The 17 Group: Community Broadcasting Audiences in Australia

The next meeting of the 17 Group:  Wednesday the 2nd of September at unit 6, 20 Drury St West End, at 7pm.

Brisbane Community Radio 4ZZZ

Dr Michael Meadows, Associate Professor of Journalism at Griffith University will speak on Community Broadcasting in Australia.  Here is Michael’s summary and a short biography:

Interrogating the audience-producer barrier: a study of community broadcasting audiences in Australia.

Community broadcasting worldwide is a diverse and expanding enterprise which, despite a mélange of influences, maintains a largely local and participatory relationship with its varied communities. In fact, it continues to be the very nature of this relationship that defines it. From the turn of the new millennium, the growth of community media globally has been accompanied by an equivalent increase in interest from both practitioners and researchers alike in why this is happening. This flurry of interest has produced a formidable array of knowledge about community media around the world. But what is conspicuously lacking from this body of work are detailed studies and analyses of community media audiences.

While there are some examples of quantitative audience research, numbers alone cannot explain why people listen and/or watch. There are good reasons for this absence. Qualitative audience research is perhaps the most elusive element of media analysis and it was precisely this challenge that was the catalyst for this project.

It appears to be the first qualitative audience study of an entire national community broadcasting sector globally. The two-year study offers a unique insight into the processes that capture around 25 percent of Australians aged 15 years and above — four million listeners across the country in an average week.

This compares with about seven million weekly listeners to national, publicly-funded broadcasters, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), and almost 11 million who tune into commercial radio (McNair Ingenuity 2006:30). In this discussion, we will explore why a significant and increasing number of Australians listen to community radio and/or watch community television, why they value it, and how it meets their needs.

Michael Meadows worked as a print and broadcast journalist for 10 years before moving into Journalism Education in the late 1980s. Since then, his research interests have included media representations of Aboriginal affairs in Australia and Canada, Journalism theory and practice, media representations of the Australian landscape, and community media audiences, policy and practice. He has published numerous academic and generalist articles dealing with his work and two books: Songlines to Satellites, with Helen Molnar, and Voices in the Wilderness. He teaches Journalism at Griffith University’s Nathan Campus in Brisbane.

It goes without saying that Trotsky would be more than welcome but advance reports from devoted adherents suggest yet another absence, trip to Acapulco, fear of present unseasonable heat, the northern line-dancing season and other improbable reasons being given as excuses.  But you, less subtle and crafty than Leon, more straightforward and avid of every form of contemporary knowledge, make sure that you are at this festive and convivial occasion.

Editor’s Note: Workers BushTelegraph has reviewed a book that looked at local Community Broadcasting and the music scene in Brisbane. See Pig City: ‘they shut it down, they pulled it down’?

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