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Tips to save on station costs

Microphone and headphones.

By Guest Writer Tony Graham (Station Manager Binjang 91.5)

Setting up as a sustainable community broadcaster is always challenging, particularly as it relates to finding suitable sites for studio broadcasting and transmission. How that is done from the very beginning may well determine the success of managing costs into the future.  Here are my tips to save money on location and energy costs.


Location

  • Find sites where symbiotic relationships can be formed e.g. emergency services, fire, police, SES, local council, State & Federal Government and electricity network providers.
  • Identify an unused local government building space - you might get it for peppercorn rent. We have occupied a wing in the old tourism information centre that was out of use. We pay nominal rent of $1 per year and council maintains the basic infrastructure as a landlord, e.g. plumbing, electrical, heating, security, etc.
  • Is there an old Telstra phone exchange or a commercial enterprise? They might donate the space as a good corporate citizen.
  • Enhance your facility using grant funding. Our enhancements to our station facilities and initial broadcasting equipment were funded by State Government grants ($87,000).


Energy

  • If you're in a council facility, it's likely they'll negotiate electricity tariffs at a much cheaper rate. Our council determined our usage was really of little consequence to the overall power bill and they don't charge us.  With 24/7 air conditioning and running all the equipment, this agreement saves us around $8,000 per year at current market rates.
  • Our transmitter and STL receiver is located side-by-side with the internal communications equipment of local council, Police, RFS, State Water, SES and the network energy provider, on a common unmetered supply. Our transmitter footprint is relatively low energy with a climate controlled transmission box avoids use reverse cycle air conditioning for heating and cooling.
  • We negotiated with our electricity supplier to connect our transmission setup to the unmetered supply as a community service as we can assist during emergency situations. We save approximately $5,000 per year.
  • Council allowed us to mount our antenna on a disused section of their antenna mast at no cost.

The CBF help to support stations with Development & Operations grants to support core station activity, development projects and infrastructure. We are committed to strengthening the health of stations so they can enjoy a financially sustainable future.