Fair Comment

Andrew McLellan, 3rd November 2016
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It's something Australian community radio does best: give voice to the community.

Since 2012, Fair Comment has spoken with community elders, activists, workers, doctors, lawyers, artists, teachers, parents and many more who comprise our communities, getting their perspectives on standing issues. Putting the politicians or self-described 'experts' opinion aside, the program seeks to hear the impact decision-making and current events have on the people most affected.

Fair Comment Brisbane Student and Community Alliance

Produced at 4EB and 4ZZZ in Brisbane by Adam Jeffrey and Eduardo R. Jordan Pérez, the show pulls together the work of many producers from community stations Australia-wide, and the team are always on the lookout for new producers and content. Maybe you have something to share? If so, read on.

We asked Adam and Eduardo about the program.

The program started out in 2012 with producer Ellie Freeman. What does the show set out to do?

Fair Comment is a human interest, current affairs radio program that gives a voice to those who don't usually have it on radio. We want to hear directly from people affected by local issues and give them the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings in their own words.

Covering a wide range of topics, it's a show by the community for the community. For instance, if someone is affected by a decision of the government and has something to say, or has an interesting story they want to share, Fair Comment is the best program to air it!

Eduardo and Adam, you’ve both been producing the show for some time now. What do you try and do differently to the usual format of current affairs programming?

Eduardo: I started producing Fair Comment in January 2015, and it's been such an amazing experience! I try to get original (or very interesting) content for the radio program. What we try to do is to include the most interesting content, and bring it to the listeners. We also try to get the best community radio music using Amrap. We try also to be a fresh, but informative radio program that exposes issues that affect the community.

Adam: We also feature interviews from contributors around the country. This allows us to feature stories from areas we may now know a whole lot about or receive a lot of news from. This is especially great for hearing from people in regional and rural areas.

Why do you feel it’s important to focus on a community member’s perspective on an issue?

Adam: It offers those affected by current issues to express their individual point of view.

In the media we often hear from experts speaking on behalf of other groups, however this doesn't always offer a first hand insight into what it is actually like to be faced by different issues. Hearing directly from an individual can help paint a vivid picture. 

Eduardo: I believe the community needs to be involved in different events and actions. It's critical for them to give a perspective of what a particular issue affects them. At the end of the day, the community is affected (or gets benefits) from a particular issue. And believe me, there are many issues that can be covered and exposed.

What are some real highlights that stand out from the show’s history?

With such a variety of topics it's always surprising to find how each will turn out. For example, speaking with Australian journalist John Pilger was a real highlight sharing his insights on media and community radio. Meanwhile, Piggy the Echidna's escapades reamins a favourite to this day.

Outback Matty at the Ekka
Can people contribute to the show? How so?

Absolutely! Fair Comment is keen on getting stories from the community to the community.

If you are part of a community radio station (or freelance, we don't discriminate) and would like to contribute, hit us up on faircommentshow@gmail.com with your story.

We're looking for Q&A interview style focusing on relevant topics to the community (i.e. if someone has been affected by a decision of the government, community events across Australia, or just an engaging story from someone that would like to share).

We ask for audio in MP3 format, and tell us who you've interviewed, his/her position, and a brief description of your story. We'll be in charge of the rest!

What are you looking for in a contribution?

We're looking for interesting stories that will give the community a voice. We're looking for super stories that need to be shared. 

Fair Comment is offered through the Community Radio Network, and is broadcast by several community radio stations across Australia, so the story has potential to be heard nationally! 

Can contributions be of any duration?

Contributions can be of any length but we do have time constraints for the program. We focus on getting the most interesting content in around 5:30 mins for each interview, anything over this length we can edit for time. If your story is around 5 and 5:30 mins, it will be ready to go!

Fair Comment is made possible with the assistance of the Community Broadcasting Foundation.

Images:

  • Top left: Eduardo interviewing Shannon McCallum from the Brisbane Student and Community Alliance. Photo by Natasha Lewis.
  • Bottom right: Adam with 'Outback Matty' at the Brisbane Ekka

For CRN subscribers:

  • Fair Comment (27'50) is broadcast/distributed by CRN Mondays at 13:32 EST/EDT, repeated on CRN-2 Night Talks Wednesdays 22:32 EST/EDT and is available for DDN capture
  • To contribute an idea or piece to the show, write to faircommentshow@gmail.com
  • For more information contact CRN staff on 02 9310 2999 or email crn@cbaa.org.au

Not a CRN subscriber, but want to find out more about getting content like this for your station? Read more here.

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