Question 9

Question 9

Alternative and independent media has played a crucial role in giving voice to communities that might otherwise remain unheard. Discuss with reference to a specific Australian outlet or outlet.


Community media is among the best alternative and independent forms of media in the Australian journalism world. Community media refers to any kind of media created for the benefit of a community or by its members. It refers to the growth of many alternative, subversive, participative, and collective interactions as a consequence of community media or any other revolutionary alternative to traditional online and offline journalistic methods (Meadows et al., 2009). In recent years, Sun et al. (2011) found that these radical and independent media approaches have risen in popularity such as the inclusion of a Chinee-language media in Australia. It entails having access to or creating community newspapers, radio stations, and magazines as alternatives to mainstream media in the local area. The work of community media helps people become better citizens and more aware of social issues due to what Meadows and Molnar (2002) term as an impartial worldview on matters relating and reflected in society. People now have more ways to engage and get information, which has contributed to the growth of community media. Community media often pushes the limits of traditional journalistic standards due to its vast yet limited structure (Ellis & Goggin, 2015). In many societies, community media plays a crucial role in bringing people together to protest and ultimately demand their rights. With the formation of community radio stations in Australia, efforts have been made to promote democratic ideals such as freedom of speech and diversity in broadcast content, as well as to offer ordinary Australians a voice in addressing issues in a manner unique to a community.

The Australian Communal Broadcasting Sector

The Australian community broadcasting sector was established in the 1970s, with one of its main purposes being to reflect the demands of groups of people who felt they were being denied dependable chances to voice their opinions and listen to alternate forms of pleasure. Individuals who were already on the fringes of society, as well as those who began to suspect that traditional media outlets were not successfully conveying the public’s concerns, fell into these groups (Porter, 2019). This disadvantaged group also included those who wished to listen to music on the radio that was different from what was generally played on commercial stations. For the deliverance of such alternatives, the community broadcasting media has played a critical role in enhancing cultural diversity. For example, it has also been involved in furnishing ordinary Australian with an undisputed chance to contribute to the deliberate on both political and social matters (Meadows & Molnar, 2002). Through the community broadcast media, the Australian audience is empowering them to re-engage in different process of consensus at their grassroots level, making a sense of social coherence through diversification (Jakubowicz, 2017). This paper will analyze the alternative or independent broadcasting media sector, highlight its origin, composition, and how it has been able to bring a media to the people in relations of its objectives, aims, and creation.

The first license for the first community experimental broadcasting in Australia was introduced in 1974 by the Whitlam Government. Consequently, the conventional music groups in Melbourne and Sydney set up the first communal station to kick start dissemination, the station SUV known as Radio Adelaide (Lebovic, 2020). These first stations were self-managed, self-funded, and independent, and when Whitlam Government was being dismissed, it had already given out about nine experimental licenses. Later Community Broadcasting Association of Australia formed CBAA, and through its people could approach the government more formally. The community broadcasting extended further underneath the Fraser Government. In 1976, the administration reported continued development and encouragement of diversity, which further allowed more significant participation in broadcasting by different individuals’ particular interests and the minority group (Anderson, 2020). Based on that, the Television and Broadcasting Act was modified to enable the long-lasting licensing of stations. Some guidelines referred to the three forms of licenses: community, educational, and particular interest.

However, there was a large amount of opposition to the establishment of the community broadcasting sector, particularly coming from people working in the commercial radio business. The commercial business maintained that the broadcasting gamut was insufficient to allow new radio stations, but the government would not agree. As a consequence of this, they attempted to exert authority over the programming that community broadcasters might provide. As a consequence of this, the community broadcasters were not permitted to air anything that had previously been transmitted.

Communal broadcasting segment overview

Size and location

14649451899285 In Australia, the public broadcasting and commercial broadcasting media sectors both have fewer channels than the community broadcasting sector at the time. It has roughly 360 community radio stations that broadcast analog free-to-air services, as well as 38 community radio stations that transmit digital free-to-air services (Dwyer, 2019). Temporary broadcasting licenses are used by the majority of licensed community radio stations that serve rural, regional, and remote areas.

Distribution of the public broadcasting and commercial media: (Adapted from: Dwyer, 2019)

Location of community broadcasters


The communal radio sector possesses a projected monthly national radio listeners amounting to close to 9million. Over 15.5 million Australians listen to radio broadcasters every week, and 25 percent of that total population listens to the community radio (Small, 2021). The reason cited by the audience for listening to the community radio is due to the word ‘local.’ People love to hear local information, local music, and music produced by the local artists. They like to hear local opinions and personalities from their fellow marginalized community members.

Paid and volunteer staff

Unpaid volunteers establish and operate a vast number of community stations. Some stations recruit experts, while others engage freelancers. Others have full-time employees or a station manager. Most individuals believe that community media is created for the people. The fact that the majority of the personnel are volunteers demonstrates that they are really of and for the people. Paid station managers are an excellent concept because they ensure that volunteers devote their time and attention to maintaining the community focus (Nesbit, 2018). Within the industry, there are also means for individuals to sort out their disagreements. The concept of settling disagreements is an useful strategy to ensure that the broadcasting business functions smoothly and that minorities in Australia are represented.

