Hitchhike TV
Type of site
news website
Available inEnglish
Dissolved2020; 4 years ago (2020)
Predecessor(s)31 Digital
Queensland Online TV
Launched28 February 2017; 6 years ago (2017-02-28)
Current statusActive

Hitchhike TV (also known as HTV) is a news website. Originating as Brisbane community television channel Briz 31, the service became available on 28 February 2017 as the station's terrestrial broadcasting went offline but started serving news through their website to the viewers.


1994–February 2017: Brisbane community television

31 Digital
Broadcast areaBrisbane, surrounding areas[1]
Picture format576i (SDTV) 16:9
OwnerBriz 31 Ltd
Launched31 July 1994; 29 years ago (1994-07-31)
Closed28 February 2017; 6 years ago (2017-02-28)
Replaced byQueensland Online TV (website) now Hitchhike TV
Former namesBriz 31 (1994–2006)
Channel 31 (2006–2008)
QCTV (2008–2010)
31 Digital (2010–2017)
Freeview (virtual)44

Brisbane's first community television channel was formed by Wes Tatters, Ric Adams, Simon Bunker, Ben Morrisson and Cait Spreadborough. The station began broadcasting a two-week test transmission in 1992 during the opening of South Bank Parklands, under the name Briz TV. During the broadcast week many different formats produced by the members went to air. Along with live footage from the opening of South Bank, member-produced formats included a variety show On the Bed with Simon and Karen where guests were invited to a studio in their pyjamas and be interviewed by the hosts.

The following two years were spent lobbying the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) for permission to broadcast on a full-time basis and developing a draft funding model for the organisation. At that time, there were no licence categories available except the experimental broadcasting category.

The station began broadcasting in the Brisbane area from Vulture Street Studios on 31 July 1994 as Briz 31 on analogue channel 31 (callsign CTQ-31) after an arrangement was struck with Telstra to provide broadcasting facilities at the ABQ-2 transmitter tower on Mount Coot-tha. With the lack of a marketing campaign to drive brand awareness at the time, many people confusingly called it "Bruce 31".

During Briz 31's early years daily programming consisted of Community Billboard, a text-based information service consisting of weather, local news and classifieds.[2] Regular programming would begin from 4pm usually consisting of locally-produced content and public domain films. Notable programmes from this era included Crazy Crosswords, a crossword puzzle game show interlaced with self-aware humour and Tamara Tonite, a long-running variety show hosted by titular Brisbane drag queen which continued into 2004.[3] As Briz 31 moved into the 2000s, regular programming eventually took up the channel's daytime slot and the station was successfully given a permanent broadcasting license by the ABA in 2004.[4] A nightly news bulletin produced by the Queensland University of Technology's journalism school was broadcast on the channel,[5] as well as current affairs programmes by Deutsche Welle.

To reflect its expansion into other parts of Queensland outside of Brisbane, the station was renamed Channel 31 in October 2006.[6] In 2007 the station had a major transmitter upgrade, which allowed it to reach another 40% of viewers mainly in Ipswich and the surrounding areas. In July 2008 the station was renamed QCTV for "Queensland Community Television".[6] In November 2009 the station announced their intent return to the "31" name and was renamed 31 QCTV before being renamed simply 31 in April 2010.[7] The station had announced in March 2010 that after a long period of uncertainty it would begin broadcasting in digital by 7 June 2010, and upon launching on digital channel 44 (broadcast on 529.500 MH) on 7 June 2010, the station was renamed 31 Digital.

The station's analogue broadcast later ceased on 15 May 2011.

In September 2014, Australian federal communications minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that licensing for community television stations would end in December 2015.[8] In September 2015, Turnbull, now Prime Minister, announced an extension of the deadline to 31 December 2016.[9] The deadline was again extended to 30 June 2017 by Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield in December 2016.[10]

Leading up to the various deadlines, 31 Digital, like other community television stations, moved operations online, and streamed its channel live on their website which allows access to viewers outside of its traditional broadcast area.[11] 31 Digital ceased broadcasting on television at 11:59 pm on 28 February 2017.[12] Days before 30 June 2017, the deadline was again extended to 31 December 2017 by Fifield,[13] but 31 Digital had already ceased broadcasting.

March 2017–present: Online service

With the close of terrestrial broadcasting, the channel shifted its focus to online video on demand and reinvented itself as Queensland Online TV (also known as Q Online TV).[14][15]

Sports discussion program The Commentary Box was released via Facebook on 27 February 2017 as the inaugural show under the new branding. The show featured three fans discussing the highlights of the previous week, with a Queensland focus.[16]

In June 2018, the service was rebranded as Hitchhike TV, returning to a linear streaming service with the video on demand element removed. Hitchhike TV streamed legacy 31 Digital content from their website in short programming blocks[17] with an announcement it would eventually become a 24-hour streaming service. However, the service was discontinued in 2020 with no official statement.

HTV Awards

The HTV AWARDS is an initiative by Hitchhike TV where individuals and organisations are awarded in a series of categories, each of which isolate a specific contribution to their industry. The standard awards list nominees in each category from which a winner is selected.[18]


Produced in-house

Other programming

Identity history

31 Digital

Queensland Online TV

Hitchhike TV

See also


  1. ^ "31 Digital licence area" (PDF). Australian Community Television Alliance. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Briz 31 - Community Billboard 1996 (part 1)" – via www.youtube.com.
  3. ^ Smaal, Yorick (2007). "Tamara Tonite". Queensland Review. 14 (2): 108–109. doi:10.1017/S1321816600006693. S2CID 233336755.
  4. ^ "Press Releases - Briz31 Television". 19 April 2006. Archived from the original on 19 April 2006.
  5. ^ https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1106&context=apme[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ a b "31 Digital History". Briz 31 Ltd. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  7. ^ Howson, Spencer (5 November 2009). "Briz-31, now QCTV, to revert to old name (and going digital)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Community TV: Malcolm Turnbull confirms licensing for stations will end in 2015". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 10 September 2014. Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  9. ^ Knox, David (17 September 2015). "Community TV lifeline: extended to 2016". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  10. ^ Knox, David (15 December 2016). "New switch-off date for Community TV". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 15 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  11. ^ Turner, Adam (20 April 2016). "Community TV: shift to online begins". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. Archived from the original on 2 January 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  12. ^ 31 Digital Ltd (27 February 2017). YouTube: 31 Digital Brisbane Community TV close down message (Television commercial). Brisbane: Australian TV Fan.
  13. ^ "Channel 31 gets a six-month reprieve on free-to-air TV shutdown". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. 27 June 2017. Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  14. ^ @31Digital (25 February 2017). "As we swap-over to our new platform, 31 Digital is also getting a new look and a new name. Meet Queensland Online TV – or Q Online for short" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Clun, Rachel (8 March 2017). "Briz 31 ceases television broadcast, but online future has 'huge potential'". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 10 March 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  16. ^ "The Commentary Box". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Hitchhike TV". 21 January 2019. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019.
  18. ^ "HTV AWARDS". Hitchhike TV. 1 January 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.