Specialist Radio Programming

Summary of Programs

The Summary of Programs is an online form completed in SmartyGrants that provides details of all Specialist Radio programs broadcast by your station (previously the summary of programs was an Excel spreadsheet emailed out to applicants prior to the funding round). The Summary of Programs is used to determine your station’s eligibility for a Specialist Radio Programming grant and/or whether your station is eligible to receive Ethnic funding support through Development & Operations grants.

Your Summary of Programs must be up to date before submitting a Specialist Radio Programming application and to be eligible to receive Ethnic funding support through the Development & Operations grant category.

The Summary of Programs is housed in your list of applications in your SmartyGrants account and contains prefilled information for you to review. It consists of two tables – the Summary of Programs which lists details including program names, languages, hours and websites and the Summary of broadcasters which lists the diversity characteristics and names of the program’s broadcasters.

You are also required to provide a link to your current Program grid which should contain any programs listed.

When updating your Summary of Programs each round you may need to e.g. delete any programs that have ceased broadcasting by clicking the grey minus bottom to the right of the row, add new programs by clicking the ‘Add more’ button, amend hours of programs and change the names of broadcasters if applicable.

Watch a short video on How to complete your Summary of Programs.

For assistance in updating your Summary of Programs or if you are applying for Specialist Radio Programming for the first time and need to create a Summary of Programs, please get in touch with the Grants Support Team

Programs in development

A ‘program in development’ is a program that is at the ideas stage and requires support to undertake community consultation, select producers and presenters and commence development. In order to be eligible for support, the station must demonstrate that this program is planned to be on air within the funding period.

If you are applying for program/s in development we will ask you to provide details about this new opportunity including which communities do you plan to engage with? Why these communities? How will you engage with the community? You will also be asked when do you hope to have the program commence broadcasting on the station?

Programs in development may request a one-off payment start-up / seed funding for program resources, training and program development. Items could include the purchase of music, USBs, program mentoring, news sources, small equipment (headphones, portable recorders) or other requirements specific to establishing a new program group.

Applicants with programs in development are not expected to have consulted with presenters and broadcasters at this stage and do not need to include meeting attendees for these programs in the application.

What activities are incentivised?

The CBF supports diversifying voices in community media to ensure that community radio reflects the whole community. The Department of Communications and the Arts allocates funds to the CBF specific for this purpose, to encourage programming that services the information needs of particular audiences, namely people with a print disability, and Ethnic and First Nations communities.

Specialist Radio Programming grants maintain diversity in community broadcasting through supporting the production of ongoing, regular ethnic, First Nations Australian and RPH programs.

In particular, these grants help organisations extend their broadcasting activities beyond weekly music programs. Through the eligibility requirements, these grants incentivise spoken word content broadcast in a language other than English, content that meets the Standards for RPH broadcasting, programs produced in and broadcast to remote Indigenous communities and increased levels of First Nations and ethnic programs on ‘generalist’ licensed stations (as different to specialist ethnic or First Nations licensed stations).

Where can I learn more about radio reading?

RPH Australia has produced resources for stations interested in radio reading, from how to start a radio reading program, getting to know your community and preparing your station for volunteers with disabilities. There are also specific resources for individual volunteers wanting to get involved, such as pitching your program to a station, planning, researching and presenting. Check out these resources and get in touch with the Grants Support Team for help in applying for a Specialist Radio Programming grant to support your program.

What are First Nations Australians program wages?

The CBF is committed to Closing the Gap to help overcome the inequality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and help them achieve life outcomes equal to all Australians. A step toward this is to offer a salary subsidy through Specialist Radio Programming of up to $75 per hour of programming for First Nations Australians producers/presenters.

What is the community/broadcaster engagement admin fee?

Collecting information about what each ethnic or First Nations program needs will take some work. As will holding consultation meetings with each broadcast group to make sure all parties are aware of the proposed grant expenditure and how the organisation plans to administer the grant funds. Those conversations and meetings are a requirement of the grant application. Broadcasters must know what is requested on their behalf, must be aware that any equipment purchased with CBF grant funds remains the property of the applicant organisation (not the individual broadcaster) and must agree to the amounts submitted in the grant budget. We are aware that this will take some time and resources, so we have allowed a contribution to the station of up to $250 per program to cover some of those expenses and staff time.

How much should we apply for on behalf of our Specialist Program groups?

There is no set limit on the total amount you can request for Specialist Radio Programming support.

The grant guidelines include a guide for how much may be considered reasonable per program and per station for particular items such as music, program marketing, small equipment etc.
The best starting point is to look at what your station has spent on Ethnic or First Nations program grants previously. Ask the broadcast groups what resources they need to continue and improve their programs. Use our Specialist Program forms (Indigenous/Ethnic) to guide your discussions.  For a more extensive workbook to gather data, refer to our Specialist Content Workbook (adapted from a workbook kindly shared by Behrooz Farahnakian at Radio 4EB). We recommend you audit the data you collected in this workbook to ensure your totals are accurate.

Your station may set limits or internal policies relating to some items (e.g. no local travel, only one conference attendance subsidy per group, one portable recorder to be shared by five program groups etc.).

Are the figures in ‘how much to apply’ capped amounts?

No. There is no set limit on the amounts you can request.

The guide describes how much the CBF considers to be a reasonable request for particular items per program and per station. If your programs have a greater need for support than what is described in the guide, you can apply for more than what is stated, but you should explain why. For example, new program groups are likely to have a strong case for a higher support level during their first year.

Do I have to provide a budget for each Specialist Radio Program?

No. You should provide an aggregated budget for all programs by Specialist Program type. All of your Ethnic programs will be described in one budget (e.g. music for 32 programs, 3 x headphones to share between five program groups) and all of your First Nations programs would be described in a separate budget (i.e. music for two programs, consultation with two x program groups).

How will Specialist Radio Programming requests be assessed?

Specialist Radio Programming applications are not allocated an assessment score like other content projects. Funding to support ethnic, First Nations and RPH programming is not competitive. Your application will be assessed to ensure each program is eligible under the grant guidelines. Assessors may provide comment on the items or amounts for items requested in your budget for the consideration of the Content Grants Advisory Committee. Grant offers will depend on this eligibility and budget level assessment.

Should I request the same amount as last year?

No – we expect the needs of Specialist Radio Programming broadcasters will change from year-to-year. Some items, such as music and subscriptions are likely to be continuing, ongoing requirements to create specialist programs. Other items, such as small equipment and program marketing may be required in one year but not in others. Some items, such as program specific mentoring or special events may be one-offs. We do not expect to replace zoom recorders and headphones for every broadcaster, every year.

The Content Grants Advisory Committee will consider the items provided in recent grants when considering Specialist Radio Programming support. The total amount requested to support Specialist Radio Programming at your organisation may be up, down or equivalent to last year’s application depending on the anticipated needs of your broadcast groups in the coming financial year.

We encourage you to view our other Frequently Asked Questions and explore our website to learn more about successful grant recipients, managing your grant, reporting, how to acknowledge the CBF and other funding opportunities. Also, don’t forget our Top 10 Tips for Applications!

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