A group of established Australian female musicians have used International Women’s Day to launch a change.org petition aimed at converting the ABC’s digital-only channel, Double J, into an FM radio station.
The letter is addressed to Liberal Party representative, Paul Fletcher, whose ministerial portfolio covers Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts. Its signatories are Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Sarah Blasko, Vikki Thorn (The Waifs) and Deborah Conway.
The six performers are currently touring the country as part of the Wildflower music festival, an event “celebrating women in music”. The Wildflower lineup also features Alice Skye, though the absence of Skye’s name from the letter is significant as she is much younger than the other six artists.
See, the call for Double J to start broadcasting on the FM spectrum is directly related to the fact the station plays “a lot of new music by female (and non female) artists over the age of 30.”
In the lead up to the federal election, the petition asks both the Coalition and the Labor Party to commit “modest” extra funding to get Double J on the FM spectrum. This would significantly increase its reach and provide Australian listeners with an equivalent to BBC Radio 2 in the UK and the “dozens of so called ‘AAA’ and ‘Non-Comm’ stations” in the USA that prioritise older, more established musicians.
The letter notes that, “thankfully, some older male musicians can still have their latest songs heard around Australia on the Triple M network”. But the same can not be said for female musicians. “The expansion of Double J would be a relatively simple solution to this current inequity for artists and fans alike,” the artists write.
You can read the letter in full and sign the petition here. It’s attracted almost 1500 signatures since its publication fewer than 24 hours ago.