Freedom of choice: Part 1

Part one in a series of op-ed pieces by Tony Sander.

Adelaide Hills locals have heard Lofty’s test broadcasts on 88.9 FM since the end of November, and is licenced to broadcast for three days per week (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) under a Temporary Community Broadcasting Licence (TCBL) issued by the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA).

From humble beginnings and the odd crunchy gear shift now and then,  Lofty has rapidly evolved into a genuine high quality alternative on Adelaide Hills radio.    Lofty’s stable of world class programming from around the world now co-exists alongside a rapidly growing cohort of talented local presenters; all of whom give up many hours a week to provide the Hills with programming you won’t hear anywhere else.

As one of the founders of Lofty, I take immense pride in the quality of Lofty’s output, as well as the fact it provides Hills audiences with another radio station from which to choose. 

A station that offers some unique and compelling programming, including but not limited to cutting edge dance music sourced from world-renowned DJs, specialist programming blocks of jazz, metal, hip-hop and other genres that until now have been under-represented on the local FM dial.

Another strength that Lofty has is Australian music content.  A representative of the other 88.9 FM TCBL holder claimed they’re “aiming to play 40% Australian music” in an op-ed piece published in a local newspaper on 14 February 2019; the timing of this statement I personally find curious.

Said claim was made approximately one week after The Mt Barker Courier published an article about Lofty on 6 February 2019, where The Courier quoted a statement from a press release stating that Lofty currently plays over 40% Australian music content. 

Given that the Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice calls for only 25% Australian content, we can infer that (a) Lofty is punching well about its weight in terms of Australian music content and (b) something something imitation flattery. 

Yes, I know I may be a touch biased. However, even if I wasn’t directly involved with Lofty, I’d be an enthusiastic consumer of its content, and grateful for another choice on the FM band.

This is why I’m a little baffled as to why a handful of folks have opined that the existence of two Hills-based community radio stations to Hills residents – albeit on a shared frequency – is detrimental to our community. 

Some of the feedback from this admittedly tiny minority of Hills residents has been, in some cases, completely disproportionate to the actual impact that Lofty’s existence should have on their lives.  I am fully aware of haters and their propensity for hating, but a rational person would have to ask themselves one simple question: what’s in it for the hater?  Or, more to the point, what is said hater at risk of losing as a result of Lofty’s success?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll give my take on why media diversity is so important, and how – in my opinion – Lofty’s existence enriches the Adelaide Hills community, under my “Freedom Of Choice” series of posts.


The opinions contained within the above post are strictly those of the writer, and do not represent the views of Lofty Community Media Incorporated.