Australia’s community television station Channel 31 will have its last day on air on 31 December 2016.
After 22-years of community broadcasting the network will be switched off due to the federal government’s decision to withdrawn funding of the operation.
Channel 31 broadcasts the popular weekly music show Wrokdown, starring Wendy Stapleton. Eight seasons of Wrokdown have been produced giving a voice to many heritage Australian artists such as Normie Rowe, Neale Johns, Brian Cadd, Doug Parkinson and Ronnie Charles to tell their story.
Channel 31 has been a breeding ground for commercial television talent. Rove McManus, Waleed Aly and Hamish & Andy began their careers in front of Channel 31 cameras.
The Australian federal government has been the grim reaper of the Arts sector slashing funding to the ABC and stopping music program of Radio National, attempting to stop funding to Sounds Australia (but reneging under pressure from Tony Burke MP and the Labor opposition, but now decapitating community television and Channel 31.
The Turnbull government expects Channel 31 to self-fund, something near impossible for a community station to do. The government expects channels like 31 and the shows it produces are best housed online.
The closure will affect broadcasts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. More than 50 people will lose their jobs as a result of the Turnbull government decision but that does not take into consideration the number of people employed by community groups to create the programming.
The final week of broadcasts in December 2016 will feature a 144-hour live marathon with people from the past who contributed to the station coming back for a final appearance.