Thu 4 May 2017 to Mon 8 May 2017

The community broadcasting sector today welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to increase sector funding by $6.1m over two years.

In an interview on Melbourne community radio station 89.9 LightFM this morning, Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield announced additional targeted funding for digital radio ($1.9m in 2017/18 and $2m in 2018/19) and a further $2.2m focused on support for stations affected by the reorganisation of the 803-960 MHz radio frequency band.

The community radio sector recorded a record national listenership in 2017, with 5.3 million – or 1 in 4 – Australians tuning in each week. 450+ community radio services across the country provide a voice for those not adequately serviced by other broadcasters. These stations contribute to public interest outcomes and media diversity, generate high levels of local and specialist content, and provide opportunities for participation in free-to-air media.

Community Broadcasting Association of Australia CEO Jon Bisset says that this additional funding support will secure the sector’s involvement in digital broadcasting across this period.

“For 40 years, Australian governments have been committed to community radio standing alongside commercial and national radio services on available free-to-air broadcast platforms. This increased funding supports community digital radio services over the next two years. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved in helping us keep the community in your radio.”

Bisset confirmed that the CBAA will continue working with the Government to ensure the long term sustainability of community radio.

“The additional funding for digital radio comes at a critical period for the sector and will assist to maintain metropolitan digital radio services and the planned extension of digital radio to Canberra, Darwin and Hobart. The sector will need this increased level of funding on an ongoing basis to support regional expansion of digital radio and we appreciate the Government's commitment to supporting these next steps. Community services are an essential part of the mix of broadcast services available to Australian communities.”

The provision of funding to support the large number of regional and metropolitan community radio stations directly affected by the reorganisation of the 803-960 MHz radio frequency band will assist in covering the hard costs associated with this transition and alleviate pressure on these communityowned, not-for-profit organisations. This support is especially critical for regional and rural community stations in maintaining essential infrastructure.

The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) champions community radio by building station capability and creating a healthy environment for the sector to thrive.

PBS welcomes this decision and looks forward to working with the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia and the Government to ensure the long term sustainability of community radio. (2)small.jpg