Bipartisan parliamentary support for J-Air’s FM licence

March 4, 2020 by J-Wire Staff
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Melbourne-based Jewish radio station J-AIR has won bipartisan support in federal parliament in its fight against anti-Semitism through its bid for a dedicated and more powerful community-wide FM licence.

Sean Meltzer

J-AIR has argued to the Australian Communications and Media Authority that it needs its own dedicated frequency to educate the wider community about the scourge of rising anti-Semitism and to improve security in general through its partnership with the Community Security Group for the Melbourne Jewish community.

At the moment, J-AIR broadcasts on the low-powered frequency (or spectrum) 87.8FM rented from a secondary party.

The bid for community-wide spectrum won support from the Liberal and Labor parties during a debate in the House of Representatives in Canberra on Monday, 2 March.

A motion supporting J-AIR’s bid was moved by the Liberal member for Goldstein Tim Wilson. Mr Wilson’s motion called on ACMA to “consider the new relationship with the CSG and allocate J-AIR a community broadcasting licence in the Melbourne radio licence area”.

“J-AIR is one of the most important social institutions in Melbourne’s Jewish community. It’s an incredibly important part of the social fabric because it provides many Jewish Australians in our community, across Australia and overseas through the internet with the opportunity to directly hear about the issues that affect Jewish Australians,” Mr Wilson said.

“But one of the challenges that J-AIR has always faced has been around access to spectrum to be able to broadcast Jewish culture into the Australian context through a proper broadcast medium. They have constantly and unsuccessfully lobbied ACMA and regulators to make sure that they have access to spectrum to have a permanent home.”

Mr Wilson was supported by the Labor member for Macnamara Josh Burns, who said: “J-AIR is a wonderful, local community radio station. It is a place where ideas are spoken about, not just in relation to the Jewish community but also the wider community and our local community.

“We have a huge Jewish community in Macnamara, but they are also spread across Melbourne and the country, which is why it is nice to see so many of my follow parliamentarians supporting this motion,” he said.

In support, the Liberal member for Higgins Katie Allen said she would continue to encourage ACMA to work with J-AIR to secure a broadcasting licence. “Community radio helps ensure everyone in our community has a culturally relevant voice,” Dr Allen said.

Labor member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly said he heartily endorsed the call for ACMA to issue a community broadcasting licence to J-AIR.

“Reflecting on J-AIR, in particular, we have, as part of the wonderful cultural landscape, the contribution that the Jewish community of Australia has made — and the rich diversity of what is broadcast on J-AIR is a wonderful, living, breathing example of all that that community has contributed to this country,” Dr Kelly said.

Chairman of J-AIR Sean Meltzer said the Jewish community of Melbourne in particular was most appreciative of the bipartisan support shown by the federal politicians. “This bodes well for our future for a long time to come,” he said.

J-AIR’s signal is heard mainly the Caulfield area of Melbourne, but can be heard on a live stream at j-air.com.au

Comments

One Response to “Bipartisan parliamentary support for J-Air’s FM licence”
  1. Michael Barnett says:

    I’m very disappointed by J-AIR broadcasting an interview on Monday with Rabbi Mendel Kessin that said the coronavirus pandemic was due in part to the sexual immorality of gay men. These are not the actions of a responsible broadcaster, particularly one that is so determined to combat hate against the Jewish community.

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