Macquarie University
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Station break: a history of regional commercial television ownership and control

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:19 authored by Michael Thurlow
This thesis aims to critically examine the factors which have influenced commercial television ownership and control in Australia from the 1950s to the mid-2010s. Chapter one charts the nexus between the introduction of radio in the 1920s and that of television from the 1950s. Particular attention is given to examining the various precedents set during the first two stages of the television development program. Chapter two considers the regulatory foundations which created lucrative regional monopolies controlled by independent local interests in the early 1960s. It then analyses the economic imperatives to establishing joint-station operations and relay arrangements which created the first regional networks during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Chapter three examines the corporate ambitions of would-be regional television moguls who were positioning themselves for future structural changes during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It continues by investigating the political directives which destroyed existing monopolies and subordinated the tenuous independence of regional stations to metropolitan television interests in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Chapter four probes the digital protections provided to incumbent operators in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It then explores the technical disruptions which have threatened the traditional commercial television business model during the late 2000s and early 2010s A key feature of this study has been the calculation of an "independence quotient" at critical points in the industry's history. This measure reveals the industry was at its most independent in 1963 (100 per cent) from whence it has gradually declined to its lowest level of independence by 2015 (11 per cent). This study concludes by considering the relationship between these earlier influences and proposed changes to existing media ownership rules which, if adopted, would likely herald the demise of regional commercial television as a distinct entity.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. New toys for old friends -- Chpater 2. Regulatory foundations and economic imperatives -- Chapter 3. Corporate ambitions and political directives -- Chapter 4. Digital protections and technical disruptions -- Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 144-185

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Bridget Griffen-Foley


Copyright Michael Thurlow 2015. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (viii, 185 pages)

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