- Hon. Malcolm TurnbullMinister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy
Hon Malcolm Turnbull: Please Grant an FM Broadcast license to 2PR FM
Dear fellow 2PR FM supporters,
We need a terrestrial FM station in Sydney that can advocate for the disabled, and have a playlist based on a large archival music library, over the existing commercial music FM stations. WE NEED TO LOBBY FOR GETTING 2PR FM A BROADCAST LICENCE IN SYDNEY!
Aside from the same songs everyday, Sydney's stations give very little to no air time to disability issues. Such topics LIKE the disability insurance scheme, the poverty rate of the disability support pension, the continuous diminishing special needs teachers, assisted transport, housing, parents support, and many other issues. Generally, coverage is always about asylum seekers, sports, polling performances of politicians, Afghanistan, carbon taxes, and lifestyle shows (gardening, renovations, and real estate).
2PR FM is currently test broadcasting on the internet at 2prfm.com. The station's aim is to acquire an FM license for the Sydney metropolitan area. The format will carry a large catalogue of music, and report the issues of disability rights, Asperger's Syndrome issues, and other material relevant for those with a disability and their families. In Sydney alone, funds and resources for those with disabilities are small to non existent.
Since 2005, I've completed a 500 page submission for getting 2PR FM licensed with a commercial broadcasting license with Clause H (handicapped) exceptions. Clause H denotes that the applicant applying for an FM license must have a disability that is preventing them from working at their full potential, must have been unemployed for 15 years or longer, and can demonstrate a service that is offering a program schedule that is not being offered in a certain market.
In my case, despite completing my HSC in the late 80s, several private and TAFE courses, work experiences, and worked on as many projects as possible - I've never been able to find paid work. I feel this is because of my Asperger's Syndrome and Visual impairment. Employers feel that I would be an OH&S risk. The general nature of a workplace such as tight deadlines, multitasking, understanding people's non verbal communications such as interpreting facial expressions, and intuition for judging what to do in a work situation is foreign to one with Asperger's Syndrome. With this in mind, how is someone with this condition suppose to live without any meaningful work or income?
A radio station with a strong disability awareness seems to be the only answer to this. A successful company in Denmark called "THE SPECIALISTS" has been catering for people with Asperger's with great results over the past 10 years. Why can't this be done in Sydney?
We want to petition the Hon Malcolm Turnbull to examine the radio spectrum situation in Sydney, and to grant 2PR FM a broadcast license to cover the entire city area. There are thousands of disabled people in Sydney which more then justifies the need for such a station.
It's important to note that the concept of 2PR FM has already been in progress for the last ten years. We have a program schedule, a format - In short a station already broadcasting. We only need an FM license, and a studio. This is because the station is currently being operated out of my flat.
My Clause H License submission has been presented to the Department of Broadband and Communications (DBCDE), Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), The Hon Senator Stephen Conroy, my local MP, the Hon Scott Morrison, and to the Shadow Minister for Communications; The Hon Malcolm Turnbull. Only Mr Turnbull was kind enough to lend me his ear but in general, there has been no progress with my submission, only a defiant "NO" from the Department of Broadband and Communications.
So in the end, we are lobbying for these government agencies, in particular the Hon Malcolm Turnbull to properly review our submission, and to give 2PR FM a commercial broadcast license with Clause H exceptions. More info about this can be found at http://www.savesydneyradio.com .
By signing this petition you support the idea of 2PR FM obtaining a Sydney wide FM license, for airing news, info segments, and updates about disability issues, and a station that carries an archival playlist of several thousand tracks.
Can you please help by sharing this link; http://www.savesydneyradio.com
Please also check out recent St George Leader Articles:
Volume stays up on radio debate:
Presenter's long fight for FM license:
Trivia whiz has bold radio dream:
- Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy
Hon. Malcolm Turnbull
- Prime Minister of Australia
To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Broadband and Communications
287-289 New South Head Road
EDGECLIFF NSW 2027
RE LICENSING OF 2PR FM FOR SYDNEY AREA
Dear Mr Turnbull,
I wish to take this opportunity to remind you of the imperative need for the licensing of 2PR FM in Sydney. Referring to the submission I submitted to parliament during 2012, and the petition currently active on change.org, you can see that this is a rather pressing issue that's gaining momentum.
Despite completing my HSC in the late 80s, several work experiences, courses (both private and TAFE), and side projects, I have found it impossible to locate any paid work. This is also considering that I've signed with numerous job agencies, and have made tens of thousands of job applications. I feel very much this is due to both my Asperger's Syndrome and visual impairment. Employers feel that these things contribute to higher insurance costs and OH&S risks, particularly when it comes to my low vision.
