The SBS Story: The challenge of cultural diversity
UNSW Press, $39.95 pb, 336 pp
Movie Of The Week. The MacNeil–Lehrer Newshour. Helen Vatsikopoulos. Andrea Stretton. Tales From a Suitcase. Pria Viswalingam. Italian Serie A Football. Annette Sun Wah. These are just a few examples of SBS programs and personalities that helped me – and no doubt many others – negotiate the fetid swamp that was Australian television in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the swamp is a lot bigger and the stench even worse, but does SBS still provide an effective alternative?
The Special Broadcasting Service began in January 1978 as a central controlling body for ethnic radio. The Fraser government soon expanded the service to include television, the first transmission of Channel 0/28 airing in Sydney and Melbourne on 24 October 1980. The SBS Story considers the entire period from the first political push toward multiculturalism by Whitlam minister Al Grassby, to recent controversies surrounding the organisation’s charter and claimed deviations from it by management.