Community broadcasters are taking their plight to local MPs directly and to the airwaves, in their campaign for significantly increased Government funding.
The aim is to educate Federal politicians further about the key role community broadcasting plays in society and its many, ongoing benefits to the community.
The broadcasters say they constantly provide media training and access, local programming content, volunteerism and support for Australian music artists. They say stations also act as a community hub and lifeblood, as well as promoting local organisations’ events and activities.
After receiving information kits in June, many MPs have been interviewed ‘live’ on their local community station to address the issues and their party policy on community broadcasting. They have also met staff from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA).
While the ABC has been granted an additional $54 million over three years to provide greater regional and local programming, the community broadcasting sector says it has been overlooked – despite more than 70% of licensed stations being in rural, regional and remote areas.
The sector says it is encouraged by Opposition Leader, Mark Latham’s general comments on building communities, and Helen Coonan’s appointment as Communications Minister will prompt both major parties to rethink their funding policy for community broadcasters.
So far, the CBAA has met about 65 MPs, senators and candidates in all states and territories except the NT. Community service announcements, supporting the funding campaign, will be sent to more than 250 community radio and tv stations for regular broadcast.