In the last 50 years we have seen the rise and now fall of one of our greatest technological advancements of the 20th century. Both terrestrial radio and TV saw their peak in 1990’s and, have been in decline ever since. Even with the advent of high definition and now 4k, our terrestrial television stations struggle to provide even a reasonable high definition signal. Our radio stations have gained little from the digital transmission arena and their signals still fail to get through the heavy iron laden sandstone of the upper north shore.
I have lived in the area most of my life and in our current home for 31 years, and for 31 years I have struggled to get all if any of the TV stations clearly, I struggle with good signals from radio stations and eventually gave up on terrestrial receivers the moment the Galaxy dish was offered followed by the Foxtel cable, and even though I have worked for many of the stations I gave up on free to air TV in the early 2000’s. Even after rebuilding the local community station in 2001, its little 200W transmitter struggling to even get out of Hornsby, let alone cover the Hornsby Shire.
So it was that I began early to depend on the internet for my multimedia experiences this was before Foxtel ventured there and the likes of Stan, Hulu and Netflix were not even in existence. I worked at Foxtel when they ventured into the realms of the internet with “Made for Mobile” and the IQ2 set top box paving the way in Australia for the internet broadcasters.
Now every radio and TV station depend heavily on the internet to keep an audience and to advertise in a world growing heavy with smartphones.
The choice we now have online is getting better but what of local information, our local content, our local businesses or do we just suffer the eternal stream of overseas content and limited imaginings from the likes of Screen Australia. What of all the community and cultural mixes we had with TVS after Turnbull pulled the pin on community TV in 2015, and the current realm of community radio stuck in the analogue world some 20 years behind the dying dinosaur of commercial radio.
We have gone from our dependence on the yellow pages and our local print media to guide us, into the absence of local based portals or media streams to teach us about our local surroundings, shops, and suppliers. For businesses this has major implications on how we should be advertising and how we get in front of our target audience.
As I watch my children grow I realise that the students of today are very connected, they don’t watch TV much, don’t listen to radio much, don’t read print media and are more than likely to be tuned in to podcasts and the on-demand structure from the likes of Netflix and other providers, all available on their smartphones which they are being given at a very early age.
Again I ask what of local content, what of the cultural mix around us and what chance do we have of getting our children involved in local enterprises, businesses and community organisations as they have a fast lane in to Hollywood productions but a dead end to community involvement, and then how do we as businesses get in front of the new millennials? How do we as businesses get on to the smart phone and OTT* platforms?
The only real way to achieve this in my mind is to start creating local online streaming services to provide local areas with both an information resource and a production resource backed by local businesses, to provide local advertising, local information and an opportunity for locals to learn various aspects of broadcast and podcast production. This would take a number of businesses and entrepreneurs investing in the now relatively simple technology, inline with members from different levels of the community helping to produce local content such as news, drama, documentaries, podcasts and, well considering the local youtubers and other locals on the various social media platforms it wouldn’t be to hard for quite a few people to deliver comprehensive information straight to your smartphone or OTT* platform. What say you?
* OTT – Over The Top Video Platform
David has worked in Television and radio since 1985 starting at Triple J, on to Channel 10, then Channel 9, Triple H then Foxtel. As a broadcast engineer, system engineer, editor, Camera man , Producer, Director and so on.