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FAQ's - SBS Radio

Is SBS Radio broadcast nationwide?

SBS Radio's national signal is broadcast through a five-signal network to all capital cities, the surrounding metropolitan areas, and some regional centres. Melbourne and Sydney, Canberra and Wollongong each have an AM and an FM station, and elsewhere SBS is heard on the national network.

In August 2009 SBS began offering programs on nine digital radio channels – providing a simulcast and time-shift of all SBS Radio’s current analogue services, as well as the BBC World Service in English and in-language streams. SBS Radio can also be heard on digital television (logical channels 38 and 39).

Many regional and metropolitan community stations re-broadcast SBS Radio programs received via satellite.

How many language programs are broadcast on SBS Radio?

SBS Radio currently broadcasts 68 language programs. Each language program includes news and a mixture of current affairs, interviews, community information, entertainment, sport and music.

What SBS Radio programs are broadcast in English?

English programming on SBS occurs in several instances, including:

- World View, a one-hour current affairs program, broadcast weekdays (6 am and 5 pm) on the AM networks in Sydney and Melbourne and on the national network.

- Alchemy, a youth-oriented program featuring arts, music and talk, broadcast from 11pm to midnight every night on all SBS stations (except Fridays, when it is broadcast on the FM services only). Alchemy is also broadcast overnight (until 6am) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights on the Sydney and Melbourne FM networks).

- The Aboriginal program, broadcasts in English on Wednesdays at 12 noon and Fridays at 9pm on the AM frequencies in Sydney and Melbourne as well as on the national network.

- The African program, broadcast in English on Fridays at 11pm on the AM frequencies in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as on the national network.

- The German program, hosting a national one-hour business show in English on Wednesdays (see schedule for times).

- English news and current affairs from the BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle, programmed in the overnight time slot.

Why are radio programs networked between Melbourne and Sydney?

SBS Radio has production centres in Sydney and Melbourne servicing one AM and one FM station in the two cities, and broadcasting almost parallel programs. The networking between centres makes programming more efficient and cost-effective. Duplication of programs is avoided and broadcasters have more time to research, collect and collate material, and prepare programs.

Where can I get a program schedule for SBS Radio?

Visit SBS Radio online to view the Radio schedule. Alternately, call SBS for more details on:

- 1800 500 727 national toll free during business hours
- (02) 9430 2808 for Sydney residents
- (03) 9685 2525 for Melbourne residents

Who decides which languages are broadcast on SBS Radio?

The number of broadcasting hours is determined by many factors, including the size of the language community, its proficiency in English, and its proportion of new arrivals.

How is it decided how many programs go to air?

The SBS Radio program schedule is drawn up following comprehensive community consultation and determined by a set of criteria including the number of language speakers, proficiency in English, and the proportion of recently arrived migrants.

Is advertising permitted on SBS Radio?

Yes. , advertising is allowed on SBS Radio for five minutes within a one-hour radio program. Under the SBS Act, SBS can raise revenue by broadcasting advertisements and sponsorship announcements. The SBS Act provides that SBS may broadcast advertisements and sponsorship announcements that run in total for not more than five minutes in any hour of broadcasting. They can only be broadcast before or after programs and during natural breaks. This provides a valuable source of revenue for SBS.

SBS Radio also broadcasts community information, such as campaigns by government departments, which provide information about services for people from non-English-speaking backgrounds.

The earliest story: "When I talk to people about it, like taxi drivers, they ask 'What do you do?' and I say I make films. They say, 'What are you working on?' and I say, 'I'm working on this documentary series called First Australians' and they go 'Oh great, it's about the migrant community coming to Australia' and I say, 'No, no! It is actually about the first Australians, Indigenous Australians.' - First Australians director/writer/producer Rachel Perkins, in 2006.