Explainer: CBF Specialist Radio Programming

June 29, 2022

A smiling woman with dark hair and red jumper wearing headphones in front of a microphone

People often ask us about the difference between our Development & Operations, Content and Specialist Radio Programming grants.

Understanding the difference is important when you’re thinking about your project, the support you need and which grant to apply for.

What is Specialist Radio Programming?

Our Specialist Radio Programming grants support ongoing, regular programs at stations in the following areas.

  • Radio Reading – (formerly RPH) programs for people with a print disability
    Radio reading brings print material to life for nearly five million Australians living with a print disability through physical limitations, learning disabilities and literacy issues. Reading radio ensures people with print disabilities have equal access to news, local updates and entertainment.
  • Ethnic programming – programs for a defined local ethnic community
    Ethnic community media is as diverse as multicultural Australia, with programs broadcast in more than 100 different languages. Ethnic voices on the airwaves are a welcoming voice to new arrivals and for others, a way to connect to their cherished culture. Ethnic media also provides an opportunity for cross-cultural learning experiences.
  • First Nations media – programs produced and presented by a First Nations person or group
    Our support of community media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities helps our First Nations people celebrate place and identity. Stories are shared in Language, helping to maintain connections, preserve culture and express unique perspectives. With many Indigenous communities living in remote areas, these broadcasts also provide essential emergency communications.

How are Specialist Radio Programming grants different to Content grants?

Specialist Radio Programming grants are not competitive. This means if your program/s meet the eligibility requirements you will receive support. These grants are specifically for established, ongoing Radio Reading, Ethnic or First Nations radio programs that are on air by the start of the funding period and will run for 12 months. They must also be produced locally, broadcast regularly (at least fortnightly), over 30-minutes long and cover social, cultural and political issues relevant to that community.

Content grants are competitive and support a range of programs that are new and established, short term (e.g. short series or Outside Broadcasts) or long term (e.g. regular TV program) and on a range of platforms.

What can you apply for?

You can apply for items such as small equipment, subscriptions, music, local travel, program marketing and website costs, conferences, Outside Broadcast costs and program-specific training. You can also apply for costs associated with applying for the grant, running meetings with specialist broadcasters and community consultancy fees.

When should you apply for a Specialist Radio Programming grant?

  1. If your station has eligible ethnic, radio reading or First Nations programs that are currently on air.
  2. If your station has eligible ethnic programming and you have applied for a Development & Operations grant, you must also complete the Specialist Radio Programming application form. This ensures your application will also be considered for funding through the dedicated Ethnic Community Broadcasting Fund.

How do you apply for a Specialist Radio Programming grant?

First read the guidelines in the Specialist Application Form.

If this is the first time you have applied and you have eligible programs currently on air, get in touch with the Grants Support Team member who looks after your area. They will confirm your eligibility, talk you through the process and help you apply.

If you want to start a new radio reading, ethnic or First nations program (and why wouldn’t you?), you will need to talk to your local community and broadcasters about what they need or want as part of the process. You also need to contact the Grants Support Team to discuss your idea.

For stations consulting with multiple ethnic broadcasters, we’ve prepared a Specialist Content Workbook (Excel, 187KB) to help you.

When you’re ready, you need to submit your application online.

Examples of Specialist Radio Programming supported by the CBF

More information

Photo: Masomeh from 4EB’s Persian Persian Radio Group.  4EB received a CBF Specialist Radio Programming grant in 2020/21 which helped support 187.5 hours/week of ethnic radio programming. This included establishing programs in African, Aramaic and Carribean languages.


About our grants    

We run two Content and Development & Operations grant rounds each year, usually in January and July.   

Quick Response Grants are also available outside our grant rounds for community media organisations that are experiencing emergencies.    

Grant round dates  

Check our Key dates page for the next grant round.  

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