Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Local Tag Sends the Right Signal; {MEL McMILLAN Finds Community Radio Tuned in to a } {Program Formula Where the Need for Diversity Comes through Loud and Clear }

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Local Tag Sends the Right Signal; {MEL McMILLAN Finds Community Radio Tuned in to a } {Program Formula Where the Need for Diversity Comes through Loud and Clear }

Article excerpt

Byline: MEL MCMILLAN mel.mcmillan@northernstar.com.au

LOCAL voices, local people, local music and local stories - that's what community radio is all about. And that formula might explain why its popularity is growing.

According to an independent study by McNair Ingenuity Research, 57 per cent of Australians are now listening to community radio stations at least once a month.

That is a jump from 2007 when only 47 per cent were tuning in.

The growth in popularity was because community radio stations had begun to understand they had something unique to offer their listeners, 2NCR FM vice-president Basia Klim said.

"We are more grass roots and we can offer a broader range of programs," she said.

One of the things 2NCR FM tried to achieve, Ms Klim said, was to give local people and organisations a 'leg-up' by playing local music and supporting their activities.

"About 25 per cent of the music we play is Australian and we play a lot of local North Coast music," she said.

"We give a voice to local people and personalities and we cover things that are happening locally."

Ms Klim said the philosophy at 2NCR was to view the community as part of the family.

"We support each other and that doesn't really happen in commercial radio," she said.

However, the station didn't see itself as being in competition with commercial radio.

"We can fill that niche commercial radio stations can't and we can give people what they can't get anywhere else," she said.

There are 380 community broadcasters in Australia with about 25,000 people estimated to be tuning in.

Community Broadcasting Association of Australia general manager Michele Bawden said community radio started in Australia 34 years ago because there was a need for diversity.

"There was a need for something different, an alternative voice to the ABC and commercial radio," Ms Bawden said. …

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