Youth broadcaster Triple J has confirmed it will officially move the date of the forthcoming Hottest 100 countdown, after a lengthy consultation process regarding shifting the list away from the increasingly controversial Australia Day.

The station confirmed the countdown will be moved to the fourth weekend in January from this point on, meaning this year’s countdown will take place on SaturdayJanuary 27th.

The following day – Sunday the 28th – will see the station conduct the extended Hottest 200 countdown, showcasing the songs that placed 101-200 on the list.

Triple J revealed that 60% of people who participated in their reader survey stated a preference for the date to be changed, with 64,990 responses fielded during the public consultation process.

A further 39% did not support the change of date, while 1% returned a response of “no opinion.”

A subsequent secondary independent online survey was conducted, with the majority verdict in favour of a date change supported and upheld in that instance.

In regards to the date change, Triple J was at pains to assert that the Hottest 100 hasn’t always been held on January 26, and that it was never designed to be intrinsically linked to the Australia Day public holiday, however it became apparent after consulting with the public, Government officials, community leaders, prominent Indigenous voices, and musicians, that holding the countdown on the date would no longer be appropriate.

It’s fair to say there’s been increasing debate around 26 January and there are a lot of perspectives on what it means to different Australians. As the public broadcaster representing all Australians, triple j and the ABC doesn’t take a view in the discussions.

However, in recent years the Hottest 100 has become a symbol in the debate about Australia Day. The Hottest 100 wasn’t created as an Australia Day celebration. It was created to celebrate your favourite songs of the past year. It should be an event that everyone can enjoy together – for both the musicians whose songs make it in and for everyone listening in Australia and around the world. This is really important to us.

Next year instead, Triple J will be using January 26 to highlight the diversity of Australia, and will dedicate the day to “broadcasting a bunch of special programming that covers some of the day’s biggest events, like the Young Australian of the Year, citizenship ceremonies, the Australia vs England One Day Series, Yabun Festival, and much more. This way, both the Hottest 100 and Australia Day get the coverage they deserve as separate events.”

The countdown will be held on the fourth weekend in January moving forward, in order to “keep all the best bits you love about the Hottest 100 – the music and being with your mates on a day that most people have off – and still host it at the same time in summer you’re used to. It also means we can follow up that weekend with the 200-101 countdown.

You can read Triple J’s statement on the date change in full via this link.

Voting for this year’s Hottest 100 countdown opens on Tuesday, December 12.

Source: Triple J