What You Think | radioinfo

What You Think

User Opinion Story
Anthony The Koala
3 December 2020 - 4:58am
Generally, community stations play a role in covering local news, issues and music not covered by the commercial radio and ABC.

If you tune your AM dial (frequency changer) in the late evening and midnight-to-dawn, you will hear regional stations sounding alike because the program content is sourced from the capital city networks.

Legally, the regional stations, sections 43B and 43C of the Broadcast Services Act (Cth) ('BSA'), source https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2020C00364, allow non-regional content between 1800 and 0600, ss43C(1) and (8) BSA. Metropolitan stations do not have the requirement that its source program comes from the local market, s61C, BSA. It is perfectly legal for a station in Sydney to broadcast to Brisbane as exemplified until recently by 2GB broadcasting to 4BC.

So, the author is correct that there is "...nothing to suggest..." any illegality by the community radio sector.

The ACMA is acting within the law. By the ACMA granting extended coverage of community stations with repeater stations is lawful. If there is a consequential concern about encroachment into commercial radio territory, then the commercial radio can lobby our Federal MPs into modifying the legislation, schedules of the underlying act (BSA), and regulations to provide scope on the range of discretion allowed by the ACMA and Federal Minister.

Having said that, if there is to be local coverage, the regional stations don't have to have a local presence between 1800 and 0600 by law. If more local coverage is required, then the legislation, should change.

Generally most regional stations are owned by 'capital city' conglomerates
and may lobby for less local presence and centralize programming. But I cannot read the mind and will of the 'capital city' conglomerates.

When it comes to presentation of programs on community radio, the presenters have to undergo a training program conducted by the community station or by an external provider. Presenters should sound professional and not sound like rank amateurs. Sounding professional is not the exclusive domain of the commercial stations and the ABC.

Furthermore, the author criticises an SA community radio station run by former commercial radio professionals especially in raising sponsorship funds for the station.

Recall that sponsorship of community radio by IS NOT raising funds for commercials. The lines between a commercial and a sponsorship announcement may be blurred with the resulting sponsorship announcement sounding like a commercial. A community station can be reprimanded by the ACMA or have its licence suspended or cancelled if it violates the law.

I commented on on this site about the distinction between a sponsorship announcement and a commercial. The announcement can declare the types of goods and/or services with the announcement "....XYZ is a proud sponsor of station name...." But the announcement cannot compare one firm with another firm, NOR can it talk about the qualities of the product and/or service.

Then there is nothing to stop the announcement from sounding professional.

The author makes a valid comment about the possible encroachment of community radio audiences into the commercial radio station's audience. There are market forces, being the regional audience. The community station may well 'eat' into the commercial station's audience because of more local issues discussed and the kinds of music not covered by the commercial station and ABC.

The fault for the loss of regional station's audience lies with the mind and will of the station's management regardless of the location of the registered office of the radio station. The community radio station is giving what the regional audience wants while the commercial station is not, especially if the station is networked from outside the regional area.

Finally, financial management of a radio station, whether community or commercial is important. This site reported on a multicultural community station in Victoria closing because it ran out of funds.

On the other hand the author was critical of an Indigenous radio network, QRAM and its plans being funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

However, there is nothing illegal about QRAM expanding. I refer to my earlier paragraph that they are acting according to the law and if there is a concern about taking over a commercial radio station's audience, then the commercial radio stations whether the industry or the affected local commercial regional stations, should then lobby Federal MPs.

As it is, the expansion of Indigenous community radio providing local Indigenous communities may well be the provider of "to provide information, entertainment and a sense of belonging to remote indigenous communities on Cape York..." and beyond. Are the commercial stations covering Indigenous information, entertainment and a sense of belonging? To a limited extent the ABC may allocate a few hours a week, but not 24/7.

In addition there is nothing illegal in QRAM using professional staff to raising sponsorship.

In summary, I see no problem with community radio expanding and fulfiling an audience that is not catered by regional commercial radio, this is especially when many regional stations are networked from the capital cities.

