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‘It can be an issue of community safety’: CRA calls for radio to be added to prominence framework

Radio industry body Commercial Radio & Audio (CRA) has told the Senate that free and easy access to Australian radio on smart devices is essential, and must be added to the Prominence and Anti-siphoning Bill.

In a submission to the Senate inquiry on the bill, which aims to ensure that free-to-air stations are given prominence on smart TVs, the CRA has insisted that radio be included in the regulations.

“It is essential to both the radio industry and Australian communities that there is always free, easy, and universal access to Australian radio on smart speakers and in cars,” said CRA chief executive officer Ford Ennals.

“If Australians cannot easily access local radio during emergencies such as bushfires, storms, floods, or traffic incidents, it can be an issue of community safety.”

Ennals fears that, should the TV prominence framework be passed into law without similar rules surrounding smart speakers, then it will take years to redress this imbalance.

“Our concern is if this Bill passes without any inclusion of radio, then the window of opportunity for this important reform would be lost,” he said.

“As smart devices become more prevalent, global tech giants are becoming more in control of the audio content that we can access – they are, in essence, the gatekeepers.

“All Australians need easy access to local radio, whether they are using a smart speaker or driving a connected car,” he said.

“Commercial radio provides an essential service – our stations provide local news, entertainment, and information, and we play Australian music.”

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