24 October 2010

Six billion stories and counting

Today, Australia's multilingual/multicultural network Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) marked its 30th anniversary of television broadcasting. Its first full-time television transmission began at 6.30pm on 24 October 1980 as Channel 0 in Melbourne and Sydney. The late Mr Bruce Gyngell, who first introduced television to Australia back in 1956, welcomed Australians to the new channel. See below

In 1985, the network then known as Channel 0-28 was renamed SBS and began to expand its coverage nationally.

Today, aside from some local productions, SBS rebroadcasts programs from all over the world, fulfilling its former slogan from 1983 of 'Bringing the world back home'. With the onset of digital broadcasting, there are now two channels, SBS One and SBS Two, with Three and Four reserved.

The news schedule this morning on SBS One looked like this
07:00 Hungarian News from Duna TV (DTV) Budapest
07:30 Latin American News via satellite from Television National de Chile, in Spanish
08:00 Polish News Wydarzenia from Polsat in Warsaw via satellite
08:30 Dutch News via satellite from BVN
09:00 Portuguese News via satellite from RTP Portugal (Lisbon)
09:30 Urdu News from PTV Pakistan in Islamabad
10:00 Maltese News from Public Broadcasting Services Limited, Malta

On weekdays, the news schedule on SBS One includes news from YTN Korea, NHK Tokyo, TVB Hong Kong, CCTV Beijing, DW Berlin, RAI Rome, ABS-CBN Manila, RTVE Madrid, ERT Athens, FT2 Paris, NDTV India, DRTV Dubai, NTV Moscow and TRT Turkey. All up, there are news bulletins from 26 countries in 25 languages.

Tonight, on SBS One is a French film Un vrai bonheur (The Wedding Day) and on SBS Two, two more French films Ensemble, c'est tout (Hunting and Gathering) and La maison de Nina (Nina's Home). During the coming week there are films from Spain, China, Italy, Israel, India, Croatia and Norway. All films are subtitled in English.

Some of the regular series broadcast on SBS that are popular include Kommissar (Inspector) Rex from Austria (in German with English subtitles), police drama Rejseholdet (Unit One, from Denmark, in Danish with English subtitles) and the American South Park, which is deemed too offensive to be shown on the commercial stations.

SBS is wonderful in reminding us that we in Australia are just a small part of a larger world and indeed that Australians come from all parts of the world.

30 years on, SBS television is as relevant as ever if not more so. It is unique in being the only national (public-funded with some advertising revenue) multilingual/multicultural broadcaster in the world.

The world is an amazing place.

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