A very warm welcome to the newest free-to-air channel in Australia – NITV. Launching tomorrow at midday the network promises to deliver interesting and engaging content reflective of Australia’s many indigenous communities (and, if it’s smart, will become the new home of the Marngrook Footy Show). The opening concert is sure to be a sight to behold. NITV is available on Channel 34 (SBS four) on FTA and Channel 180 on Foxtel. From the press release:

In a historic day for Australia, a dedicated Indigenous television service will be available for all Australians free-to-air for the first time, when National Indigenous Television (NITV) begins broadcasting on 12 December 2012.

From 12pm, Australians are invited to tune in as NITV switches on, and join the celebrations as the channel dedicated to telling the stories of the world’s greatest story tellers becomes available to every household.

NITV Channel Manager, Tanya Denning, said: “NITV is dedicated to creating and delivering innovative content representing the many voices of the country’s first Australians, and having our unique languages and culture reflected within the media landscape. We’re excited to invite Australians of all backgrounds to tune in, and join us in celebrating our rich and unique culture.”

To celebrate the free-to-air launch and mark this important milestone, NITV will broadcast a day of special programming including two live outdoor broadcasts from Uluru in the Northern Territory, news and current affairs specials, children’s programming and film.

From the Heart of Our Nation – 12pm on NITV
NITV will begin broadcasting free-to-air with a two hour outside broadcast from Uluru in the Northern Territory. From the Heart of Our Nation will be a special television event marking the official ‘switch on’, and will be hosted by Indigenous broadcasters Stan Grant and Rhoda Roberts. The Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara traditional owners of the area will begin by welcoming audiences from around the nation. Set against the remarkable backdrop of one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, Stan and Rhoda will interview a number of special guest and cross to different locations, as people share their stories about what having this dedicated Indigenous channel available to every Australian means to them.

There’ll also be some dazzling and powerful performances, including special appearances by some of Australia’s leading Indigenous artists during the two hour celebration marking this milestone event.

Living Black Special: Your Stories, Your Voice – 2pm on NITV
In an explosive special episode, Indigenous current affairs program Living Black will examine the history of Indigenous broadcasting in Australia and the changing face of the media landscape. Hosted by Karla Grant, Living Black will explore how Indigenous communities are receiving their news and information, as
well as how Indigenous issues are portrayed by both mainstream and Indigenous media.

Karla will lead a panel discussion with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, activist Sol Bellear, and Aboriginal scholar Professor Marcia Langton, to discuss past, present and future challenges Indigenous people face in their continued struggle to close the gap. Indigenous issues will also be explored with interviews and expert insight from activist Gary Foley, Koori Mail editor Kirstie Parker, author and social commentator Dr Anita Heiss, outspoken boxer Anthony Mundine and journalist Jeff McMullen.

Jarjums – From 3pm on NITV
NITV is recognised for its commitment to high quality children’s programs that educate, entertain and facilitate learning and development of Indigenous culture. Jarjums (meaning children) is NITV’s daily block of children’s programs from Australia, as well as award-winning programs from other Indigenous cultures around the world. On 12 December, the programs featured are:
• Waabiny Time (3pm): A Noongar language program commissioned by NITV for an early childhood audience, the program takes children from the ages of three to six on an educational and entertaining adventure, with stories, songs and activities that are authentically Indigenous and encourage participation.
• Tipi Tales (3.30pm): This series follows the adventures of four Ojibway children in the Canadian Prairies, who must learn to solve a problem using the traditional teachings of their ancestors. Through these charming stories, Tipi Tales reflects the Canadian Ojibway culture and the teachings of the First Nations people.
• Raven Tales (4pm): Designed for school-age children and their families to introduce Native American folklore in an entertaining way. Following the adventures of Raven, the trickiest troublemaker of Native American folklore, each episode delivers humorous and heartfelt stories
adapted from of wide variety of Native cultures from across North America.
• Bushwhacked (4.30pm): Brandon Walters sets up his city-slicker mate, Kayne Tremills, with eye-popping challenges as they travel around Australia. Weaving Indigenous rites and rituals, and native wildlife and adrenaline-pumping action, the boys are constantly kept on their toes as Brandon sets Kayne amazing missions to complete.

