Am To Fm Conversions In Solo Markets

4RBL from near Bulahdelah (Great Lakes) is being earmarked for 94.1 MHz (it’s in the ACMA Broadcast Transmitter Data dated May 3, but I don’t think it’s on-air yet), so 93.9 would be too close for 2RE.

Another option for 2RE would be to either:

  • Swap with TAB for the 105.7 MHz frequency
  • Use either 91.3 or 92.1 MHz.

That 94.1 has been ‘on the books’ for years and it’s never happened, so I’m factoring that one out as well.

91.3 and 92.1 could be used but mutual interference to 91.5 and 92.3 from Moombil might be an issue. They are usually very listenable into the 2RE/Max licence area. 105.7 is probably unsuitable for a high powered service due to ABC Muswellbrook. Co-channelling the Middle Brother and Tamworth services is already pushing it.

Both of which resulting in valuable spectrum being wasted - its bad enough that most of those markets have little or no access to alternate voices other then the ABC

Stop dicking around with analogue radio and start rolling out digital radio regionally


Which in many regional markets will be a single 5kW transmitter from the current FM site - totally unsuitable to actually cover the market.

If radio operators aren’t willing to keep AM services alive for their coverage - they certainly aren’t going to invest in the infill transmitters in an SFN all on fairly low power - including establishing many new transmission sites - all to service a listener base on digital that they largely have already captive on analogue.

If this was just the ACMA dragging their feet, Hobart would have commercial DAB right now.


Neither organisation particularly covers themselves with glory when it comes to this - CRAs efforts to encourage the government to continue the rollout have been half-baked while it’s preposterous that one govt agency in ACMA holds the power to receive regulate spectrum and media (including ownership)

The conversion program is nothing more then helping entrench incumbent players by assisting them reduce cost - FM spectrum is a valuable community asset and poor spectrum planning in the past has resulted in some of the mess that is being discussed in this forum about future frequency allocations. Many of the markets that have been identified already have the FM band filled with what are in effect duplicates of the same offering (be it from commercial or abc) and it’s just not good enough

For all the complaints about the loss of ‘voices’ in our media very little is actually done to open up opportunities for expansion

(And I’ve strayed off-topic… If there is any interest in discussing this we might split it into a new thread)


Changes to regional Tasmania radio services

Listeners of commercial radio stations 7BU Burnie, 7AD Devonport and 7SD Scottsdale in Tasmania may soon have to change the dial if the ACMA accepts proposals by these stations.

The proposals will make FM spectrum available for 7BU and 7AD to convert from AM to FM transmission, and allow 7SD to simulcast its Scottsdale AM transmission in FM.

‘FM radio provides improved audio quality for listeners in regional areas and can be more cost-effective to operate than AM radio,’ said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

‘A number of regional commercial radio stations are seeking to convert their services to FM under an industry-led conversion program. ACMA will facilitate a conversion if we are satisfied that audiences in regional areas do not lose important radio services under the proposal,’ Ms O’Loughlin said.

Scottsdale is the first licence area for which the ACMA has proposed a simulcast arrangement, as the new FM signal won’t cover all the areas served by the AM, including Flinders Island.

‘The licensee, Grant Broadcasters, has assured ACMA that it has no current plans to turn off the Scottsdale AM station. However, we think simulcasting arrangements are necessary for the foreseeable future so that audiences do not miss out,’ Ms O’Loughlin said.

‘We now want to hear from the local audiences of these Tasmanian stations their views on the conversion and simulcasting proposals.’

The ACMA is also proposing to make spectrum available for a second commercial radio service in Queenstown. The new FM channel will enable the 7AUS commercial service to transmit for the first time. The current 7XS service will continue on its existing FM frequency.

A consultation paper released today sets out the variations proposed for licence area plans (LAPs) for each area.

Deadline for submissions is 5 July 2018.


The ACMA is currently consulting on proposals to:

Convert commercial radio stations 7BU in Burnie and 7AD in Devonport from AM to FM.
Allow the Queenstown commercial radio licensee to provide a second FM service in addition to 7XS.
Allow the Scottsdale 7SD commercial radio service to simulcast in FM—the service will continue to be available on the existing AM frequency.

Make other minor changes to the technical specifications of services in the above areas, as well as in Hobart and Launceston.

These changes will be implemented by a variation to the licence area plans (LAPs) for Burnie, Devonport, Queenstown, Scottsdale, Launceston and Hobart. The changes are described in detail in the consultation paper, which is available for download in the table above.

