Community broadcasting in Australia emerged in the 1960s when demand was high for unique, localised content through radio. Listeners grew as did the respective radio stations and by the 1980’s, nearly 50 community radio stations across the country were on the airwaves.
With the number of listeners and community radio stations growing, an organisation to support the distribution of funding was needed, as was a champion to demonstrate the value of community broadcasting to the Australian Government.
In 1984, an extraordinary event in the history of community broadcasting occurred following a long period of campaigning. The Public Broadcasting Foundation (PBF) was formed. Led by a passionate Board representing the diversity of community broadcasters, the PBF was entrusted to ‘..distribute funding in a ‘non-political and impartial way*’.
A passion for community broadcasting united the Board and the supporting committees. Working together, they helped to grow government funding significantly to support community media. Each increase in funding was a win celebrated by the PBF and broadcasters – including significant investments in training, the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project, content and digital broadcasting. This passion for improving community broadcasting continues to sit at the heart of the CBF as we now provide more than $16.8 million in funding to support more than 450 community broadcasting services across Australia.
*Minutes of the inaugural Public Broadcasting Foundation Board meeting on 26 November 1984.