Community radio fights for funding

Community radio stations nationwide have joined forces to fight plans to cut $1.5 million from community broadcasting.

Labor and the Greens say they would restore the funding, but the Coalition plans to go ahead with the cuts.

featureRTRFM program director Peter Barr (pictured) said funding for community radio was vital to help future-proof the sector.

“If the stations don’t receive adequate funding to enable them to find a space on the digital spectrum, those who aren’t on it fall behind and don’t get heard,” Barr said.

“Community radio exists for a different purpose than commercial broadcasters. It serves an almost noble role.”

Just 37 of about 450 Australian community radio stations have a digital channel.

Curtin FM director Quinn Glasson said it was important for community stations to make the transition to digital.

“I think in the long term there will be a time when there’s only digital radio and no analogue signal and if we’re not on it now, trying to get it back after the fact will be difficult,” he said.

The campaign to increase government funding is being led by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia.

The #KeepCommunityRadio movement, spearheaded by CBAA chief executive Jon Bisset, has gathered 55,000 signatures on a petition.

A recent community radio day was held during which both community and commercial stations promoted the movement.

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