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Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield announcing additional funding on Light FM (photo credit Light FM)

Pictured: Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield announcing additional funding for community radio on Light FM on Thursday 4 May 2017 (Photo: Light FM)

Community radio given funding relief

The Community Broadcasting Foundation welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement that it will increase sector funding by $6.1m over two years.

$3.9m in digital radio funding will be restored for two years, securing community radio’s participation in the digital roll-out in regional Australia over that period. The announcement also includes a one-off contribution of an additional $2.2m to cover the cost of spectrum reallocation of the 803-960 MHz radiofrequency band which has impacted a number of stations across the country.

In response to the announcement made on Melbourne community radio station Light FM by Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts, the Community Broadcasting Foundation’s President Peter Batchelor said the two-year restoration of lost digital radio funding was a welcome relief.

“We are delighted that the Government recognises the value of community radio and has responded to the sector’s request for support. The costs of expanding digital services is prohibitive for a non-profit sector that is run on passion and community good will,” said Peter Batchelor, President of the Community Broadcasting Foundation.  

“In a time of significant disruption to traditional media, community radio is growing in listeners, is providing independent local news and information and is continuing to be well connected to local communities and communities of interest.”

“The support announced today will ensure that existing digital services in five mainland metropolitan cities will continue to serve their communities and will enable community stations in Canberra, Darwin and Hobart to extend their services into digital.”

More than five million people listen to the 450+ community radio stations across Australia each week, and 23,000 people volunteer at community stations.

The structures, practices and values of community broadcasting are increasingly importance to Australian society, particularly given the disruptive impact on all media of the digital revolution and globalisation.  Recognising this, with Australian Government support, the Community Broadcasting Foundation assists the community broadcasting sector to adapt and thrive within a rapidly evolving media landscape.

In response to the announcement, Peter Batchelor was quick to applaud the work undertaken by the peak body for community broadcasting, the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, and the role they play in championing community radio and securing this funding. 

“The additional digital radio funding support gives the sector surety for the next two years.  During that period we will continue to support the CBAA’s work to advocate for a longer term solution for the funding of digital radio,” said Peter Batchelor.

> Download the Community Broadcasting Foundation's media release (PDF, 451 KB)

> Read the announcement from the Minister for Communications

> Watch a video of the announcement on Light FM via the Keep the Community in Your Radio facebook page

> Read the CBAA's statement