Radio chiefs issue statement calling for Senate to tackle radio prominence

By AdNews | 8 April 2024

The bosses of Australia's major radio networks have issued a joint statement calling on the ongoing Senate inquiry into free-to-air television prominence to include radio prominence for smart speakers.

The statement by ARN chief executive Ciaran Davis, Nine Radio managing director Tom Malone, NOVA Entertainment chief executive Peter Charlton and SCA chief executive John Kelly also urged the government to begin immediate consultation on radio prominence in cars.

"It is essential to both the radio industry and communities that regulations are introduced to ensure free, easy, and reliable access to local radio for all Australians – whether they are listening to smart speakers or in connected cars," the statement said.

"Smart speakers are becoming more common in Australian homes, and we are concerned this is creating a situation where global tech companies are the gatekeepers of our audio choices, shutting out local radio.

"Equally as concerning is that very soon all new cars will come with a connected dashboard, with Google, Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music – but there is no guarantee they will have easy access to local radio."

The statement said that the issues facing the sector are a matter of both community safety and the sustainability of the Australian radio industry.

"We are calling on the government to act now to ensure radio is not left behind, so we can continue to provide an essential service to communities across Australia," the statement said.

The senate is currently reviewing the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-siphoning) Bill 2023, which would legislate to support the ability of Australian consumers to easily find and readily access free to-air television services on internet connected television devices with minimal effort, input or technical skills and knowledge.

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