Someone with Asperger's Syndrome would find the elements of a modern workplace such as tight deadlines, multitasking, interpreting facial expressions, and intuition very hard to understand. This causes anxiety and in many cases a break-down in work-place relationships. With this in mind, understanding for those with the condition in an open employment situation is poor to non existent. Conventional thinking is that the person with Asperger's just has to adapt and fit in. This attitude is equivalent to expecting a wheelchair-bound person to walk whether they like it or not - This mentality is unacceptable but is unfortunately wide-spread.
It is very important to emphasise that I'm NOT just another guy who wants to start a station for playing his music - 2PR FM will be a voice for those with a disability. I'm currently part of both the NSW Aspect group and People With Disabilities (PWD), and regularly take part in their meetings. I also have a number of friends who suffer from various disabilities. Beside the lack of understanding and support for those with a disability (mainly those with Asperger's Syndrome), is the complete absence of any large scale platform to voice these concerns. Though the internet to a degree can be used to air such issues (such as facebook, twitter and blogs), the cluttered and fragmented nature of such a platform makes it difficult for a group to gain a focus like a radio station can.
Therefore the time for introducing 2PR FM could not be more apt then the present, as the station would present both a historical music format from an archival playlist of thousands of tracks, plus draw awareness to disabilities and special needs issues - two extremely important and desired components missing from Sydney radio programming.
An officer from the Department of Broadband and Communications told me in a telephone conversation that "Sydney's FM radio spectrum is full". Though this is true to a large degree, I've pointed out how this issue could be resolved in my submission with changing one or two stations around. Their reply letter also stated; "The broadcast license regime ensures equity in the allocation of broadcasting licenses which utilize a finite and valuable public resource; radio frequency spectrum". The letter also noted; "Broadcasting licenses, especially in large metropolitan markets such as Sydney are highly sought after. The broadcasting legislation requires licenses to be allocated via a priced based system (auction). There are no plans to change this".
They feel that introducing my Clause H License "would require significant changes to the broadcast licensing regime". Again, I disagree with this as once more these issues were pointed out, particularly in part two of my license submission. Judging by the short reply I received back from the department, and the lack of response from the previous Minister Senator Stephen Conroy, I don't even know if my submission has been read or taken seriously. The lack of correspondence I've experienced demonstrates an attitude that those with a disability face to often.
During the recent election campaign, there was a concerted effort on raising the profile of 2PR FM. This involved sending community service announcements to Channel 7 and Channel 9. Proposals of syndicating 2PR FM were also sent to FBI radio and 2RPH, however correspondence received back from all these media outlets noted that my proposals were declined. The need for such a station was also pitched as a news story to the 7:30 Report on ABC Television. The editor liked the idea of such a concept, but informed me that the programs roster had been commissioned for the foreseeable future. Not being able to get my station's election campaign aired on any of these outlets demonstrates again how disability issues are completely shut out.
Listening to ABC radio and some of the other stations in Sydney in recent days highlights the vital need for 2PR. The issues discussed were asylum seekers, carbon taxes, how politicians perform in the polls, Afghanistan, and lifestyle shows (gardening, travels, real estate, and renovations). Aside from the occasional mention of the Disability Insurance Scheme, the airtime dedicated to disability issues is rather insignificant.
Us disability people generally feel that we are still living in the Australia of the 1940's where such issues are deliberately hush hushed. During a recent meeting with an MP's secretary, I was told about the invaluable need for the business service centres for the disabled, a point at which I wanted to fall to the floor in her office. After informing her that these places pay disability workers around $1.70 an hour (ABC PM report 08/04/2011), she continued with how these places get disability people out of home and into work. I could not believe her ignorance. This is third world treatment that disability people receive here in Australia.
Only recently I was offered a Housing NSW property that did not remotely meet my required needs. The stairwell was dark, the structures like stairs, paths, and service areas were dangerous to negotiate, the building had no security, and ultimately the complex was well known for drug addicts. Every attempt of me trying to improve my circumstances has been stymied by government bureaucracy. I often have this overwhelming feeling of being an invisible person and would love to yell out to them, "Hello, I'm here, we have needs like everyone else, give us a chance".
Anyone I try to speak to in a position of any authority never has the time to speak to me - they are always off to a meeting, require me to send an e-mail which goes unanswered, or more commonly they are just not available. When it comes to my friends however, and acquaintances in the community they are always interested, and want to know how they can help. It would be nice if someone in a government position could adopt such a co-operative attitude. Instead we are met with indifference and apathy.
This issue is now gathering momentum, more and more people are becoming involved. They are many votes in this, and maybe it might motivate some action from you and others in getting 2PR FM licensed - I sincerely hope so as we have become sick to death of being ignored.
I would very much appreciate some dialog with you on the implementation of this issue and look forward to hear from you soon.
Mark Boerebach started this petition with a single signature, and now has 86 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.