FM Spectrum Replan - Perth

The consultation paper for replanning the FM band in Perth has been released:
https://www.acma.gov.au/consultations/2021-04/fm-broadcasting-services-band-perth-ra1-licence-area-consultation-172021

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6WSM/SportFM moving to 107.0 FM is an interesting outcome.

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Yes- why not 106.9? Enough spacing between 106.5 (HPON) and HFM (107.3) I would have thought.

I reckon Option 4 will be pursued, if anything…

It’s in the CRA’s interests to lobby for option 1, IMO.

Option 5 will never happen. Option 3 opens up the band for commercial competition, and will also never happen.

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If Option 1 is pursued, which would see all the ABC AM services, as well as 6iX & 6PR convert to FM, that would mean that the nearest commercial and/or ABC AM services to Perth would be in Northam, Bunbury/Busselton (on a sidenote, I think ACMA should convert at least one of the Bunbury commercial AM stations to FM) & Dalwallinu. Therefore, the only remaining AM services in Perth/Mandurah would be the HPON services (SENTrack on 657, Vision Australia Radio on 990 and TABradio on 1206 & 1449).

Apart from having the extra stations, that would also make DAB+ almost obsolete in Perth, considering that all the major AM stations could be heard on FM, and arguably with better audio quality & signal range than on DAB+.

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Not having the ABC powerhouses on AM in Perth there will be reception gaps in more remote areas? Or is the soil issue that bad it negates any advantage of AM radio over there. Never have been Western Australia before, if i did I love to go on a road trip to test it out.

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Hmm I don’t know. I think Nine would scream blue murder at Option 4. Having ABC Local on FM and 6PR on AM… I don’t think that would fly.

I think Option 1 is likely. Although it’s a real gift to 6IX and 6PR, a “free” FM conversion which used to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Wonder if anyone in the Government will twig to the potential loss of revenue.

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Not sure about everyone else, but I personally wonder if ARN and/or Nova Entertainment would express interest in acquiring 6iX and 6PR a bit after converting to FM.

Now don’t get me wrong, it probably wouldn’t be that great for either ownership or format/musical diversity in the market. But from a business perspective you’d think the other two commercial FM heavyweights wouldn’t want SCA to completely dominate Perth radio.

Probably, but the question is whether the current owners are interested in selling.

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If ARN were to acquire either station, they would have to sell 50% of Nova 93.7 to Nova Entertainment so that they can be able to buy a 2nd station in the Perth market, and then probably align it with KIIS to allow 96fm to join the Pure Gold Network.
If Nova Ent were to acquire one of the stations, then I could see them relaunch it as Smooth.

It would be a bit sad to see 6iX consign to history if it converts to FM & then Capital/Grant decide to sell it and then being bought by ARN or Nova, but compared to 4KQ & Cruise, who are #2 overall in their respective markets, it’s not doing very well for an AM music station, in which they’re ranked 8th overall.

ABC Radio Perth would also benefit from a potential FM conversion, in which they haven’t been rating well compared to their other Local Radio stations in other major capital cities.

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SEN would probably want to launch a full sports feed on 882 or 1080 if 6PR and 6IX convert.

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Finally!

All or nothing on new services is a bit dumb. A middle ground option there would have been wise - such as converting all but News Radio - moving News Radio to the best AM coverage frequency (assuming that would be needed, usually local radio has the best signal, but I don’t know about Perth), and selling a new commercial license, perhaps both an AM and FM commercial license - as I’m sure you could sell one to SEN or TAB, even with coverage limitations.

100kW FM for News Radio is just unjustifiable use of spectrum I think.

Still - good to actually see movement, and I really hope that the ACMA are brave enough to allocate new commercial licenses into an underserved market.

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Welcome to Canberra, where News Radio occupies the last fm frequency, an 80KW fm service at the expense of 2CA converting to fm, or someone new coming in and shaking things up. Just how CRA and Joan Warner want it.

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Interesting, this comes after the last major change to Perth FM in 2002, which saw previous youth station Groove and Nova launch that year. Those two stations would battle it out over the next few years before Groove’s demise in 2008.

I remember the night when Radio Fremantle moved from 100.1 to 107.9, Heritage FM from 93.7 to 107.3 and Kalamunda Community Radio from 101.1 to 102.5. This will be KCR’s third frequency in their history should they move to 88.9.

No mention of 88.5 Ellenbrook in the report. I assume they will move to 88.1. The FM band is going to be absolutely chockers.

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How much did Nova pay for the FM licence in Perth? Interesting that 20 years later 6iX and 6PR might get one for free.

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I’m assuming 88.5 Ellenbrook and 88.9 KCR would be fine; that’s a 0.4 MHz separation between sub metro community stations which aren’t that geographically adjacent to one another. 88.1 is unlikely to be used again unless there is no other option; the ACMA are flirting with even channels as the 107.0 proposal indicates.

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$25 million.

Source: ABA NR33/2002

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It was one of the cheapest licences per head of population compared to $26M for less than 500 000 people on the Gold Coast.

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Seems unbelievably cheap compared to the $80M for Nova in Brisbane.

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Maybe because the Brisbane FM band is now pretty much full, so the buyer may have assumed there would be no more new AM or FM commercial licences there, the same of which can’t be said of Perth.

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