'We have formed The Republic of AMRAP as a peaceful but public intervention' | radioinfo

'We have formed The Republic of AMRAP as a peaceful but public intervention'

Tuesday 09 January, 2018
Staff at the community broadcasting sector's Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP) have staged an "intervention" and taken over the AIRIT airplay website in an attempt to force the CBAA to back down on a proposed restructure.

AMRAP Manager Chris Johnson and his staff have left the CBAA offices and taken over the AMRAP website, posting details of their campaign and a video explaining their action.

The CBAA has refuted the staff claims, saying a proposed restructure is still in the consultation stage and that the association maintains its commitment to Australian music and the AMRAP project:

The goals of the review are specific and not intended to impact the availability of CBAA services for musicians and stations. The information shared publicly by Chris Johnson refers to a draft future proposed model made available to all staff in late 2017 as part of ongoing consultation. This has been led by an independent facilitator and all staff have been provided ongoing opportunities [for consultation]...

Visitors to the AMRAP site are being redirected to a message about the campaign and an adaptation of the AMRAP logo saying "The Republic of AMRAP."
 


The message says the CBAA "is advancing a restructure that is threatening Amrap. The restructure benefits the CBAA at the expense of Amrap’s financial transparency and future."

The AMRAP staff say they are now working as volunteers with their own resources. They are asking help from broadcasters and musicians "to ensure a fair future for Amrap, Australian artists and community radio broadcasters who support Aussie music."

We’re calling on the Community Broadcasting Foundation to cancel the CBAA’s management of Amrap, place Amrap into caretaker mode, and identify a new management structure that includes community radio, and music sector representatives.

It is not known whether they have resigned their employment at the CBAA to conduct the campaign.

Their message says:
 
"All six members of the Amrap team have left the CBAA offices, where Amrap has rented for many years. It has become untenable to perform Amrap duties under the management of the CBAA.

"But we want to ensure that Australian musicians and community broadcasters don’t suffer. So we are volunteering our time and using personal resources to establish The Republic of Amrap as a peaceful action, to protect this vital Australian music project from the CBAA’s conduct and their misguided restructure of Amrap..."


"To be clear, we have not hijacked Amrap. We have formed The Republic as a peaceful but public intervention. We’re using our own money to rent the Republic of Amrap Space. We are using personal resources and are volunteering our time to protect this publicly funded asset, and to work for the amazing artists and broadcasters that rely on Amrap..."

 
The CBAA has told radioinfo:

The CBAA understands the critical role that Australian musicians and community broadcasters play in building strong communities and contributing to a vibrant culture. This longstanding alliance between our two sectors means that more Australian music is being shared and heard.

The CBAA’s dedication to promoting more Australian music on community radio has been evident throughout our management of the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap) since its inception almost two decades ago. Our support for the project has been strong through this time, including through periods when the project’s funding was cut.

We ensured that services were ongoing and, with the help of the music industry, successfully lobbied to secure funding for the future. We acknowledge the considerable achievements of all staff involved in developing, providing and sustaining Amrap-funded services to date and remain strongly committed to delivering these services for musicians and broadcasters.

Some issues raised today relate to ongoing work that the CBAA is doing internally and with others like the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

We are in a consultation phase of a review aimed at reducing administrative overheads, increasing collaboration and maximising outcomes for our stakeholders. The goals of the review are specific and not intended to impact the availability of CBAA services for musicians and stations. The information shared publicly by Chris Johnson refers to a draft future proposed model made available to all staff in late 2017 as part of ongoing consultation. This has been led by an independent facilitator and all staff have been provided ongoing opportunities in individual, group and all staff meetings, as well as in writing, to provide input on the CBAA’s future structure, and such opportunities are continuing.

Our commitment to consultation extends to the music industry and, following the CBF’s dissolution of its Australian Music Grants Advisory Committee, the CBF and CBAA have been discussing plans to ensure that open lines of communication remain strong between the two sectors. It has been proposed that a CBAA-led Amrap advisory committee would include members of the music industry and provide a platform for regular and meaningful discussion and input into the project's aims and future directions. This model has proved successful with the CBAA’s Community Radio Network.

The CBAA champions community radio by building the capability and sustainability of stations and creating a healthy and supportive environment for the sector to thrive. We will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the CBF, to ensure that promotion of contemporary Australian music through the community radio broadcasting sector continues.

 


Amrap commenced operation in 2000 with $1.5 million in Federal funding provided to the Community Broadcasting Foundation via the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (formerly Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) as part of the government's Contemporary Music Initiative for Community Broadcasting. It incorporated two separate but related initiatives: the CBF Amrap grants program for community broadcasting organisations; and the Amrap resource centre based at, and managed by, the CBAA
 
The Amrap is coordinated by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA). It offers a range of services for signed and unsigned Australian artists, major and independent record labels and all community radio stations and broadcasters around Australia.
   
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