In the radio studio

About Community Broadcasting

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Community broadcasting is Australia’s largest independent media sector, a key pillar in the Australian media landscape, and recognised internationally as one of the most successful examples of grassroots media.

Over 5 million people tune in to 450+ not-for-profit, community-owned and operated radio services operating across the country each week. These stations provide programming that caters to the needs and interest groups of their communities and contribute to and reflect an Australia that is an open society, a strong democracy and a vibrant culture.

Stations play an important role in providing a voice for communities that aren’t adequately serviced by other broadcasting sectors, including:

  • Indigenous Australians
  • Ethnic communities
  • Educational services
  • Religious communities
  • People with a print disability
  • Music, arts and cultural services and communities
  • Youth and seniors’ communities
  • LGBTIQ communities

The national community radio audience listens to services that:

  • Provide a diverse range of viewpoints that enrich the social and cultural fabric of Australian society and contribute to public interest outcomes
  • Promote the identities of local communities and contribute to social inclusion
  • Provide opportunities for participation in free-to-air public broadcasting and content production
  • Contribute to media diversity
  • Generate a high level of local content
  • Provide a unique range of services and programs

Community Radio Infographic

Community broadcasters are united by six guiding principles. We will work to:

  1.  Promote harmony and diversity, and contribute to an inclusive, cohesive and culturally diverse Australian community
  2. Pursue principles of democracy, access and equity, especially for people and issues not adequately represented in other media
  3. Enhance the diversity of programming choices available to the public and present programs that expand the variety of viewpoint broadcast in Australia
  4. Demonstrate independence in programming as well as in editorial and management decisions
  5. Support and develop local arts and music
  6. Increase community involvement in broadcasting

Australia's first community radio station was licensed in 1972 and the sector has developed rapidly over its 40 year history. The number of permanently licensed stations has grown by over 75% in the last decade. 

Community radio stations operate in towns and cities across Australia with the largest proportion located in regional areas (41%), a further 25% in rural areas and 34% across metropolitan and suburban locations. 

Legislated under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and guided by the Codes of Practice, radio stations are operated as independent not-for-profit organisations which actively encourage access and participation by members of their communities in all aspects of broadcast operations.

In addition to independent revenue raising, community radio stations receive government funding through the Community Broadcasting Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit funding body for community broadcasting in Australia.

The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) champions community broadcasting by providing services that build stations’ capability and create a healthy environment for the sector to thrive.

You can find out more about the community radio sector in our Station Census and who listens to community radio via our National Listener Survey.

Find your local community radio station using our Station Look Up

There are a number of other organisations involved in community broadcasting in various capacities. You can find a list of them and their acronyms here.