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Community television is an invaluable training ground. We must secure its future

When it was announced that community television would lose its licence to broadcast over free-to-air, all I could hear was James Blunt singing “goodbye, my lover; goodbye, my friend” on repeat. CTV was the warm, nurturing home for screen practitioners finding their feet in a cut-throat industry.

Audiences may remember or know Melbourne’s Channel 31 as the home of Fish Cam. While this is a highlight for some, there is much more to C31. Despite having zero funding from taxpayers, 90% of community television is Australian made. Incredibly, this 220 hours of content every week is produced by some 1,000 volunteers. What a legacy.

Channel 31 Melbourne has been my training ground in film and television since 2017. Like many before me – and many at its sister station, Channel 44 Adelaide – community TV was where I gained experience both in front of and behind the camera. This was thanks to the fantastic internship program C31 has been running for several years, which I was lucky enough to take part in.

I have been able to do everything and anything my television-loving heart desired, from hosting and interviewing, filming and editing, ingesting and scheduling programs, to line running and live broadcast. From lengthy road trips in rural Victoria, to rushing through Melbourne’s bustling CBD during the international comedy festival to film live interviews with comedians.

When the internship ended, I was encouraged to work as a freelancer for the studio and station. I was given room to grow, time to learn from errors made, and the resources and training that courses within film and television schools tend to skim over.

C31 had my back.

Community television has been under threat since the federal government

About Michael
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