CBAA Political Engagement Toolkit







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Benefits of Political Engagement


What is political engagement?

Political engagement involves building a mutual beneficial relationship between your station and relevant elected representatives, including state and federal members of parliament, ministers, local councillors and mayors. 

Political engagement is not a partisan activity. The relationship between your station and elected representatives should be based on the guiding principles of community radio, not the political affiliations of particular individuals.

Done successfully, political engagement will strengthen the connection of your station to the communities you broadcast to.


PDF icon Download the full political Engagement Toolkit | Case studies & Stories | PDF icon Factsheet: Community Radio & Government



Why do political engagement? 


In an era when political apathy and disillusionment is high, a successful political engagement strategy will play a key role in connecting politicians with the real lives and concerns of the communities they represent.


As key decision makers in governments, on councils, and within political parties, political representatives can champion the cause of community radio in various ways, especially when governments or councils are looking to make cuts.


Whether they’re in government, opposition or on the crossbench, politicians have large networks and connections across the community, which can lead to increased opportunities for fundraising and building new audiences.


Keeping the politics out of it

Some stations may be reticent to get involved with politicians because of, well, the politics. Politicians may feel the same way, if they feel that station managers, board members or presenters have certain voting tendencies.

The key really is in how you talk about your station and the way you approach political engagement.

If the politician sees you as combative, and wanting to debate issues all the time, they are less likely to engage.

But if they see you as generally interested in their point of view, and wanting to help get that point of view to the community, that’s a different story entirely.


Key Tips

  • Let MPs speak openly to their constituents rather than try to pressure them into giving answers.
  • Engage in friendly discussions of issues and policies rather than the ‘politics’. Engage heavily with local issues.
  • Be sensitive to the needs of politicians and also different political allegiances. Politicians from different political parties may not enjoy sitting next to each other at a fundraising dinner, for example.
  • When tackling issues, present it to politicians as ‘an opportunity to share their point of view’.
  • Broadcast disclaimers before politicians appear on air, making it clear that their views might not necessarily be the views of the station.



Understanding Politicians

!QAs in all forms of communication, knowing who you are talking to, how they think and what they want is crucially important.

Promoting Community Radio

When you are talking to your politicians, you need to be prepared to promote community radio.


Tales, tips and ideas from the world of political engagement.