You may not be a subscriber, you may not even be a listener but if you live in Australia YOU are a beneficiary of Community Radio. And it is under threat. The gentle (and sometimes radical) discussions, the new or unexplored music and arts, the idiosyncratic, local and challenging debates that bubble their way around the airwaves and then into the mainstream are given time and legitimacy through Australia’s Community Radio Network.

To a non-listener it might seem like an irrelevant or dying medium, but right now Community Radio reaches 4.4 million Australians every week* with stories and sounds found nowhere else in the mainstream media.

With the end of analogue broadcasting rapidly approaching, Community Radio needs the Federal Government to pledge only an extra $1.4million (of a total of $3.6Million) to help the dozens of Community Radio stations around the country make the switch to a digital broadcasting platform**.

Australia has one of the highest levels of media concentration in the world and though a failure to fund this proposal would not immediately kill Community Radio it would signal a turn away from the principles of plurality and “public interest” that underly Sen. Conroy’s current Media Reform proposals: http://bit.ly/Yg61re.

Wednesday is our day of Action. We aren’t calling on you to pledge funds, just put your name on the petition with the 12,000 others at: http://committocommunityradio.org.au/

If you get the chance flick the dial or stream in to 3RRR 102.7, PBS 106.7, SYN 90.7 or any of these wonderful breeding grounds for this city’s great public ideas: http://bit.ly/12L86ki

Michael Kirby, AC CMG:
“Australia has many blessings. But the concentration of media ownership in a few hands is not one of them. Increasingly, print media especially consider themselves not chroniclers but active players in the political and social scene. This makes community media all the more important to us in Australia. As Chief Justice John Bray of South Australia once said,’’ Diversity is the protectress of freedom.’’ Citizens should not only enjoy and benefit from community media. They should support it”

*McNair Ingenuity Research 2012
**For comparison the commercial networks have asked for a package close to $500 million.

Andy Lynch is a former Online Manager and current Board Member of SYN Media.

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