Plant a flag at the top of the mountain and say we are here: Artie Stevens SCMA Conference

At this year’s SCMA conference the association’s seven board members discussed the roles of community radio boards and the importance of community radio.
“Boards need a wide experience of people and skills. Stations need active boards for good governance,” said association president Helen Bath.
Community radio stations have to stay relevant in their own communities, she advised. “If you are struggling as a station, ask someone else for help. The SCMA can offer advice to stations.”
Community radio always faces many issues. Some of them raised in this session were:
High changeover of board members, as people move in and out of regional towns. “If someone leaves, don’t just get anyone to fill the position, leave it vacant until you can find the right person who has the skills that the board is lacking,” advised Ray Hazen.
Some people can’t commit to a full board membership position, but they may be able to help in their area of expertise as an accredited board member who can come in and out when their skill is needed.
Matt, a new board member at REM Albury Wodonga asked about new digital platforms. “I’m most interested in the future of media and a viable strategy for the future. There is a lot of potential for community stations to use all the new platforms that are available now.”
“Local content is what community radio has as an advantage over the commercials, streaming services or stations from somewhere else in the world,” said Michael McFeaters.
Artie Stevens from Air News said: “Many commercial stations have dropped the bundle on local news in regional areas.
“The opportunity is there for community radio to plant a flag at the top of the mountain and say we are here, we know what is important to local people.
“Wave your flag, shout ‘we are here’ and get people involved in the station.“

One example of local engagement discussed in the session was a ‘flash mob’ event at OKA FM Kilmore’s outside broadcast in a local shopping centre.

Other reports from the SCMA Conference here.