NITV News – 5.30pm on NITV
A special edition of NITV News broadcast from Uluru will provide comprehensive coverage of the day and the latest news effecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Hosted by Natalie Ahmat with sports presenter Kris Flanders, the news service that has become a cornerstone of NITV’s schedule will feature crosses to reporters around the country, including the Torres Straits and Canberra.

From the Heart of Our Nation: Reflections, followed by Celebration Concert – From 7.30pm on NITV and simulcast on SBS ONE
At 7.30pm NITV will revisit some of the highlights from the From the Heart of Our Nation broadcast hosted by Stan Grant and Rhoda Roberts, earlier in the day. From 8pm the party really gets underway as NITV returns to the outdoors at Uluru. As the sun sets on the Rock, there is no better location to bring together Australia’s best Indigenous artists to take to the stage for a live two hour spectacular, and celebrate this special day.

Hosted by the much-loved Ernie Dingo, audiences across the country will be inspired to let their hair down, get off their couches and get grooving as Christine Anu, Troy Cassar Daley, Casey Donovan, Dan Sultan, Archie Roach, Warren H. Williams, Frank Yamma, and the Tjupi Band perform some of their
classics – and a few surprises – under the stars.

Movie: Stone Bros – 10pm on NITV
Australian Indigenous comedy film Stone Bros is the story of Eddie (Luke Carroll) and his quest to reconnect with his blackfella roots. Sick of city life, he takes off in his beat-up Ford Fairmont to find and return a sacred stone to his hometown, Kalgoorlie but he hadn’t bargained on his skirt-chasing, hardliving
cuz Charlie (Leon Burchill) forcing himself along for the ride. Eddie’s spiritual quest takes a further detour when they encounter an Italian sex-god (Valentino Del Toro), a soul-searching cop (Peter Phelps), a failed drag singer (David Page) and a demon dog possessed by Charlie’s jilted girlfriend.

NITV will be available free-to-air from 12pm on 12 December 2012 on channel 34 and Foxtel channel 180. The special launch day broadcast will also be streamed live online on sbs.com/nitv.

About NITV (www.nitv.org.au)
In 2007, with barely two hours a week of dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programming being broadcast across the nation, the time was right for an innovative Indigenous-run organisation to properly represent the many voices of Indigenous Australia. On 13 July 2007, with a staff of just 25, NITV started beaming out across the nation and by the end of that year was being broadcast on Foxtel, Austar and Optus. Today, NITV is the only channel in Australia that is 100 per cent dedicated to reflecting the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It aims to inform, entertain and educate its
audiences with unique programs showcasing the rich diversity of Indigenous culture, languages and creative talent from across the nation. NITV content is primarily commissioned or acquired from the Indigenous production sector, and Indigenous Australians make up two thirds of its staff.

The launch of NITV free-to-air follows the Federal Government’s 2012 budget announcement to transfer funding from NITV to SBS to develop a new, national digital free-to-air channel dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content. NITV will maintain editorial responsibility over delivery of the channel,
and will continue to utilise the talents of Indigenous writers, directors and journalists to produce content covering a variety of genres, from music to health, sport, news, current affairs, culture and children’s programs.

To watch NITV free-to-air from 12 December 2012, viewers will need to tune in to channel 34 on a Digital TV, PVR or set top box. For an analogue television, the viewer will need to connect their TV to a Digital set top box, PVR, or Digital recorder and tune in to channel 34. NITV also broadcasts on Foxtel channel

About SBS (www.sbs.com.au)
SBS is Australia’s multilingual and multicultural national broadcasting service. Our principal function, as set out in the SBS Charter, is to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians, and, in doing so, reflect and promote Australia’s multicultural society. SBS broadcasts to a national television and radio audience and delivers content
online on its website.