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Burnie RA1
7BU - 558AM ➤ 100.9FM. New infill transmitters at Burnie City & Stanley (107.3FM).
7SEA - New infill transmitters at Burnie City (95.3FM), Smithton (95.3FM) & Stanley (105.7FM)

Unallocated ABC/SBS - 101.1FM ➤ 93.7FM, 99.3FM ➤ 92.9FM
7ABCRR - 102.5FM ➤ 92.1FM

Devonport RA1
7AD - 900AM ➤ 98.9FM. New infill transmitter at Barrington Valley (94.9FM).

Queenstown RA1
7XS - 837AM ➤ 92.1FM.
7AUS - 92.1FM ➤ 95.3FM.

Scottsdale RA1
7SD - New infill transmitters at Scottsdale (95.7FM), St Helens (92.1FM) and St Marys (105.1FM).
7RGS - New infill transmitters at St Helens (90.5FM) and St Marys (103.5FM)

Other changes
Hobart RA1
New unallocated HPON: 104.3FM

Northern Midlands RA1
Unallocated community: 95.7FM ➤ 97.5FM

Is this true? I’ve seen brief mentions of ‘Aus FM’ online before, but nothing to confirm its existence as anything more than a 7XS simulcast

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Reading the LAP for the AM-FM conversions for Tasmania that has just been released, let’s see how right I am with what FM frequencies I predicted for commercial AM stations to convert to.



98.9 is the frequency proposed for 7AD, but it’s still within the same frequency spacing, so I was on the right track.


So I got 2 out of 3 predictions correct. As Meatloaf says, “cause 2 out of 3 ain’t bad”. :sunglasses:


DAB is not going to succeed it’s already superseded by internet streaming. It’ll be more common in cars than DAB ever will be. FM will continue, not sure there’s going to be much of a future of AM outside big cities into the future.

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“But sir, our mast is rusting past the point of restoration and we don’t want to spend the money on AM infrastructure so we have to turn it off”.

When 4TO’s mast had suffered from underinvestment, it too was closed and demolished.

This for Scottsdale must be a licence condition.

As for the Bass Strait islands, fortuitous reception of Tasmanian commercial stations will most likely end. Camerons should be providing out of area translators there.

Reminder: we have until end of Friday to provide feedback on the Bathurst disaster. Compromised main frequency, lack of comparable specs from the one site for two equal licences and wasteful clogging of spectrum keeping translators running as well as ongoing op-ex costs for the licensee, whomever that may be.

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You can kiss goodbye to ABCFM Illawarra reception in the NE corner of TAS. 7SD-FM will most likely be on air by the time I get down there again.

At least with the new St Marys repeaters we will have a few more Es targets in Sydney since nearly all Tassie FM occupies either Sydney or Illawarra channels. The new HPON for Hobart is an oddball: why not 104.1? There was also a mooted HPON for 94.9 MHz at one point (has this been revoked, or replaced in favour of 104.3)? This is also good for Sydney DXers.


Well done, @TV-Expert !

It’s a wonder why the likes of Ladbrokes don’t offer betting markets on the proposed frequencies :grinning:
They do for almost everything else.
You’d be rich.


Turns out that 7AD has been allocated 94.9 for its proposed Barrington Valley infill transmitter.

94.9 was ‘unsuitable’ and thus replaced by 104.3

Time will tell but I’m not convinced. I think DAB is gaining some momentum. I hear it all the time in shops. I don’t hear streaming. Streaming is fiddly and I for one hate the data use.


And streaming can still suffer from buffering.


shops aren’t cars. cars are where most people listen to radio who don’t post here.

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DAB should have been standard in all cars from 2010/2011.


The car is where I listen to the most radio too. I have DAB in the car and there’s no way I’d be bothered fiddling around with streaming in the car, chewing up data and phone battery when I can just flick through DAB stations so easily, for free. It’s just my preference but I suspect many like me find it more convenient when driving. Not to mention the drop outs and buffering that still occur during streaming.

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Is that part of the license area for Flow FM?

I’ll certainly miss being able to easily listen to Tasmanian radio once the AM stations go off air. I suppose 7SD is something at least.

Still don’t get why HPONs keep being allocated - we should be shutting them down not allowing more. They waste frequencies that could be put to better use with either commercial or community radio - rather than narrowcast networks pumping in country music or gospel.