion of new and emerging technologies in broadcasting. The interesting things are the rapid take up of social media, data casting and digital radio take up in the Cap cities . Everyone in the industry had some ideas about the impact on overall direction of digital media. The discussion came around to digital radio in the country and indications are that it is coming to the larger regional areas now that it has bedded down in the Cap cities, the next will be sub metro, then regional if your in an indigenous remote community don’t hold your breath although we will have good old VAST it comes in digital and rebroadcasts to communities in FM, nothing wrong with that. The answer long term according to our hosts for remote indigenous radio is DRM and not satellite direct to car or home radio like Sirus satellite radio. DRM has the capacity to deliver radio over long distances which we are all to familiar with in remote communities.
One of the down sides and it is something to think about in Indigenous and community radio, is the changing social and digital environment has meant a rethink for BA how to maintain a solid maintenance base, as staff are lost to the new IT industries. The old RF guys are clutching their walking sticks and fishing lines, lovingly grasping their AM analogue radios, taking what’s left of their super and heading for the hills
BA has put together an innovative training module with TAFE Queensland and SA and has now began training their staff in the old fashioned apprenticeship way. For an old Boiler Maker with a crook back I like the idea.
Like us BA are here for the long hall well, not as long as us we been here 40,000 years bruz.