NLS July 2018

Community radio cracks 5.5 million weekly listeners

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 18th July 2018

Australian community radio listening has hit a new record height - 5.7 million listeners per week.

This is the highest national listenership on record and a 10% increase compared the last survey wave (January 2018).

Jon Bisset, the CBAA's Chief Executive Officer said these results reflect the value that Australians place on community radio services and their role in sharing local news and information, as well as Australian and specialist music.

"These results reflect community radio's role as a vital and growing part of the Australian media landscape. They are a testament to the incredible work of the 450+ stations across the country which support and broadcast local content and public interest journalism, provide a voice for diverse Australian communities and support our vibrant music and arts sectors."

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. It plays important role in providing a voice for communities that aren’t adequately serviced by other broadcasting sectors, including Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, religious communities, people with a print disability, music, arts and cultural communities, youth, seniors, LGBTIQA+ communities and educational services. 

The Community Radio National Listener Survey is conducted by McNair yellowSquares on behalf of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. It is a survey of the community radio listening habits of Australians though a hybrid telephone and online survey of a representative sample of 15,000 Australians over the age of 15, across all Australian states and territories.

To find out more information about listeners in your state, city, or region, get the the free area fact sheets.

Facebook comments



The latest listener survey for Australia’s community radio sector shows the highest national listenership on record. 


In 2004 the first, national, statistically robust, quantitative assessment of the Australian community broadcasting sector’s audience reach was undertaken. Conducted by McNair Ingenuity, this research provided a major breakthrough in the wider shift to a more audience-centred approach to managing the sector. The findings, significance and implications of this research are considered here. Following recent developments in critical cultural policy studies, this paper locates this renewed concern for community broadcasting audiences within a ‘larger cycle of decision-making’ (O’Regan, Balnaves and Sternberg 2002: 2). The particular influence of developments such as the emerging spectrum market and the imminent transition to digital transmission systems is discussed. These developments are important to understanding why community broadcasting resistance to market-based conceptions of audience is being overcome, and how audience-centredness might be used to facilitate the continuing development of this ‘third’ sector of Australian broadcasting.


The latest research shows that 1 in 4 Australians tune in to community radio each week and spend an average of 17 hours listening.