Sunday, April 29, 2012

LICENSE MORATORIUM: Protectionism gone mad in Australian Broadcast Legislation:

MOOD: Disillusioned

Well, here it is, already the end of April, 2012 is moving on pretty fast, a speed in which unfortunately my radio station's submission for an FM license is not.

Finally got a chance to meet up with one of the shadow ministers in the federal cabinet, and yes, have to say that he was gob smacked on the work that I had done, and the amount of research that I carried out.  However he seemed rather worried about my prospects on getting an FM license for the Sydney region.  He noted that these city wide licenses are quite valuable, but he didn't mention in what way.  As from the view point of a listener, I feel strongly that I'm getting no value at all from Sydney's FM stations. 

All six of the commercial FM licenses in Sydney are owned by three large networked companies, who like to serve up the same old music every day, from a playlist of no more then 200 tracks.  These monkeys who run these networks think they can serve up radio programs, like a yogurt factory rolls tubs off its production line.

These corporate networks research their music from these things apparently called focus groups (i've never been to one), which are already flawed, due to the fact that the music on offer has already been heavily filtered.  Like a tub of yogurt, these corporate networks research the foods colour, shape of the container, the exact kind of flavour the product should have, the exact texture and thickness, and ultimately serving it up in a kiosk environment were there is not too much on offer, because we don't want to distract the consumer from having too much choice.  Only this time in the form of radio, it has ended up bitter, sour, and very tasteless. 

This is what has happened to radio, where the research element has become so ridiculous and irrelavent that it's not telling the real truth on what listeners really want, just browse through a forum like mediaspy, and you'll see pages of complaints.

What has made the problem much worse is the reality that Commercial Radio Australia (the representative body for all of Australia's commercial radio stations) has arranged with the Australian Communications and Media Authority, a six year moratorium on new FM licenses.  Apparently the context of this moratorium is that existing commercial stations (such as the ones I'm talking about in Sydney) feel that any new stations entering the FM spectrum, will damage the business viability of the existing stations.

I honestly don't know how one of Australia's biggest representative bodies and one of Australia's largest regulation bodies can create such rubbish.  Within a few hours this morning on the internet, my search revealed an amount of documentation that could fire more holes through Commercial Radio Australia's arguments, than bullets John Rambo had fired in First Blood.

This is very hot material, as I said to my friend this morning, and is something for now I'll be keeping under wraps, but if I were to give a small hint, let's say Sydney's FM spectrum is like the busiest mall in the City.  There is room for only ten shops, and already eight of those premises have been filled.   There are still two premises vacant.  The eight shops form a group call the Shop Co-Op Group, like the commercial radio stations of Australia have formed the body Commercial Radio Australia.  They then say, ah look, we want a moratorium on letting new shops into the mall.  The council agrees with the Shop Co-Op group.

Now if you're still with me, imagine each of the eight shops make a turnover of about $20,000 a week.  All the shops pay their executives or shop manager, yep, $20,000 a week.  Okay, now what do you get when you take $20,000 away from $20,000?  You've guest it, you are left with nicks.  In such circumstances, of course one is going to say they're struggling, or that the business viability is vulnerable. 

Okay, second case scenario, the store manager is paid $1,000 a week, which leaves $19,000 remaining.  I would have to say in simplistic terms, that's a pretty hansom profit, and oh, by the way we are still struggling, or are we really just bullshitting to win sympathy.

With the documentation I've discovered this morning, there is a pretty huge flaw with this moratorium arrangement, and I'm surprised that no-one else hasn't picked it up.  But yes, I am the other shop who wants to enter that mall, or perhaps a radio station that wants to offer something very different.  I'm being locked out by legislation that has been purely based on some sympathetic dribble.

Unfortunately what I've expressed so far is all based on simple logic, but as we all know, logic and reality are two very different creatures.  The reality with such a moratorium is that their has most probably been some very greasy slimy hand shakes behind closed doors, and some very powerful movers and shakers within the industry, who have helped in establishing such corrupt legislation. 

This leads me to my next point, where I'm struggling with the realisation that my life-long dream may not become a reality.  When you have lived and breathed a dream for over 30 years, it's not so easy to just say that something may not happen and shut up shop.  

A dream is the very essence of ones existence that gives one hope and reason to live, and ultimately the motivation and will to live each day in all its glory.  This is very much like climbing the ladder of life, and climbing for what seems ages to get to the tip of Mt Everest.  So one may come up against some resistance, do we let go and turn back?  Do we listen to the doubters in our life, like some members of one's family, and pursue something completely different?  But if one cannot pursue one's true love, then we ask, what is the true meaning of life, if one cannot do and participate in something that utilises all a person's strengths, and allows them to give back to the community with vigor and vitality?

With such uncertainty also comes the emotional and psychological stuff that one has to work through everyday.  The most frustrating issue out of attempting something like this, is not being able to communicate properly with anyone of importance.  Getting through to any body results in talking to some receptionist, who often notes that the requested person is at an meeting?  In today’s society it seems to be demonstrably difficult to have a face to face meeting, or even a telephone conversation to explain why something would be beneficial.  In the end, the biggest killer is the "wall of silence" where one doesn't get any e-mails, phone calls, or correspondence, making one feel very inadequate and helpless. 

There are many days when I feel like I'm water off a ducks back, and just want to sleep the day away; this is the reality of living with Asperger's Syndrome.  This reality is that one could right the most fantastic novel, or book, but because the social network is not established and not firmed up, like it is in neurotypical circumstances, the world seems to be distant.  One often feels that it doesn't matter how hard one works, acknowledgement is never forthcoming.  In the end the indifference from society will kill ones mind, from the shear bordem of not being able to break out of the social cocoon, or more bluntly, the social hell-hole.