Along with many Australians, community radio services are currently facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The severity of the impact of COVID-19 is accelerating pressure on local community radio stations to find ways to deliver key broadcast services efficiently and economically, while transitioning to an entirely or partially remote content-production model.
It is impacting significantly on broadcasting resources, staffing and volunteers, and revenue sources in sponsorship, donations and fundraising.
According to the CBAA, with nearly six million listeners tuning in each week, local community stations play a vital role in keeping Australians informed and connected to their communities and as 70 per cent of community radios stations are in regional or remote areas, in many of these areas, community radio is the only local media source.
Together, the CBAA board in conjunction with the CBF has responded immediately by establishing a crisis Taskforce, to understand the challenges faced, consider the best way the sector can respond using our available resources and identify where gaps exist and where Government assistance is required.
The CBAA is calling on the Federal Government to provide support across four target areas to ensure community radio stations across the country remain viable and can play their critical role during the pandemic.
- $5m one-off Government contribution to sector’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund;
- An immediate commitment to maintaining the sector’s current funding levels beyond 2020/21;
- Greater use of community radio for Government Health and Information campaigns; and
- Ensuring community radio stations can access the recently announced Public Interest News Gathering (PING) Program.