At the recent CBAA conference in Perth a workshop was held for community broadcasters on changing their station culture. The two presenters from that workshop, from Plenty Valley FM in Melbourne, share their tips with radioinfo.
Plenty Valley FM President Peter Marcato and General Manager Ange Barry conducted the session, designed to get community broadcasters thinking more strategically as community organisations rather than small clubs, looking at the ‘bigger picture’ of the station rather than personal interests.
Often community stations can be negative, introverted places with boards of management going from crisis to crisis, finding it difficult to achieve positive results for their local communities. The workshop concentrated on how to overcome such ingrained negative cultures and shared real life experiences from the station.
The session included information on the role of boards of management in the culture change process, how to handle negative volunteers (white ants) and the importance of implementing policy and procedure where applicable along with a strategic plan.
Peter Marcato says the workshop received positive feedback from those who attended:
“I think it was a real eye opener for some broadcasters. We are still working through our process of culture change and it is a long, hard road. The reward at the end of the process will be a broadcaster serving the community effectively with professional presenters encouraging listeners, thus increasing sponsorship revenue and keeping the station afloat so stations can grow with their communities.”
Ange Barry has told radioinfo there are a few key aspects that management teams need to keep in mind when attempting to change station culture:
“If the board of management has a ‘helicopter’ view of their station and the process of moving forward, and this vision is successfully and openly communicated to the membership, then Stations can grow from being small clubs struggling with low funds to large dynamic community organisations that will survive well into the future.
“Participants related to the experiences at our Station, and seemed to find the tips on countering resistance very useful. We believe in building our internal and external capacity through positive change, keeping our focus firmly on our role as a provider of professional Community Radio to our Broadcast area.”
There was a good response from those who attended and the notes from the presentation have been distributed to the attendees. The station is able to provide advice to those stations who want assistance with the process of culture change.