About community media

Australian community broadcasting is recognised internationally as one of the most successful examples of grassroots media. Community broadcasting amplifies the voice of Australians, providing a platform to share local stories through radio, televisoin and digital. Each week, more than 57,000 hours of radio and 34,000 hours of video content are broadcast across Australia.

Community broadcasters carry voices and culture to every corner of Australia, actively engaging communities with local news, information, cultural content and entertainment. Many focus on specific areas of interest such as youth, music or education while others broadcast specialised content engaging ethnic, Indigenous, religious and print disabled communities.

More than 450 community-owned radio stations and three community television producers are licensed around Australia by the Australian Community and Media Authority (ACMA). Community radio stations operate in towns and cities across Australia with the majority located in regional and rural areas.

Volunteers at the heart

Community media is brought to life by more than 31,000 volunteers. These dedicated volunteers sit at the heart of their local community, inspiring connection by producing media that is ‘for the people, by the people’. Community broadcasting actively promotes access and participation in operations, administration and media production.

Community media organisations are often managed by teams of volunteers, with many of the smaller stations operating 24-hours, seven days per week on less than an average annual salary. These dedicated volunteers are creative, innovative and agile and most importantly, driven by their passion for making a difference.

“Community radio is a medium that gives voice to the voiceless, that serves as the mouthpiece of the marginalized and is at the heart of communication and democratic processes.
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

 

 

Read more about the team bringing community broadcasting to life in the Station Census research funded by the CBF.

Audience

Each week, more than 5.7 million listeners across Australia tune in to community radio for more than 15-hours. Community radio captures a loyal audience with engaging, local content not found in mainstream media. Additionally, more than 1 million Australians watch community television, including media producers ICTV, C31 Melbourne and Geelong, C44 Adelaide and West TV.

Read more about listeners in the 2017 National Listener Survey (PDF, 10MB) funded by the CBF.

Funding

As an industry, community media is mostly self-funded with CBF grants forming just over 7.5%* of income. Community radio stations gain the majority of their income from business sponsorship, subscriptions, donations and other fundraising activities. Many CBF grants support station sustainability to ensure their important work can continue into the future, including enhancing business knowledge and funding strategic planning development.

In addition to the support of the Community Broadcasting Foundation, stations often seek the assistance of other organisations. FBi in Sydney for example partnered with Multicultural NSW to produce ‘Outskirts Reporting,’ a journalism masterclass for aspiring journalists (featured above).

Community Broadcasting Sector Financial Health of Community Radio Survey (October 2017).

Sector Roundtable

Representative organisations from community media meet regularly at a roundtable discussion to consider leadership, advocacy, policy and development. The Community Broadcasting Sector Roundtable consists of representatives from the CBF, the Australian Community Television Alliance (ACTA), Christian Media & Arts Australia (CMAA), Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA), the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council (NEMBC), First Nations Media Australia and the peak body for the Radio Reading Network, RPH Australia (RPHA).

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