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C31 Melbourne
C31 Melbourne Logo
Launched October 6, 1994 (1994-10-06)
Owned by Melbourne Community Television Consortium
Picture format 576i PAL/SDTV
Broadcast area Melbourne,
Analogue UHF 31 (Melbourne & Geelong)
UHF 64 (South Yarra)
SD Digital LCN 19

C31 Melbourne, also known as Channel 31 Melbourne (call letters MGV-31), is a non-profit community television station in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The Channel

Its signal is transmitted from Mt. Dandenong, reaching much of the Greater Melbourne area, and parts of Geelong on free-to-air television. The station is also available on Neighbourhood Cable in Geelong.[1]

The station began broadcasting officially on 6 October 1994. The Australian Broadcasting Authority had granted Melbourne Community Television Consortium (MCTC) with a temporary open-narrowcast license on 5 March 1993. The framework of community television in Australia can be traced back to 1992, when the Government asked the ABA to conduct a trial of community television using the vacant sixth television channel (Channel 31). On 30 July 2004, the Australian Broadcasting Authority granted the station a full-time community broadcasting licence.

Channel 31 broadcasts community television throughout Melbourne, Geelong and in parts of regional Victoria.

Channel 31 is primarily funded through sponsorship, grants, sale of airtime and member donations. The station does not receive any regular Government funding.[2] The annual revenue of C31 is approximately (AUD) $2 million per year. For comparison, the Nine Network, an Australian commercial station, has $907 million annual revenue[3]. The station claims that "1.3 million Melbournians tune in each month" [4] this figure is supplied by the ratings company OzTam. Individual programs can have ratings of up to 60,000 to 70,000 viewers.

C31 has an exclusivity contract which excludes producers and directors from distributing their content in different mediums for three years. Questions on how this is enforced have been repeatedly asked and the Community Channels were investigated by the ACCC[5]. This shows transcripts that contain issues when dealing with Community Channels and the legal ramification if the 3 year contract is signed. Also their lack of willingness to share content with non Community Television services such as Aurora.

The C31 website was completely remodelled in 2009, and now offers streaming of every program they broadcast (if the producer consents).[6]

Transmission quality

C31's signal is broadcast in UHF only and at a lower power than Melbourne's other television stations (it is, for example, one quarter of SBS's output power). Nevertheless, viewers with good line-of-sight to the main transmitter on Mount Dandenong can receive a usable signal from as far away as Geelong, Castlemaine and Moe[citation needed]. There is also a translator transmitter on the Como building in South Yarra to provide in-fill for the St Kilda area; this operates on UHF 64.

Most TV sets are capable of receiving C31, although it is often not included in the factory settings. However, using a TV's automatic tuning function can tune the station in if it is able to be received. Often a signal amplifier attached to the antenna can provide a much better C31 reception. Unlike the other free-to-air stations, C31 is not yet broadcasting digitally. However, government reviews are under way to find a way to facilitate this. Fortunately for C31, many people have yet to convert to digital only television (in a recent report, it was noted that only 52.2% of Australians had gone digital.[7])

Channel 31 will be simulcast on digital from 2010, after being granted a digital television licence by the government [8]


Channel 31 broadcasts a vast array of locally-produced content including news, sport, youth, arts, and entertainment programmes. The station also features a substantial amount of local multicultural programming, celebrating Melbourne's ethnic diversity.



Fishcam is arguably Channel 31's best-known programme. It was a pre-recorded broadcast of a fish tank located in the station's studios, set to music by independent artists [9]. It used to be live, but the station got complaints from the ACMA when there was a dead fish floating on the top of the tank for several days. It was originally shown in place of a test pattern when the station had no programming available for broadcast. After it was discovered that Fishcam was reasonably popular, Fishcam became a scheduled show and was even listed in the TV guide. Channel 31 has boasted that Fishcam is "very popular" [10] and is so widely recognized in the Melbourne community that "many people know Channel 31 as 'the fish station'." [11]

The station has previously made VHS tapes of Fishcam available for purchase. After having its timeslot continually cut back over the years to make room for more traditional programming, Fishcam finally ceased broadcasting on March 4, 2007.[12]

