Thursday, 28 June 2018
Twin Cities FM
In contributing to this debate, I wish to draw the attention of the Minister for Communications to the professionalism of my local community radio station, Twin Cities FM 89.7, which services the northern coastal suburbs of Perth, and make a strong case for the station to receive an equitable share of the $15 million of recurrent funding per annum which the federal government provides to the Community Broadcasting Foundation for distribution to community radio stations each year. Last year, the Community Broadcasting Foundation distributed more than $14.3 million in funding to support 226 community broadcasting organisations. I strongly make the case for Twin Cities FM 89.7 to be considered for a grant under this federal funding stream, based on its track record as a respected radio station in our community. Given the professionalism of its operations, the station should qualify for recurrent funding on its own merits.
Twin Cities FM 89.7 commenced broadcasting on 16 November 2001. It was granted a permanent community broadcasting licence in 2002. The licence area takes in an audience of approximately 340,000 people, giving 89.7 FM a unique presence on the Perth radio spectrum. The station moved its operation from the city of Wanneroo depot to Edith Cowan University's Joondalup campus in May 2008—the studio is currently located on level 4 in building 18. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across the twin cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo, live streaming online and mobile content, as well as providing on-demand playback features for favourite programs. It offers free on-air promotion for community groups and not-for-profit organisations, serving the local community by providing an accurate, timely and entertaining broadcast. This includes local news, current affairs and valuable information such as bushfire and emergency warnings, which affect residents within the broadcast area. In addition, the station endeavours to broadcast music from local WA artists and unsigned and alternative Australian artists. Twin Cities FM 89.7 is a member of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. The station is run by a group of committed volunteers in the community. In particular, I make mention of the dedicated committee members, Sue Myc, Benjamin Connors, Grace Borrello, Stefan Thomas, John Logan and Matthew McKenzie. The community radio station offers opportunities for locals, media students and amateurs to gain their first experience in radio broadcasting.
A larger team of administrative volunteers work in the office on marketing and sponsorship activities to keep the station functioning. The station is staffed by volunteers and is currently sponsored by the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo, Edith Cowan University and the Joondalup and Wanneroo business associations, as well as a number of local small businesses. A recurrent source of state and federal government funding is urgently required to meet the operating costs and licensing fees required to run the station, and to maintain and upgrade broadcasting equipment on a long-term, sustainable basis. I am pleased to work with the committee members in raising awareness of the radio station with a view to securing corporate sponsorship and a share of the existing, recurrent federal government funding.
Community radio stations play an important role in the diversity of the Australian media and broadcasting sector, drawing on the skills and expertise of thousands of volunteers. There are over 440 community radio stations in Australia transmitting to more than five million people each week. The size of the network makes community radio Australia's largest independent media sector. The government's investment in the community broadcasting sector allows continued development of content, training for workers, transmission infrastructure, online services and broadcasting of Australian music. Funding for community radio also ensures the production of content for Indigenous and ethnic communities. In concluding, I draw the attention of the Minister for Communications to the professionalism of my local community radio station, Twin Cities 89.7 FM, and express my strong support for an equitable share of the $15 million in annual, recurrent federal funding to be allocated to the station.