If there is a concern that the ACMA is allowing expansion of the community sector, the ACMA is acting according to law. If the BSA, its schedules, regulations and the discretion by the Federal Minister and the ACMA is the problem of allowing expansion of community radio then lobby Federal MPs to have the law changed. Otherwise, the community stations are acting LAWFULLY.

Thank you,
Anthony of very critical Belfield
Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’
Horsy Hawkesbury
2 December 2020 - 4:01pm
Hmmm. One community station in my market which might be put into this category is Sydney"s Hope1032. They're a community licence, but pay their announcers and have an annual budget approaching $1.5M. A large part of this comes from listener financial support. They certainly place themselves as a player in the competitive Sydney market, but the problem is, much of their content is actually community radio standard or poorer, rather than commercial standard. One of my big bugbears is they allow announcers on air who are mediocre at best,and they don't seem to think radio content when emploting on air staff.

Hope1032 is a Christian station, and that's their focus, as far as I can work out, to employ people who want to be ministers and such rather than employing them because of their abilities. Where do we go from there?
Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’
bradsmart
2 December 2020 - 12:55pm
Alaina. I don't have your contact details, but happy to talk if you want to call me 0418 311011. Brad Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’
jack shit
2 December 2020 - 12:35pm
Too true Walt! Music Testing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
StJohn
2 December 2020 - 11:36am
May be this is an audience reaction to the extensive networking of commercial broadcasting. For example there is one company which has the the licence for all of WA except 1 station in the country and it has a pair of Perth stations. They also have big networks in the other states as well as a regional TV network in those states as well.
It is the ACMA's rules which have forced regional radio broadcasters to provide a small amount of local content, probably brought on by regional politicians who want to be able to present themselves to the electors particularly at election time.
Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’
Alaina
2 December 2020 - 11:03am
As a worker at Rock FM in Moranbah I find the statements about us laughable. If you would like any factual clarification, feel free to get in touch. Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’
Richard D
2 December 2020 - 10:01am
Hi Brad,
I never worked for you in my Radio days, but from all accounts you were a great owner who appreciated their staff. In your day you believed in local radio I am sure. Now days "blind Freddy" could see how the major networks have taken away so much local radio and staff to hub centres that it is no wonder that community radio has taken ground. The greatest strength of regional commercial radio is localism and they have simply handed it over to community stations who are now taking a firm hold with audience growth. Even the days of young announcers starting in a country station are fast becoming hard to fine and as such young hopefuls are beginning their career in community stations.... all wanting to sound as good as they can. I am not surprised and commercial radio can only look inwards to find the real reasons... they will complain and whinge... but they only have themselves to blame. all the best.
Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’
SteveM
2 December 2020 - 9:58am
Congrats Jase. Good to see you back in the saddle. Jason Costa is back at 2CA after a 17 year break
BD
2 December 2020 - 7:55am
While Brad is right that the legislation probably didn't envisage community stations growing as they have, surely it also didn't envisage that regional commercial (and ABC) stations would be taking so much networked content, and be less "local" in 2020. While some community stations seem to be subverting the intention of the law, and are getting away with providing a pseudo-commercial service without the costs that apply to commercial stations -- especially the wages -- it could be argued that they are serving listeners in regional areas better than, a station that is 90 per cent programmed in and presented from a capital city far, far away. Maybe the government should be funding commercial stations in the regions to include more local content, either on the main station or by a second or online station or podcast. It would be unfair to impose further restrictions on community stations if they are providing a service that the public want and the commercial operator is not providing. The whole licensing regime needs a rethink taking this into account. While it's wrong to allow stations run by unpaid people the "eat the lunch" of the commercial stations, the government regulator has a responsibility to ensure each market is served adequately with the interests of listeners first and foremost. With technology changing so quickly, ACMA needs to grab back control before the horse bolts. Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’
David
2 December 2020 - 4:29am
I think it's indicative of a growing level of audience dissatisfaction with the quality of regional radio services. Regional community radio licencees certainly seem to be attemping to move into the gaps in regional markets. Many of them don't have the same standard of resources or talent to do it professionally. Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’

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