Thousands Campaign Against Community Radio Cuts
10 May 2016 at 10:59 am
More than 17,000 people have signed a petition calling on the federal government to reverse $1.4 million in budget cuts to community radio across Australia.
The community broadcasting sector launched the Keep the Community in Your Radio petition last Friday, and it has continued to build momentum, attracting the support of prominent politicians and journalists.
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) May 8, 2016
CEO of peak body Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) Jon Bisset said the cuts would put all community digital radio services at risk.
“We have 37 digital radio stations around the country and government funding contributes to the digital infrastructure costs to keep those services on air,” Bisset said.
“It’s critical for the long-term. Radio stations are currently on AM and FM, and DAB+ is the latest band that community radio has been on for about five years, and the number of listeners is growing steadily.”
Bisset said around 25 per cent of the community radio listening audience in five major capital cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide – are listening on digital radio.
“People are listening more and more on that band, and in the future as more and more people listen to commercial radio and the ABC and SBS on DAB+ it’s important that we stand alongside them so that we’re the third pillar of media broadcasting.”
He also said the move raised serious concerns regarding the future of Australian media, as the cuts also come at the time commercial broadcasters are set to benefit from a 25 per cent reduction in licence fees.
The petition is calling on the government to reinstate the $1.4 million per year that has been cut from the budget, which would return the community radio funding to its current level in this financial year.
— Sally Sara (@sallyjsara) May 5, 2016
Bisset said the CBAA would continue the fight during the election campaign.
“Particularly in some of the marginal seats we will certainly be making sure the candidates are aware of our campaign,” he said.
“We have some very good and very strong radio stations who are already making a noise and letting people know this funding [cut] is going to mean that you may not be able to hear your community radio station on air in the future.
“We’ll certainly be taking the fight to Bill Shorten and to Malcolm Turnbull and letting them know it’s very important to continue funding community radio.”