Other programs

Deaf TV, one of the diverse programs on Channel 31
  • Fusion Latina[1] is a magazine style TV show that explores the passion of the Spanish and Latin American culture in Australia.
  • The Bazura Project is a movie show featuring film news, feature stories, interviews, and reviews. It is hosted by Shannon Marinko and Lee Zachariah.
  • Get Cereal TV is an hour long breakfast show produced by SYN, airing weekday mornings from 7:30.
  • Barnaby Flowers is the collective of Melbourne writers, directors and producers behind the popular C31 shows, Barnaby Flowers Comeback Special & Barnaby Flowers Bumper Bonanza a live hour long sketch show and Barnaby Flowers A Time to Talk, a satirical mock interview show.
  • Chartbusting 80's one of C31's most popular and resource-intensive studio shows.
  • Darren & Brose C31's very first live, nightly program.
  • Damon Dark is an indie science fiction programme.
  • Gasolene is a programme that showcases anything to do with petrochemical engines, auto repairs or metalworking.
  • The Inquiry is a news program with a youth oriented comedic spin.
  • Planet Nerd is a variety show for, and about, nerds and geeks. It is hosted by Dan Walmsley.
  • In Pit Lane is C31's weekly motor sports program that has run for 11 years.
  • Level 3 A video game related show that has reviews of PlayStation 2, PlayStation3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Wii and PC games.
  • Magic Dudes: As Seen On TV The made for television series show cases the sleight-of-hand magic of the performing duo, the Magic Dudes. The series was filmed in front of a live audience and was based on a pilot that first was shown on C31 Adelaide in 2004.
  • No Limits is a talk show about living with disability. It is a high-profile and popular show. Its 'politically-correct' content gives support to C31's raison d'etre.
  • Pinoy TV is a television programme which is dedicated to Filipino-Australians living in Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin. It features cooking, news and cultural events. Pinoy TV is hosted by "Ate G" (Giselle Gonzales) and "DJ Gwapz".
  • Sketchmen a Sydney sketch comedy show.
  • The Shambles Sketch comedy show starring Sos, Valvo & Lynchy.
  • TheatreGames LIVE is a program where a number of actors compete against each other playing improvisation and theatregames.
  • Blurb (tv show) is a book review television program featuring Misha Adair and Natasha Ludowyk.
  • The Ugly Stick a sketch comedy program featuring the ugly stick comedy troupe.
  • 1700 a live daily music show produced by SYN, with sms interaction, video clips, music news and many segments [2]
  • In Search of... a weekly documentary series
  • Paranormal investigators Television series which looks into the paranormal as a group of people go out to often secluded locations in search of the paranormal [3]
  • GolfZone TV Golf themed TV show, featuring golf instruction, golf rules, golf product reviews, course reviews and rule interpretation. [4]
  • 4WD TV 4WD TV is an action packed program dedicated to all things four wheeling. For 4WD enthusiasts of all kinds, get up close and dirty in extreme competitions and the inside scoop on industry events with stories covering 4WD education and safety, hints and tips, trip and track reports, product tests and reviews, repairing and modifying your rigs as well as club reports, events and competitions.


Many comedians, performing artists and producers worked at C31 before moving to mainstream television, these people include Rove McManus, Amy Parks, Greg Tingle, Hamish and Andy, Adam Richard, Jo Stanley, Darren Chau, Corinne Grant, Jamie McDonald and Kim Hope.


  1. ^ Channel 31: About Us "Transmitted from Mount Dandenong...reaches homes throughout Melbourne and Geelong... also transmitted via Neighbourhood Cable"
  2. ^ C31 Information Kit
  3. ^ James Packer, "Chairman's Address", Publishing and Broadcasting Limited Annual General Meeting, 27 October 2005
  4. ^ Channel 31: About Us "...with over 1.3 million Melburnians tuning in each month"
  5. ^ CBAA - Submissions & Reports
  6. ^ C31 Website
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Application to the ABA for Melbourne Community Television "From midnight there is a live camera broadcasting...with music by independent artists playing in the background."
  10. ^ Application to the ABA for Melbourne Community Television "Fishcam is a very popular and peaceful alternative to late night infomercials."
  11. ^ Channel 31's Former Fishcam Webpage (via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine) "Fishcam is one of Channel 31's most popular and recognised programs to the extent that many people know Channel 31 as 'the fish station'. To our knowledge, there is nowhere in the world where you can switch on your television to watch fish".
  12. ^ C31 : Our Shows: Show Guide

See also

External links


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