Community digital radio stations are breathing a sigh of relief today, after the Federal Government announced it will rectify the funding shortfall that has been threatening the future of current services.
The announcement comes following a community campaign calling on the government to rectify the annual operational funding shortfall which was created after the 2012 Federal Budget.
The funding shortfall was not addressed in the Federal Budget and despite ongoing backing provided to state-funded radio services ABC and SBS, the much-needed $1.4 million figure was absent, meaning up to 37 community digital radio stations now face potential extermination as they face tough decisions about their future.
The Federal Government’s new commitment will provide $6 million in funding over three years to enable community digital radio services to stay on air.
Following on from his opinion piece addressing how the lack of funding meant the lack of a secure future, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) President, Adrian Basso, said the decision is a fantastic outcome for community radio stations and listeners and a big boost to media diversity in Australia.
“Thanks to the tens of thousands of people who stood up and showed just how important community radio is to communities right across Australia, community radio now has a digital future,” Mr Basso said.
“It’s fantastic that the Federal Government has listened to the needs of the community and delivered the funding required to keep digital community radio services up and running.
“This is a sign that the Federal Government is serious about supporting media diversity in Australia.
“There’s been a long-standing government commitment to ensuring community broadcasting has affordable access to digital platforms. This announcement makes good on those commitments.
“Supporters of the Commit to Community Radio campaign sent tens of thousands of emails to politicians calling on them to commit to giving community radio services a secure future, and they’ve finally delivered.”
The Commit to Community Radio campaign, launched earlier this year, attracted over 43,000 supporters, including Wally de Backer, better known as Gotye, H.G Nelson, Paul Kelly, John Safran and Andrew Denton.