Opposition says it agrees with push to transform Double J into an FM station
Labor, the Federal Opposition vying for Government in the upcoming election, has backed a push to increase the reach of digital music station Double J and give it an FM licence.
Both shadow minister for communications, Michelle Rowland, and shadow minister for the arts and industrial relations, Tony Burke, said moving Double J to the FM band would be “a huge positive step for Australian music”.
The response comes in light of a petition spearheaded by female Aussie musicians Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Sarah Blasko, Vikki Thorn and Deborah Conway.
The collective said that in Australia, ageing female artists get far less exposure on FM radio than their male counterparts, and Double J’s expansion would help redress this imbalance.
The letter called on both parties to commit to modest additional funding for the project should they be successful at the upcoming election, with a particular focus on regional Australia.
In principle, Labor agreed with the proposition, in its response issued yesterday.
“We agree that Double J is a fantastic platform for new Australian music, including but not limited to women over 30,” the response from Burke and Rowland said.
“It is absolutely vital that there is a space for Australian artists to have their music played and celebrated as their careers progress – there is a huge audience for such material, and many artists who need and deserve the exposure.”
While they support the idea, the Opposition didn’t go so far as to commit to definitive action or comment on additional funding needs.
“In Government, Labor would examine this issue as part of its broader strategy to boost Australian content and support Australian artists,” it said.
“We will work with the ABC and ACMA, in consultation with musicians and promoters, to find a solution which will ensure all Australian artists, including artists over 30, get the exposure and recognition they deserve.”
The Opposition also pointed to its track record with triple j and Double J as evidence of its commitment.
It said it was Labor which established the original Double J. This happened back in 1975 under the Whitlam Government.
The station was then known as 2JJ and broadcast on 1540AM.
It moved to 105.7 FM in 1980 and became 2JJJ and later triple j.
The Double J as we know it today was established in 2014 when the ABC rebranded the digital Dig Music with the Double J moniker.
Labor’s letter also pointed out that current Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, spent years campaigning for Labor to expand triple j into regional areas well before he entered Parliament.
“Expanding Double J is the next logical step,” they added.
The petition is seeking 10,000 signatures, and at the time of writing is just over 20 away from this goal.
The Government is yet to respond.