Community Broadcasting continues to grow: CBAA AGM

Katrina Hughes, 29th October 2019

Attendees at the CBAA AGM have heard that community radio in Australia has continued to grow in strength in the past 12 months with over 5.9 million listeners weekly and over 24,000 volunteers helping to provide services.

The CBAA now supports and is supported by over 300 member stations, representing 90% of the permanently licensed community broadcasters.

The plight of those stations struggling to support their communities in drought-stricken areas was also addressed with the CBAA President, Phillip Randall, imploring these stations to continue broadcasting, saying, “I appreciate the drought is not only impacting your income but also on the availability of volunteers for your stations. 

“Can I encourage you though to press through at this time?  You are an important part of your community’s fabric and they need you now more than ever.

“The CBAA is in dialogue with Government to discuss station challenges, particularly in regional Australia, last month meeting with the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Minister Mark Coulton and others.

“The CBAA will continue to advocate for increased funding and regulatory changes that will make it easier for stations to remain viable, sustainable and best serve their communities.”

CEO, Jon Bisset, provided an update on the national news initiative with community radio stations and other media organisations around the country combining to increase coverage of local and state-wide issues and boost reporting from under-served regions.

Jon says that central to the project “…will be the development of new and improved National Radio News service in partnership with Charles Sturt University, combining their national and international focus with true ‘community’ content.

“The Collaborative News Network will be underpinned by the development of a Collaborative News Network Hub – a cloud based online system to increase capacity by sharing resources, distributing content and encouraging collaboration across the sector.

“In addition, smaller community radio stations without their own newsrooms will be able to access ‘Build a Bulletin’ – an online training and news creation portal that will provide regular ‘ready to air’ scripts and audio clips that will enable stations to build their own bulletins in minutes; read the news in their own voices.”

The CBAA finances remain health with overall revenue of $8.1 million for the 2018 financial year, an increase in equity to $2.1 million and a net surplus of just over $500,000, the vast majority of which is for the re-establishment of reserves for digital radio development that were depleted during the period of reduced funding.

The election of two board members saw the return of Peter Rohweder and the election of Emma Hart who served as the women’s representative for the past two years.

President Phillip Randall was also returned unopposed and the current board also includes Vice President, Anne Frankenberg, with board members Jacquie Riddell, Dan Ahern and Quinn Glasson.

The new Women and Gender Non-Conforming People’s Representative is Maddy Macquine, while Molly George continues in her roles as the youth representative.

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