MEDIA RELEASE: Community Radio Connecting Australians During Uncertain Times

Katrina Hughes, 20th March 2020

Community radio stations are vital spaces for social connection—connecting members, volunteers, staff and communities around local issues and shared passions. And of course, community radio stations play a vital role in connecting and informing listeners—almost six million people listen to 450 community radio stations across the country each week.

They listen to hear hyperlocal information, news and sports broadcasts; for Australian and specialist music; and to hear the familiar and relatable friendly local voice on the other side of the radio. Over the next few months, as more and more people work from home and isolate, radio will serve as a calm and comforting friend.

As not-for-profits and charities, community radio stations are well-connected and trusted in their communities and are well placed to get accurate information out about COVID-19. Some of Australia’s most isolated listen to community radio—whether because they live in a remote region or predominately speak a language other than English. Community radio will continue to provide a sense of connection by delivering culturally relevant information during this time.

The CBAA’s CEO, Jon Bisset, outlines how the CBAA is supporting the sector to best serve their communities. “The CBAA is working with all community radio stations to make sure that stations are able to stay on air throughout what is going to be a very tough few months, while protecting the safety of their staff and volunteers. The CBAA is offering advice and supporting stations by sharing resources, content, delivering webinars, connecting online and helping stations to develop their contingency plans to stay on air.”

Community radio is also a vital pillar of the arts and music industries. Stations already play an average of 37% Australian music, and many plays even more. Radio airplay for Australian musicians will be a vital source of income for artists during this time as gigs across the country get cancelled.

Stations have let us know that many listeners, including the elderly and those self-isolated, have rung stations to thank them for keeping them entertained and uplifted. Over the coming weeks, community radio is going to continue proving vital for community connection.

For more information, contact Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, Project Coordinator (Government Relations). or T 02 9310 2999.

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The role community radio plays as a space for connection and community coming together is really being highlighted right now. While our listeners may be going outside less and less, they’re still connecting to local news, voices and updates, and being soothed with music and distraction through you and your teams. 


A community radio pilot scheme was run in the UK during 2002 and the pilot stations have been allowed to continue operating pending the first full licensing process, which took place in 2005 and 2006.

This paper is the first report of a study conducted in the summer of 2005. The study examined a sample of new UK community radio stations and compared these with a sample of established Australian stations, which parallels the UK group, for example urban stations, communities of interest and geographic communities. Community radio is well established in Australia and serves wide and diverse audiences. The study of these stations will help give a ‘vocabulary’ of terms with which to examine UK stations and also give indicators as to good practice and measurements of success.


This study provides a snapshot of the community radio sector in Wales, just over ten years since its inception. It does so at a time of economic instability and focuses on issues pertaining to social gain and sustainability. The McLeish (1986) definition of a radio interview as a ‘conversation with an aim’ (McLeish, 1986) is borrowed here, as an analogy with which to explore the ‘conversations’ between the community radio stations of Wales and others.