Community Radio Wrap 2012
10 December 2012
by Kath Letch (Source)
Some years are better than others and it hasn’t been a good year in terms of funding support for community radio. The recent national listener survey by McNair Ingenuity Research indicates that over 4.4 million people listen to community radio each week or 25% of Australian radio listeners. The average listener is tuned in for a 14.1 hours a week and over a third are listening for Australian music and community radio’s support for local music. Community radio and the Australian music sector were hit hard then by the Government’s failure to renew funding in the 2012 federal budget to Amrap - the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project.
Amrap is a national project managed by the CBAA and plays an invaluable role in distributing and profiling new Australian music. Since 2008 it has created critical new services to bridge the divide between artists and the airwaves, distributed music for over 3,000 Australian artists to over 1,500 broadcasters from 300 stations, and published community radio’s weekly ‘AirIt’ charts in TMN.
Amrap has continued on emergency life support since funding ran out in June while the Federal Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has repeatedly indicated that his department is ‘looking for solutions’. There’s been a fantastic level of support for Amrap by community broadcasters and the Australian music industry but time is running out so we are desperately hoping a solution emerges very soon!
Another harsh outcome of the federal budget for community broadcasters was insufficient funding for community digital radio services in the mainland capital cities. Community digital radio was launched nationally just last year by Senator Conroy at Melbourne’s Triple R where the Minister clearly stated the Government’s commitment to the inclusion of community radio on the digital broadcast platform.
We now face a shortfall of $1.4m per year in funding for basic operational costs to maintain those services and without that shortfall being addressed we will have to reduce the number of community digital radio services. Listening to community digital radio sits at 12.3% in the short time services have been operating. It’s a serious blow to community stations who have invested scarce resources in developing digital services for the government to not continue full funding for basic transmission costs in this early stage of digital radio. Community radio plays such a critical role in providing media diversity and supporting Australian music, arts and culture.
The funding to support both Amrap and the shortfall in funding for community digital radio represents less than fifty cents per year for each of those 4.4 million people listening to community radio every week. With over 20,000 volunteers making community radio programs I reckon their listeners might appreciate fifty cents a year on their behalf for the government to continue supporting these crucial national infrastructure projects.
More info at cbaa.org.au