PLANS to launch a new television station in Newcastle have been dealt a major blow, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority refusing to issue a licence to Hunter TV.
But Hunter TV manager Rod Breis has rejected the authority's ruling, labelling their reasoning "incorrect" and says he plans to have the decision reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Hunter TV applied in February this year for an apparatus licence under the Radiocommunications Act to provide a high-powered open narrowcasting television service in the Hunter.
Mr Breis said the proposed station would feature exclusively local content and had the support of the community, politicians, Newcastle City Council and Hunter TAFE.
But after considering the application, the ACMA declined to issue the licence, citing the current task of TV spectrum restacking and "policy uncertainty", Mr Breis said.
Hunter TV applied to the ACMA for an internal reconsideration of that decision. But on July 10, ACMA reaffirmed the original decision not to issue the licence.
ACMA stressed the ruling related to the ongoing availability of spectrum and was not a reflection of the quality of the service proposed by Hunter TV.
"The ACMA is generally not making spectrum available for high power open narrowcasting television in order to preserve options for the use of the unallocated TV channel."
The ACMA has recently completed work on replanning the TV bands, allowing for six digital television channels at each broadcasting site nationwide - ABC, SBS, three commercial licences and one unallocated channel.
But Mr Breis said the task of frequency restacking would not affect Hunter TV and he was aware of three frequencies the station could use.