What is Community Broadcasting?
More than 4 million people tune in to over 350 independent, non-profit, community broadcasting outlets around Australia every year.
Community broadcasting in Australia is a unique media sector in which community stations (predominantly radio stations) are independently owned, operated, managed and supported by their local community.
Legislated under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and guided by the Codes of Practice, radio stations are operated as independent not-for-profit organisations which actively encourage access and participation by members of their communities in all aspects of broadcast operations.
Community radio stations in Australia:
- Provide access to groups that are inadequately served by mainstream media
- Encourage participation in all aspects of running a station; from scheduling to production to administration
- Enhance the diversity of programming choices and viewpoints available to their audiences through a diverse range of music, information, news and views
- Support and develop local and national arts, music and culture within their community and nationally
- Provide basic media training to over 7,000 people annually
The community broadcasting sector has experienced rapid growth since its inception in the early 1970s and in 2012 consists of 361 licensed community radio stations, including Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Services (RIBS) and 50 broadcasting groups holding temporary radio licences.
Community radio stations receive government funding through the Community Broadcasting Foundation which is an independent, not-for-profit funding body for community broadcasting in Australia. Radio stations also source funding from subscribers and members to help with running costs.
Community radio stations operate in in rural, regional, metropolitan and suburban towns and cities across Australia, and provide diverse programming to cater to the needs and specialist interest groups in their local communities.
Most community radio stations predominantly have general programming but many stations have been established to cater to the needs of specific interest groups, including:
- 34 religious radio stations
- 22 Indigenous radio stations
- 15 Radio for the Print Handicapped (RPH) radio stations
- 7 ethnic radio stations
- 8 youth radio stations
- 8 seniors radio stations
- 4 fine music radio stations
There are also a small number of radio stations representing the gay and lesbian community, specialist music and arts communities.
You can find out more about community broadcasting on the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia website and australia.gov.au.