Whether you want to watch a good soap opera, listen to sport coverage on the radio or sit down with a cup of tea and a newspaper, there are a number of ways to entertain and inform yourself with the Australian media. This article outlines the major media players, how to get non-English speaking media and provides some useful links.
Television in Australia
Despite the fact Pay TV (or cable/satellite) exists in Australia, the television landscape is still dominated by the five main free-to-air television stations that broadcast to capital cities. Three of these are commercial enterprises (Channel 7, Channel 9 and Channel 10) there are also two Government-owned television stations (SBS and ABC).
While in many countries state-run television broadcasters are mistrusted, in Australia they independently operated. The Government of the day has no editorial control. The ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) is a bit like the BBC in the UK or CBC in Canada. It is the national broadcaster, operating both television and radio services. SBS is the Special Broadcasting Service. This is particularly aimed at making Australian’s from all over the world feel connected to their homelands – it runs news and popular programmes from all over the world, in original languages.
Regional communities generally have access ABC and often SBS signals. The commercial stations tend to have affiliated regional stations, like Prime TV and WIN.
As Australia moves from analog to digital television signals, more free-to-air TV stations are opening up for anyone with a digital TV. By 2013, anyone wanting to enjoy TV in Australia must have a television capable of receiving a digital signal.
Major satellite networks in Australia include Foxtel and Austar. Check out their websites for rates and deals.
Some popular Australian television programmes it might be worth watching to get an idea of the Australian sense of humour include Summer Heights High, Mother and Son and Kath and Kim. Australia also produces local drama. In recent years one of the most popular shows has been the series Underbelly, which is based on real gangland crimes. Reality television is also popular, including local versions of shows like The Biggest Loser and MasterChef.
Radio broadcasting and programming in Australia is diverse. The ABC has both national and local radio stations throughout the country. In particular they provide national news and current affairs, a national youth network called Triple J and a classical music station.
Capital cities and regional towns will also have commercial radio stations. Some of the big music-playing networks include Triple M and Nova. If you’re looking for talkback, you can try the ABC or commercial stations like 2UE, 3AW, 6PR and 4BC (depending on your capital city), which are part of the Fairfax stable.
The introduction of digital radio also means there are now many more radio stations, including special interest stations.
Non-English Speaking Radio Stations
SBS operates digital radio stations broadcasting in some 70 languages and playing music from countries across the world. You’ll need to find the frequency in your local area.
There is only one national newspaper in Australia, The Australian, which is a broadsheet owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited and comes out six times a week. There is a national business newspaper called The Australian Financial Review (often called “The Fin” for short).
All Australian States have at least one daily newspaper and usually a separate Sunday or weekend newspaper. Wikipedia contains a full list of regional and many community newspapers, which has links to the papers you’ll be reading wherever you move to.
There are also many themed newspapers catering for various interests, political views, religions, ethnicities, bargain hunters and so on.
You’ll find local versions of many of the magazine you love at home, like Vogue, GQ and Rolling Stone. There are also myriad locally produced magazines for all kinds of target audiences. Popular Australian magazines include Cleo, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, New Idea and lads mag, FHM. There are also hundreds of specialist interest magazines on everything from computing, poultry keeping, cars, fishing, bridal wear, architecture, cooking, gardening, literature, politics, etc.
Australia does have a publishing industry and local editions of international books are printed alongside the works of local authors.
Famous Australian authors whose work is worth chasing down Miles Franklin, Thomas Keneally, Patrick White, Tim Winton and Colleen McCullough. Popular Australian expatriate writers include Robert Hughes, Germaine Greer and Clive James.
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