Premier Jacinta Allan recently visited Channel 31 accompanied by MP Nina Taylor. The visit included discussions with Mike Zafiropoulos, the president of the channel, and Shane Dunlop, the station’s director, focusing on the channel’s role, contributions, and current challenges.

Channel 31 (C31) has been a prominent fixture in Melbourne’s community media since 1994, offering a diverse array of locally crafted programs.

However, as C31 prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary, its leadership say its ability to fulfil its mission is increasingly strained due to resource constraints and staff reductions.

With around 1,000 volunteers and independent television makers contributing weekly, the channel provides entertainment, education, and information to a wide audience.

Its needs have changed, given that in recent years the channel has also expanded into digital media, launching its streaming service platform CTV+ and updated its broadcasting equipment and urgent tech upgrades.

The station’s director Shane Dunlop, Sakis Zafeiropoulos, Jacinta Allan, and Nina Taylor. Photo: Supplied

Despite its commitment to various communities, including underprivileged, youth, aging, and multicultural groups, Channel 31 faces an existential threat due to ongoing instability caused by threats from the federal government to revoke its free-to-air platform.

The Victorian premier focused on the needs of the channel following the recent license granted to it by the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland.

“The Albanese Government recognises that community television services Channel 31 Melbourne and Channel 44 Adelaide provide an important platform for local news and content and local businesses and [they are] a training ground for talent,” Rowland said in a previous statement.

“We want the engaging, informative programs these services create to be accessible for their communities to enjoy over terrestrial broadcast.”

Allan acknowledged the importance of C31 for the community being a station that broadcasts over 90 new local programs weekly, created by volunteers and independent producers, dedicated to providing resources and education to marginalised communities while promoting diversity in media.

Acting Lord Mayor of Melbourne Nicholas Reece recently highlighted the role of community television in launching the careers of TV personalities like Hamish Blake, Andy Lee, Waleed Aly, and Georgi Coughlan.