The community radio sector is something which all of us as ‘taste-markers’ will inevitably have to peruse on a daily basis.
Whether it be the vitality of Melbourne’s 3RRR or Sydney’s FBi, community radio stations have I’m sure, granted you with a multitude of new experiences and insights into the artists you’ve come to know and love.
And Melbourne’s Progressive Broadcasting Service (PBS) is no different. Home to “little heard music”, PBS has been many a watershed moment for teens, or even adults, wanting to break the shackles of the ear-bleeding homogeneity of commercial radio (since 1979). While Triple J serves the informed Australian listener to adequate degrees, it’s stations like PBS who go leaps and bounds in promoting music that may excite, intrigue, or present a whole new perspective to your perception of ‘taste’. Whether it be Hip-Hop, Latin, or Rockabilly, the station consistently presents a grid that doesn’t shy away from inaccessibility. Having said that, it’s this relative packaging of niches that provide the necessary grounds for getting into musical styles that you probably wouldn’t have even given thought to previously. It’s for this very reason why I’ve discovered some properly good Gospel, Ska, and Ethio-Jazz that I probably would never have discovered – even with the internet at my disposal.
However, despite the dedicated (and unnoticed) work of volunteers and community broadcasters from around the country, the very future of some 37 stations is in limbo.
Thanks to cuts in funding to the tune of $1.4 million, community broadcasters will no longer be able to maintain the costs associated with digital broadcasting. While the current federal government has committed $2.2 million at present, $3.6 million is needed to ensure that all community stations keep their digital broadcast capabilities. As it stands, federal funding of digital transmission and connectivity costs amount to less than $100,000 per station. So, considering that you’d have to be a luddite to not know the future of analogue, this issue has gone beyond just being a big deal.
Considering the impact that community radio has had on all of us at WTH, we thought it might be worth talking about. So, take a read when you have the time, make some noise, and sign the petition, here.