Commercial Radio’s peak lobby group, CRA, has just offered up some
revealing insights about how they really view competition by asking the
Federal Government to place a moratorium on granting community licences.

The CRA position was outlined at the current House of Reps inquiry into
the future of community broadcasting, chaired by Liberal MP Jackie
Kelly. CRA boss Joan Warner argued the definition of community radio
should be amended to make sure community stations “do not appeal to the
general public”.

Although CRA supports specialist community services like outback
Aboriginal stations or ethnic broadcasters, the commercial stations
don’t want any new stations based solely on geographical areas. In
other words, no competition, no new stations similar to the popular
in Melbourne, 4ZZZ in Brisbane or FBI in Sydney.

The national Community Broadcasting Association (CBAA) says the CRA
submission to Parliament is “blatant industry protectionism”. As
commercial radio increasingly relays city-based syndicated content,
community radio is thriving and in numerous towns is the sole source of
local content.

Melville says commercial stations simply can’t handle the competition
because non-profit stations are grabbing an increasing audience share.
The most recent national survey, conducted by McNair Research found
that seven million Australians listen to community radio each month.