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Our new sponsor - the Strathmore Community Bank - came at just the right time.  They believe in what we are doing for the musicians of Australia, and in return we love that they care about their customers.  Their 'mother ship' - the Bendigo Bank - open friendly staffed branches in the country towns in Victoria when the larger banks pull out, and that builds confidence back into these often very small communities.   So thank you Strathmore CommunityBank and staff for your support - you don't know how important this will be for music.
 

Is it corporate greed that marks the end of free to air community tv in Australia? (click to download file or read below)
The week starting the 1st June 2015 marks the last ditched attempt by community TV to extend their use of the spectrum for another few years.  Community TV is the lifeblood of community.  In the huge scale of corporate media, it’s the voice of the people.  Like community newspapers and radio it tells you what’s happening in little Australia – in the pockets of suburbs.  In comparison to commercial media it relies on volunteers and trainees to find the content that relates to the community.  For example there may be a program on home handy work, which shows you the difference between a drill bit for wood, steel or masonry.  And the show may be sponsored by the small local wood yard.  These shows would never make it to commercial tv, but they are the lifeblood of communities.  And the local wood yard spends a fraction on advertising in comparison to the cost of the same on commercial tv.
I produce a music show on C31 Melbourne, and there are quite a few of us Australia wide trying to promote Australian artists.  If C31 loses their spectrum and becomes internet based, that’s the end of my show.  My audience is mostly over 50, a vast number don’t have computers, and all of them love the fact that we interview and play the new songs from the wonderful artists and entertainers that were the voices of our youth.  Commercial media rely on huge record companies to provide their music, and most of our Australian songwriters and artists are not regarded by these record companies as being worthy.  As a result, we community producers provide the community with what they want.  Whether it’s Bobby Bright, or Russell Morris, or Colleen Hewett, or Joe Dolce, or Paul Kelly, or hundreds of other legends, that’s what they’d rather see.  Community tv also gives a chance to your nephew and his mates who’ve written a pretty good song and their Dad filmed the clip.  Or your best friend’s daughter might get a chance to host a fashion show, or read the news.  Community tv is a great training ground.
The real crux of the matter for the government is that they think that everyone has a computer.  In fact it’s not even just the government.  If my mum wants to go to the next Neil Diamond concert, they say to ‘book online’.  It’s not that easy these days for our ageing population who are often told to ‘google it’.  You’re kidding right?  Many people got burned when computers came in.  They got scammed, ripped off, viruses took over and in the end the computer ended up at the tip.  Unless they have a tech whizz coming over each week to explain that the ‘computer didn’t do that by itself – you must have pushed a button’, it’s just too hard.  For many Australian citizens, life and communication is the tv and the landline.
So just pause for a minute and think.  Who really wins if community tv goes to the internet?I think nobody.
So this week, please write a letter – yes a LETTER – to

Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Minister for Communications
PO Box 545 Edgecliff, NSW, 2027
voicing your concerns.  I’m not giving you an email address because real letters are taken seriously.  Funny that.
Lastly, of course I’d like you to share this, but just remember everyone on the net that you share it with is – of course – on the net.  Print it out and give a copy to those who aren’t to let them know that they still count.

 

Our 'out and about' girl Soozie Pinder is building a name for herself and the show, taking her husband - pro photographer Lawrence - with her to capture her fantastic interviews.  Last night I was at Musicland for her next venture.  She put on and promoted a show with singers Mick Pealing, John Swan and Neale Johns from scratch and the crowd loved it.  It was nice to see her running around while I just stood and watched.  Sort of turned the tables heh heh heh, but she certainly came through with the goods.  I'm looking forward to seeing where she takes this, because it has all the hallmarks of a lasting partnership.  The guys get on really well, and if they can incorporate their old material with their new songs which we promote on Wrokdown this could well take off around Australia.
 
I was recently persuaded to compile a Wrokdown top 40.  There are only two known countdowns these days in Australia - the triple J one which tends to be rather left of centre, and the ARIA one which is compiled by the record companies and therefore contains most of their songs.  With our radio and tv shows, we sort through anything and everything to get our content.  We get the Universal Records list, people send us songs on facebook, Mick Pealing - our Inner FM Presenter has a Spotify account, so with all this information I came up with our own chart for the year. I hope you find it interesting to say the least.
 
Wrokdown can now be seen on C31 in Melbourne, along with Foxtel Aurora every Saturday night.  TVS in Sydney have a large portion of the old half hour interview series, and QLD and WA will be showing the new 1 hour series this year.  It's very unfortunate that Community TV will be diverted to the internet at the end of 2015 because I expect that a large number of our older viewers don't have the internet much less computers.  Though we tried to get through to the government, in their 'wisdom' they decided they didn't want to give Community TV a spectrum.  It's not even as if they give us any money in Victoria.  C31 Melbourne is self supported.  Such a shame.
 
We had a bit of a win last year when we, along with other businesses associated with the  music industry, took APRA to the ACCC.  We feel that Australian artists are at a disadvantage because we don't have any major record companies here that have any influence with commercial radio.  Musicians and songwriters rely on royalties from commercial media play, and though APRA and PPCA collect around $300 million from Australian businesses in licence fees, very little of that money stays in Australia.  It gets paid mostly to artists, record companies and publishing companies that play the most on commercial radio.  The ACCC said that APRA was a cartel, but that was it, and it's up to us to use that information to get government support.
 
Musicians take note - I started the Musicians Independent Collective almost a year ago, with the idea to unite musicians and tackle the problems of royalties.  I have now joined a group run by John Prior, drummer of Matt Finish, who has a greater vision along exactly the same lines, but with a more businesslike approach.  Most associations 'dedicated' to helping musicians don't seem to be run, or include, musicians.  John and I feel that if they aren't us, how could they really know what we want?  While the MUA is our union, and run with great knowledge, it is very expensive to join, while this new association is free.  After all, there is very little money in Australian music these days.  We are going to change this.  Keep an eye on this page, and I expect all Australian artists to join and assist in any way possible.  Anita
 
We are so very sad to note the death of Darryl Cotton, legend of Australian music, 27/7/12, at 62 years old.  A vital vibrant entertainer up until 2 months ago when he started unexplainably losing weight, he was then diagnosed with cancer.  Darryl will be sorely missed by his peers and fans alike.
 
Aussie prog rock band Unitopia are doing a very short tour here before heading back overseas.  I think they are amazing, and if you want to see world class musicianship, I'll see you there.
 
A big thank you to everyone involved in the Harvey James Benefit at the Caravan Club.  Feedback is that everyone had a great time, and Harvey played his little socks off.  He was overwhelmed with the love and support from both the audience and the musicians that came together for the event.  Pictures on our Photo Page   Review
 
Article on a breathrough re the liquor licensing laws.
 
Mothers Day sales were a cash cow in Australia for the big record companies - the top 10 including Susan Boyle, kd lang, Michael Buble, David Campbell and Andre Rieu.  Goes to prove the point that our older demographic are worth marketing to in Australia, though I have been told by one of those companies that they won't be doing that, as our population is too small!  And just remember that most of these artists aren't played on commercial radio.  So who gets to pick and choose who we get to see or hear or buy.......?