Community-based radio stations will struggle to sustain a digital future with the 2013 Budget
failing to provide $1.4 million in necessary funds.
Community broadcasters believed they needed $3.6 million to fully prepare facilities for digital broadcast.
SYN’s Digital Content Developer, Declan Kelly, warned of the effects a lack of funding might have last March.
“We might not feel the affects tomorrow, or next year, but eventually analogue radio will be shut up and we will not be free to express ourselves,” he said.
Digital radio allows for higher quality sound, increased space and added content.
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) recently
launched a campaign to ensure the Government would provide community radio with the necessary funding in today’s Budget.
The campaign was centered around 37 digital community radio stations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.
The shortfall is expected to force at least two of these cities to shut down their digital community broadcasters.
The Government will provide $2.7 million over four years to help community stations upgrade their radio transmission equipment.
Upgrades will allow community radio stations to retransmit radio channels from the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service.
Senator Stephan Conroy says the VAST service will allow a “replacing of the Aurora satellite platform, which will cease transmission at the end of 2013”.
Senator Conroy says the funding will provide digital television and radio services to remote and regional areas across Australia.
In addition, the Government is providing $2.7 million in funding for the continued operation of the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP).
The funding, spread
over four years, will aim to provide regular and targeted distribution of new Australian music to community radio stations.
Mr Conroy believes AMRAP is a “highly successful” program that assists musicians and community broadcasters in increasing the amount of Australian music they can play.
“Supporting these types of initiatives is an important part of the Gillard Government’s plans to make Australia a stronger, smarter and fairer nation,” Mr Conroy says.
Community radio may now have to rely heavily on sponsorship and donations from community sourced revenue to keep community broadcast going.