Radio Goulburn proposes FM switch

Radio Goulburn is proposing to swap its transmission from AM to FM. members of the community can lodge submissions on the plan to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Radio Goulburn is proposing to swap its transmission from AM to FM. members of the community can lodge submissions on the plan to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Listeners of Goulburn radio station 2GN are being invited to make comment on a proposal to swap from AM to FM transmission.

The plan, currently before the Australian Media Communications Authority (ACMA), would see the station change from the 1368 AM frequency to 107.7FM.

ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said FM radio provided improved audio quality for listeners in regional areas and could be more cost-effective to operate than AM radio.

"A number of regional commercial radio stations are seeking to convert their services to FM under an industry-led conversion program," she said.

"The ACMA will facilitate a conversion after taking a number of issues into account. These include availability of suitable spectrum and being satisfied that audiences in regional areas do not lose radio services under that proposal.

"We now want to hear from the audiences in Bega, Cooma and Goulburn their views on the conversion proposals."

The plan would see transmission from Mount Gray using a 25-metre high antenna. Radio Goulburn currently transmits its 93.5FM station from Mount Gray. The station's River Street transmission, which has been used since 1932, would no longer be needed.

A consultation document lodged with ACMA stated that coverage loss was predicted to be between 2420 and 9370 people of a total 38,000 audience reached in the licence area. The main area of loss would be on the western boundary from Bungendore through to Gunning and Dalton.

Other areas affected would be parts of Marulan, Taralga, Tallong and Windellama, where valleys were shielded by terrain from Mount Gray. This could affect between 1360 and 4030 people but the numbers could be reduced by coverage from Canberra or Nowra commercial broadcasting services.

But it concludes that "the vast majority" of listeners will still be able to receive the broadcast following conversion. The proposal also suggests that ABC RN in Crookwell switches frequency from 107.7 to 104.5FM to prevent interference from 2GN's transmission.

Radio Goulburn manager Gail Bowdern said to the best of her knowledge, nobody would be losing out on coverage.

"It will improve our ability to reach listeners and we're excited to be working with ACMA to switch to FM," she said.

If approved, construction on the antenna could start by the end of the year. The AM transmitter would cease 28 days after conversion to FM.

Submissions on the proposals are due by April 26. More information about the conversion is available at www.acma.gov.au.