Commercial Radio Industry Welcomes New Communications Minister

New communications minister Michelle Rowland
Courtesy of NSW Labor

ARN, Nova Entertainment, SCA and Nine Entertainment have collectively welcomed the incoming communications minister, Michelle Rowland, to her new role.

Rowland was appointed to the communications portfolio by new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese.

Commercial radio’s peak body, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), said it was an excellent appointment.

“Minister Rowland has deep media expertise and the radio industry welcomes her stated commitment to bringing Australia’s media laws into the digital age,” the organisation’s new CEO, Ford Ennals, said.

Ennals also outlined CRA’s priorities in working with the new Federal Government.

“We will be looking to meet with the minister soon to discuss a broad range of policy issues, foremost of those will be how to ensure listeners can continue to have free and easy access to radio on new devices such as smart speakers and connected cars without undue interference from tech gatekeepers,” he said.

“80% of Australians listen to commercial radio every week and the industry is a major provider of local news and information to regional areas, so it’s critical that action is taken now to level the playing field with digital platforms.

“The industry also remains focused on removing regulatory inequalities to ensure a sustainable future for commercial radio.

“One example is the media blackout rule, which prevented election advertising on radio during the final few days of the campaign, but did not include digital media. This unnecessary rule has costly implications for our members, and inevitably flows through to the ability to fund content production and newsrooms.”

Rowland has been the shadow communications minister since 2016 and previously was a senior lawyer specialising in competition and regulation in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors.