Brief History of SBS
From: Special Broadcasting Service publicity 1978
material and annual reports
SBS established and assumes responsibility for
June 2EA and 3EA. SBS Board Members appointed
for three years. Dr Grisha Sklovsky is Chairman.
Experimental ethnic radio stations 2EA and
3EA commence. February
1976 2EA broadcasts 126 hours weekly in 36
languages. 3EA broadcasts 103 hours weekly in
March 32 languages.
Consultative Committee on Ethnic May
Broadcasting established to consider future of
ethnic broadcasting. Executive Director, R E Fowell takes up a seven-
ABC requested to establish permanent ethnic
broadcasting service. SBS asks SEBACs to reschedule 2EA and 3EA.
January Government decides public broadcasting and
'restricted commercial' stations could be assisted
National Ethnic Broadcasting Advisory Council by SBS funding of ethnic programs.
Joint statement by Minister for Post and
Government offer to ABC to establish ethnic Telecommunications and Minister for
broadcasting service withdrawn. Immigration and Ethnic Affairs on
establishment of ethnic television service.
State Ethnic Broadcasting Advisory Councils
(SEBACs) established in NSW and Victoria. SBS releases discussion paper on reorganisation
of structures of 2EA and 3EA broadcasting
Governor-General proclaims amendments to groups.
Broadcasting and Television Act 1942 setting up
Making Multicultural Australia Brief History of SBS 1
2EA broadcasts in 41 languages; 3EA broadcasts First phase of policy for restructuring broadcast
126 hours weekly in 38 languages. groups of 2EA and 3EA put into operation.
February ETEP submits second report: The Structure of
the Interim Multicultural/Multilingual
SBS releases policy for restructuring of 2EA and Television Service to the Government. 2EA
3EA broadcasting groups. commences broadcasting through 4EB.
Ethnic Television Review Panel (ETRP) January
appointed to undertake public consultation
program and prepare report on permanent Government announces intention to establish
ethnic television service. Independent and Multicultural Broadcasting
Corporation (IMBC) to provide multicultural
Start of SEBAC’s (Vic) new 3EA schedule. television (MTV) and multilingual radio
A 9 member IMBC Implementation
Telecast on ABC Channel 2 of first Committee appointed to provide bridge
experimental ethnic television programs between disbanding of SBS and establishment
produced by SBS. of IMBC, and oversee activities of an
Implementation Task Force, with particular
Final programs telecast 22 July 1979. emphasis on the establishment of a
multicultural television service.
New 3EA 5kW AM transmitter commences.
3EA broadcasts in 41 languages.
ETRP submits third report: Programming for
ETRP submits first report: The Aims and the Multicultural/Multilingual Television Service
Philosophy of a Permanent Ethnic Television - Objectives and Policies. IMBC
Service. Implementation Committee holds first meeting
and IMBC Implementation Task Force
Start of SEBAC (NSW)'s new 2EA schedule. established.
August Weekly telecasts of second experimental cycle of
ethnic television programs begin on ABC
2EA Newcastle translator commences (29th). Channel 2 and continue until 4 May.
2EA Wollongong translator commences (30th).
Legislation to establish IMBC introduced into
2EA broadcasts in 47 languages. Parliament. Senate refers IMBC legislation to
Standing Committee on Education and the Arts
Making Multicultural Australia Brief History of SBS 2
for inquiry and report by first sitting day in 1982
Minister announces Government decision to
Minister appoints more diverse IMBC extend MTV on UHF to 10 city and country
Implementation Committee of 13 members. centres: 1982--83 - Canberra, Goulburn,
Cooma; 1983-84 - Newcastle, Wollongong,
July Adelaide, Brisbane, and 1984--85 - Hobart,
Perth, Darwin. Minister announces increase to
2EA transmitter power upgraded to 5kW. $650,000 in subsidies to public broadcasters for
Senate Standing Committee on Education and
the Arts recommends: IMBC legislation not be Ministers for Communications and for
proceeded with at this stage; Dix Committee to Immigration and Ethnic Affairs release
be asked to consider and examine a report on a discussion paper on extension and development
second television channel; and until Dix of ethnic radio and announce establishment of
Committee reports, MTV and ethnic radio to Working Party to consider the question.
be provided on interim basis by SBS.
Multicultural Television commences in Sydney
and Melbourne both on VHF Channel 0 and Minister announces appointments to SBS
on UHF Channel 28 in both capital cities. Advisory Council.
June Minister institutes Inquiry into purchasing
policies of SBS, to be chaired by J H Oswin.
Government announces decision not to proceed
with the IMBC, abolishes IMBC May
Implementation Committee, dissolves NEBAC
and SEBAC, and establishes SBS Advisory Working Party to examine the options for long-
Council chaired by F Galbally. term development of ethnic radio disbanded.
Government undertakes to examine submissions
July and take these into account in implementing
future policy in this area.
New SBS Board appointed, chaired by Sir
Nicholas Shehadie. August
August Minister reaffirms Government decision to
Interstation Program Exchange and
Transcription Service (IPETS) established at Minister announces transmissions on VHF
Radio 2EA to assist ethnic public broadcasters. Channel 0 in Sydney and Melbourne to cease 1
Making Multicultural Australia Brief History of SBS 3
Commencement of SBS TV in Canberra. SBS response to Connor Report submitted to
November - Extension of SBS TV to Goulburn Government. Conclusion of R Fowell's term as
and Cooma. Executive Director.
Minister announces Committee of Review to Minister announces extension of transmission
examine role of SBS and recommend blueprint on VHF Channel 0 in Sydney and Melbourne
for future development of ethnic broadcasting. until 5 January 1986.
Oswin Inquiry report tabled.
Extension of SBS TV to Newcastle,
Minister announces composition of Committee Wollongong, Adelaide, Brisbane and the Gold
of Review: The Hon FX Connor QC Coast.
(Chairman), C Dunne, W Lippmann MBE, M
Thompson (Special Consultant). July
1984 Government transfers SBS administration of
subsidies to public broadcasters for ethnic
April language programs to Public Broadcasting
SBS completes Submission to Committee of
August 2EA broadcasts in 55 languages; 3EA broadcasts
in 50 languages.
SBS Board establishes Advisory Committee on
December Appointment of new Executive Director, R L
Brown. Setting up and establishment of Joint
Report of Committee of Review Serving Consultative Council.
Multicultural Australia - The Role of
Broadcasting (the Connor Report) presented to October
Government abolishes existing Planning
1985 Committees and establishes National
Broadcasting Development Council.
Disbandment of SBS Advisory Council.
Report by Advisory Committee on Racism
February submitted to SBS Board.
Commencement of daytime television 1986
transmissions. Network 0/28 TV logo changed
to SBS TV. January
Cessation of VHF Channel 0 transmissions in
Making Multicultural Australia Brief History of SBS 4
Sydney and Melbourne. SBS TV is now the sole November
UHF-only television broadcaster in Australia.
Commencement of term of new Executive
March Director, Brian Johns.
Extension of SBS TV service via AUSSAT to December
Perth and Hobart.
Government decides to remove encryption
Government decisions on Connor Report requirement for SBS broadcast signals via
announced. AUSSAT, allowing people in south-eastern zone
satellite beam footprint to receive both 2EA and
SBS to be replaced by Special Broadcasting SBS TV through use of small dish satellite
Corporation on 1 July 1987. receiving systems.
First Corporate Plan presented to Minister for February
Government releases Department of Transport
August and Communications (DoTaC) discussion
papers Review of National Broadcasting Policy -
Government announces intention to Australian Broadcasting Corporation. While
amalgamate SBS with ABC as at 1 January concerned mainly with ABC, they also
1987. proposed: that SBS receive its own Act of
Parliament with a clear set of objectives based
December on the central aims of providing high quality
multicultural and multilingual programming;
Legislation to effect amalgamation defeated in and, to guarantee the floor funding of the SBS
the Senate. Senate Select Committee established at its 1987-88 level, increased in line with
to report on the question. inflation, for the next three years.
February Government releases DoTaC discussion paper
Review of National Broadcasting Policy - Special
Minister advises SBS Board of Government's Broadcasting Service. This proposed possible
intention to amalgamate SBS with ABC by 1 model for a future SBS which involved: a
July 1987. separate Act containing a clear Charter of
responsibilities; an organisational structure
April appropriate to a modern broadcaster; and, a
mixed funding regime comprising an annual
Prime Minister announces that proposed ABC- sum from the Budget, and other options
SBS amalgamation will not occur. available at the discretion of the Board, to
obtain revenue from other than Budget sources,
June including television downtime usage, channel
sharing, sponsorship, and sale of advertising
Conclusion of R Brown's term as Executive time.
Making Multicultural Australia Brief History of SBS 5
SBS launches SBS Youth Orchestra. June
1989 Government agreed to allow advertising on SBS
TV and Radio under a new charter. Guidelines
June covering the form, content and placement of
advertisements to be set by the SBS Board after
Minister gives approval for SBS to receive a period of public consultation. Legislation to
moneys for program sponsorship in relation to establish the charter to be introduced in
the SBS test pattern and for the World Cup Parliament in the 1991 Budget session. This will
Soccer Series, in accordance with a number of allow the SBS to sell up to 5 minutes of
specific conditions. advertising or sponsorship per hour but these
may only be broadcast between programs or in
July natural program breaks.
Prime Minister announces Government's December
National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia.
As part of the Agenda, the Government to The SBS become incorporated with the passage
introduce legislation to establish SBS as of the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991.
independent corporation with its own charter.
SBS TV service to be extended to a further nine 1992
major centres throughout Australia: 1991 -
Latrobe Valley; 1992 - Bendigo, Ballarat, November
Darling Downs; 1993 - Spencer Gulf, Darwin,
North-east Tasmania; and, 1994 - Cairns, Brian Johns resigns from the SBS to take up his
Townsville. appointment as chairman of the Australian
During the period 1992-93 there was a phased
March transfer of staff and facilities of the SBS to its
new Sydney Radio and Television headquarters
Government released details of new radio news at Artarmon.
and current affairs service to be produced by
SBS Radio and supplied in at least 15 different 1993
community languages to interested public radio
stations throughout Australia, and announced March
establishment of trainee program for people of
non-English speaking background, in which the SBS Board announces the appointment of the
SBS will participate. 14 members of the SBS Community Advisory
Committee (CAC). Mr Steve A Karas OAM is
The SBS Youth Orchestra is now controlled by the chairperson of the Committee.
Youth Musical Endeavours Ltd, a company
formed to manage the orchestra's affairs and Malcolm Long appointed as new Managing
which, by agreement, is licensed to use the title Director for a five year period.
The SBS Youth Orchestra.
SBS's Codes of Practice booklet comes into
Making Multicultural Australia Brief History of SBS 6
November Common language (English) programs launched
on SBS Radio.
Prime Minister Keating officially opens the new
Artarmon building. September
December Indigenous Unit, Kuri-Gnia, established in
SBS TV to Cairns and Townsville, ahead of
January SBS Radio’s Canberra service begins
SBS Radio National launched, providing an
SBS radio service to Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth April
and Darwin. Extension of Radio National to
include Hobart and Canberra is expected to The start of SBS Radio’s Hobart service
take place within the next 12 months. Sydney completes the SBS Radio National network,
and Melbourne Radio Stations 2EA and 3EA, linking all State and Territory capital cities.
now called Radio Sydney and Radio Melbourne
respectively, remain the same, but a Second SBS documentary Untold Desires wins Most
Frequency for both cities is planned in the near Outstanding Documentary at the Logie Awards.
New SBS Enterprise Agreement certified.
s54 of the SBS Act proclaimed, making the SBS
a completely independent statutory corporation. August
April Extension of SBS Television Service to the NSW
north coast and Albury/Wodonga.
SBS TV launched in Launceston, Tasmania.
Networking of SBS Radio language programs.
SBS TV launched in Darwin.
Launch of Second Radio Frequencies for Sydney
and Melbourne. SBS World News becomes first prime-time news
bulletin to provide closed captioning for the
1995 deaf and hearing impaired.
SBS Radio celebrates 20 years of multilingual SBS Board agrees to non-government
broadcasting. advertising on SBS Radio.
Making Multicul tural Australia Brief History of SBS 7