Whose community ? Whose radio ? :
A comparative study of "Community Broadcasting" radio systems in Australia and Japan

Intrnational Geographical Union:
IGU Regional Conference 2002, 4-7 August, 2002,
Durban, South Africa.


Whose community ? Whose radio ? :
A comparative study of "Community Broadcasting" radio systems in Australia and Japan

YAMADA, Harumichi

"Community Broadcasting", or "Community Radio", is a relatively new idea both in Australia and in Japan. Although the origin of such an idea dates back to 1970s, the term has been established in the framework of broadcasting systems of both countries just recently since 1992. While preceding public and commercial broadcasting sectors more often emphasize the size of their audience and the universal nature of their nationwide services, community radio typically serves for a more defined, or focused, group of listeners.

In Japan, a community is nothing but a small-scale local society, roughly in accordance with a local municipality. A community broadcasting is a low powered version of conventional radio. Community radio stations are identified as commercial companies, though their limited markets and high costs to achieve required quality standards prevent them from being profitable. Most of them are surviving on substantial financial supports from local municipalities, or locally influential businesses who do not seek direct profits from their sponsorship for community radio.

In Australia under multiculturalism, a community would be defined more culturally, and in more diverse manners. A community broadcasting here is distinguished from conventional radio by its focused programming. While "Narrowcasting", another category of small-scale radio service, often has highly commercialised characteristics, community radio stations are non-profit bodies receiving grants from federal government. They are less professional in nature, largely managed and operated by non-paid volunteers in a far smaller budget than their Japanese counterparts.

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