C31 Melbourne and Geelong – the Melbourne Community Television Consortium is Victoria’s not-for-profit community television service providing locally-based entertainment, education and information. Transmitted from Mount Dandenong, C31 provides access and representation to the many diverse communities within Victoria. You can find faces, voices and issues which are not present in mainstream television.
We broadcast over 90 new locally-made programs every week. These programs are produced by community television volunteers and independent television makers.
What is Community TV?
Community Television is a not-for-profit television service providing local and diverse communities access to television broadcasting, and presenting news and issues not covered by commercial or government funded stations.
The Community Television Sector in Australia is vibrant and diverse, with television stations in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, and over 3.8 million Australians tuning in each month, in addition to the thousands of people who view programs online and through other mediums, all around the world.
Melbourne Community Television Consortium Ltd (ACN 104 562 076) is a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee. It holds the community television licence allocated to serve the general community within the Greater Melbourne and Geelong licence area, and operates the television service broadcast as C31.
The Melbourne Community Television Consortium was formed in 1990 to lobby for the allocation of a trial community broadcasting licence in Melbourne. The consortium was initially comprised of several groups which had conducted brief, short range test broadcasts in the late
1980s. Licensing of community TV broadcasters commenced in early 1994, under a Temporary Open Narrowcast licence.
C31 began regular broadcasting on 6 October 1994. Initially the station only broadcast programs for a few hours each evening, and on three or four days per week. This soon expanded to a seven day a week service for six hours per night, with the remaining time filled with the ever popular FishCam. 2001 saw the station commence daytime broadcasting, and 24 hour programming began in 2004 with the implementation of a server-based playout system.
Legislation to allow for permanent licensing of community television services was introduced in 2002, and C31 was allocated the permanent licence for Melbourne in 2004.
C31 currently broadcasts over 90 first-run locally produced programs each week. The station has a cumulative audience of around 1.4 million viewers each month; this is approximately one third of the population of Melbourne and Geelong. The consortium has over 40 member and affiliate organisations covering a wide range of communities of interest.
Unlike the ABC and the SBS, community television is not government funded. C31 raises most of its revenue from sales of sponsorship announcements and by charging airtime access fees for some programs. In this way, C31 is financially self-sufficient and is able to give free access to airtime for the programs produced by its member and affiliate organisations.
In November 2009, the Federal Goverment announced a pathway for community television to transition to digital broadcasting, by allocating the broadcast spectrum known as Channel A and funding for digital transmission equipment. C31 officialy began it’s digital broadcast on June 11, 2010.