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FAQ's - Our Story

What do the letters SBS stand for?

Special Broadcasting Service. SBS was established in 1978 to provide special multilingual broadcasting services for ethnic communities.

What is SBS?

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is a national public broadcaster with a special mandate to reflect the multicultural nature of Australian society. SBS operates under the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (SBS Act) and has a Board of Directors appointed by the Government. Responsibility for SBS lies within the portfolio of the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. However, the SBS Act provides SBS with editorial independence from government. Read the SBS Charter  to find out more about our mandate.

Does SBS have Programming Standards?

Yes. The SBS Act requires SBS to develop codes of practice relating to programming matters and to notify these to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the Australian government agency responsible for the regulation of broadcasting and the internet in Australia). The SBS Codes of Practice set out the principles and policies followed by SBS in fulfilling its Charter obligations, and our guiding principles and obligations concerning matters such as program classification, advertising and sponsorship, accuracy, impartiality and balance in news and current affairs, and complaints handling. Copies of the Codes of Practice are available on request or you can view them at Codes of Practice.  

How is SBS funded?
The bulk of SBS funding - about 80 per cent - comes from Government appropriation. The remainder of SBS's operating budget comes from SBS’s commercial activities, which include advertising and sponsorship, and sales of goods and services.

What services does SBS provide?

As a national broadcaster of multicultural and multilingual programming, with an unmatched quality and breadth of service, SBS is unique in the world. SBS Television  broadcasts in more than 100 languages and is watched by more than 7 million Australians each week. SBS Radio is the world's most linguistically diverse radio network, broadcasting 68 language programs to a potential audience of more than three million Australians who speak a language other than English in their homes. SBS Online provides audio streaming of all of our language programs - more than any other website in the world - and includes the popular The World Game football (soccer) website and our comprehensive The World News website.

Where do the Six Billion Stories come from?

In 2008 SBS launched a new brand identity, including a refreshed logo and the tagline “Six Billion Stories and counting…” which reflects the multiplicity of stories told by SBS in its TV and radio programming, and online. Read more about the re-brand on the Our Story page.

When did SBS Radio begin?

The radio network began in 1975 with two experimental radio stations - 2EA in Sydney and 3EA in Melbourne - broadcasting four hours a day in seven and eight languages respectively. It was a three-month experiment in multilingual broadcasting, confined to Australia's two largest cities. SBS Radio today broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week on AM and FM frequencies in Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong and Melbourne, and is heard Australia-wide on a national signal that reaches all capital cities and many regional centres, as well as on digital radio and digital television (where available) as well as online.

When did SBS Television begin?

SBS Television began in 1980 and it too started first in Sydney and Melbourne. Gradually other cities as well as regional and rural centres joined the network. Today SBS's analogue signal reaches 96.9 per cent of all Australians, while its digital service, which began in 2001, reaches an estimated 96.8 per cent of Australians.

What is SBS TWO?

SBS TWO, which was launched on 1 June 2009, is SBS's second television channel, available on the digital platform only. SBS TWO complements our main television channel now known as SBS ONE. SBS TWO provides more of the world's best stories, more in-language and first run films, and extra coverage of sporting events including football.

How do I tune into SBS TWO?

SBS TWO can be found on Digital Channel 32 (formerly the World News Channel). You need a digital television, or an analogue television with a digital set top box, to tune into SBS TWO.

Is there an online television guide for SBS TWO?
The program schedule line-up can be found at: www.sbs.com.au/schedule/SBSTWO

Are programs on SBS ONE repeated on SBS TWO?
In general, no, except for Insight and Dateline, two of our current affairs programs. Our standard practice is to repeat documentaries and films after about 8 to 12 months on TWO?

How many people work at SBS?

SBS employs nearly 800 people (full and part time) from more than 100 ethnic backgrounds, speaking 80 languages.

Do you have to come from a non-English speaking background to work at SBS?


No, though many of our jobs do require proficiency in languages other than English. Almost all our radio producers create programs in languages other than English, and our subtitlers prepare English-language subtitles for TV programs in languages other than English.

All jobs at SBS require an understanding of the SBS Charter, including an awareness of the contribution cultural diversity has in the continuing development of Australian society. Visit the SBS Jobs website to see current vacancies.

How can I apply for work experience at SBS?

To get a work experience application form, phone (02) 9430 3654 or write to SBS Human Resources, Locked Bag 028, CROWS NEST  NSW  1585.  You may also email enquiries to workexphr@sbs.com.au

A texty tale:  In 2008, 1503 hours of SBS programs contained languages other than English. The content of these programs was made accessible to viewers through subtitles, English narrations and voiceovers. Wherever possible, SBS chooses subtitling in preference to voiceovers, as subtitling preserves the cultural integrity of the program and maintains its authenticity by retaining the original soundtrack.