For a few years, community radio has received funding from the federal government, which has aided them in completing unique programs. The funds will go toward establishing and improving a nationwide community broadcasting training program. The initiative has to adhere to specific guidelines, such as spending the majority of the funds in rural and distant regions. The training requirements of radio broadcasters for the indigenous print impaired and ethnic broadcasting, as well as regional regions, specific training programs, and the training needs of radio broadcasters for the indigenous print disabled and ethnic broadcasting, were examined. A basic, well-coordinated framework was employed to provide additional training possibilities for ethnic youth, new ethnic groupings, and new languages.

The six guiding principles in relation to community radio broadcasters are essential to committing them to pursue democracy, access, and equity, particularly for people with issues not adequately addressed by other media, to promote diversity and harmony, and to contribute to inclusivity, cohesiveness, and the culturally diverse Australian community (Strömbäck, 2017). increasing the variety of programming options available to ordinary citizens and providing them with programs that can broaden their diverse viewpoint coverage broadcast in Australia, demonstrating independence in programming, management, and editorial decisions, supporting and enhancing local arts and music, and finally increasing community involvement in broadcasting


The existing financial pressures in the market sectors restrict commercial media’s current broadcast possibilities, but not community media. Beliefs, ideas, traditions, cultures, and distinct communities are all free in the community broadcasting medium. From a practical standpoint, community broadcasting media empowers individuals and communities by allowing them to communicate their views to a larger audience (Roberts, 2017). The character of majority media is challenged in this aspect by community broadcasting media, which provides ample space for residents to meet, experience, and discuss other perspectives and lifestyles. As a result, they are in a better position than the mainstream, where only the society’s leaders have the capacity to determine the agenda (Raetzsch, 2020). Other assumptions and ideas may be represented on community television and radio, which is the most powerful form of contribution to a communicative democracy.

There are numerous striking instances of how community broadcasting media helps to empower communities. Community radio stations in Australia provide a variety of health information to women living in rural areas. Nutrition, breastfeeding, and probable reasons and proven remedies to health issues are among the topics covered. They also educate individuals about their legal rights and provide programs that promote self-respect and self-sufficiency.


The ability of community broadcasting media to retain distinct cultures and customs serves as a complement to its capabilities. The commercial broadcasting media continues to demonstrate its failure to cope with Australia’s many cultures in the twenty-first century (Jolls,2017). The reason for this is the unprofitability of smaller and notably regional customers’ associations, as well as the high likelihood of annoyance if they broadcast disagreeable political ideas, ethnic and indigenous language programming, and specialty music artists and genres.

The community broadcasting medium has established itself as an important component of Australia’s cultural landscape as a result of its active representation and interaction with many cultures. The community radio stations provide a diverse array of creative interests and preferences representatives for the varied Australian common folks as a “silent” cultural and traditions resource. As a result, their function in the community is gradually growing in importance. The creation of local content guarantees the preservation and depiction of cultural hobbies, preferences, and familiarity that are not represented in other media. Community radio stations play an important cultural role in Australia by producing Australian programming and supporting local performers.

Throughout the compensation process for differing beliefs, community radio stations play an important role. The stations assist individuals in assimilating into the Australian way of life. Children growing up in Australia, for example, may have difficulty adjusting to their new culture; in this case, the radio comes in and helps them adapt regardless. People may connect with their ancestors via community broadcasting. 2XX FM is a Canberra-based radio station that broadcasts locally. It is a vivid example of the stations that broadcast awareness programs to the great majority of Australian communities. Community radio stations also represent and preserve indigenous and other cultures. For example, the Umeewarra Radio 89.1 FM station in Southern Australia attempts to promote the important responsibilities performed by Aboriginal people in its service area (Australia, 2018). The station also addresses indigenous people’s problems in contemporary society. The FM also serves as a means of reconciliation by sharing cultural knowledge and breaking down boundaries.


A sector of the Australian radio population has rejected commercialized radio stations, owing to their growing refusal to carry local news and reporting, Australian music, and programming that are perceptive of Australia’s cultural diversity (Order, 2016). And, despite the fact that the government has placed certain local content restrictions on commercial radio on many occasions, the consequences of such commitments have consistently decreased to the point where they are now a bare minimum. Community radio stations, on the other hand, continue to provide listeners with local news, views, and information.

As a result, despite what the ABC claims about commercial radio, the only recognized broadcasting sector that provides local and live programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the great majority of regional areas is community broadcasting. The community radios provide a vital contribution to delivering a broader reporting of news and crucial issues of localism consequence, according to the local voices.


Community broadcasting media plays an important role in Australian culture, providing a platform for many cultures and minorities to express themselves, empowering participants, delivering local news, opinions, and information, and providing alternative music styles. They also give a chance for Australian instrumentalists and writers, as well as relevant curricula, to build a feeling of belonging for the individuals and the continuation of programs that cultivate Australian material, despite the growing dependence on international broadcasters for programming. This is accomplished via several changes to the present community broadcasting setup, including the installation of paid managers who supervise the operation of the stations by local community volunteers. The community radio medium has aided underprivileged populations in expressing themselves and having their needs answered.

2070 words


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