The Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has decided to cut the broadcast hours of the Armenian Language Radio program, and move the shortened version to a non-prime time slot on digital radio.
This decision severely restricts the number of listeners who can access the program, many being of a generation largely without digital radio access or Internet podcast know-how, and many who are at work during the suggested hours.
SBS has justified this decision by using the Australian Census as a rationale, which is flawed as it does not represent an accurate reflection of community numbers.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) calls on SBS to reverse this decision, which is insulting to the Armenian-Australian community and crippling to a very important radio resource.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia has launched a petition on its website, urging the SBS to restore the Armenian language radio program hours.
“The recent decision by the SBS to cut the broadcast hours of the Armenian language program, and move the shortened version to a new digital format. This will severely restrict the number of listeners, many of whom are of a generation largely without digital radio access or Internet podcast know-how. Since 1976, the Armenian community has relied on this important radio service as a crucial source for information.
The rationale behind your decision to cut the Armenian language program from three hours to one hour per week was based on the most recent Australian Census. The Census does not provide a true reflection of the Armenian community in Australia as it does not provide “Armenian” as an ethnicity choice, requiring individuals to manually input this information.
This arbitrary decision will have a negative impact on loyal community listeners, especially due to the new time slot allocated for the Armenian language program. The new hours between 17:00 to 18:00 are ill conceived and the move away from prime time is a detriment to the listening audience. This decision, coupled with the lack of an Armenian language television program in Australia, will further restrict the ability for local and international news to be broadcast in Armenian.
SBS has failed to take into account the needs of the Armenian-Australian community when making its decision in this regard. We call on the SBS to immediately reverse its illogical decision and restore the Armenian language program back to a longer program in a prime-time slot,” the petition reads.