© 2011Rjn

"Listeners Comments, Suggestions and Thoughts" are now filed beneath the links to the "Official Sites" and "A Listeners Comments" on Australian Community Radio here in some Southern Parts Of Australia


Official Site Links:

The free to air Australian Community Radio exists across the nation and has been operating for many years by Australian Community members. You can learn a lot more about it from the following web sites :-

The Australian Government on Community Radio

and :-

The peak body: 

 The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia


Some Thoughts on Non -Commercial Community Radio in Various Southern Cities of Australia : by a Listener Respondent


In Australia we have a wonderful peak organisation for non commercial or national broadcasters called the Community Broadcasters Association of Australia, the CBAA. It is not to be confused with ACMA, or what was known as the Australian Broadcasting Authority, a government body appointed to issue licenses, determine and measure compliance with the legal regulations and broadcasting standards applied throughout the country.

The CBAA is a wonderful source of information, a satellite transmitter of contributing individual station broadcasts from around the country that may be rebroadcast by other stations and, a supplier of recommended governance rules or policies & procedures that can be adopted by stations around the nation. It will also act, if you will, as a moral arbiter in ensuring that everyone involved in community-based broadcasting is shown an equal amount of respect and encouragement. Here is my understanding of some of the principles animating its code of conduct (please bear with me if this seems a little dry and abstract; it goes to the heart of what I really wish to say later on). Community Radio Stations should:
  • Promote harmony, diversity and contribute to an inclusive, cohesive and culturally diverse Australian society.
  • Pursue democracy, access and equity of members and presenters.
  • Always strive to increase the diversity of programming choices available.
  • Support and develop local arts and music.
  • Increase community involvement in broadcasting.
  • Encourage access to and participation in all aspects of community broadcasting.
  • Ensure adherence to guiding principles and sound corporate governance.
  • Apply principles of diversity, independence from any outside pressures brought to bear by third parties.
  • Ensure that sound, moral principles are adhered to with regard to the training and treatment of all volunteers.
  • Ensure that individual station rules are adhered to strictly.
  • Ensure that all people regardless of age, ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation be treated equally and with the utmost respect.

It is a long list, and it should be, because a proper adherence to these tenets would make Community radio stations a terrific, fun and safe place for people to give back something very precious to their community. For make no mistake, these stations are an essential asset (or should be) to any community, and what they provide is a fantastic service to all. They also regulate the transmission of ‘culture’ to the masses. This isn’t a very politically correct theme these days – somehow we view this transmission of culture with something akin to deep suspicion, even outright distaste, as if it was presumptuous and condescending to ‘cultivate’ the people who make up this great country of ours.

And yet how else would you describe what a good community radio station does? In a very real sense, it speaks to the dreams, desires, hopes and fears of the community it serves. It entertains them with music they perhaps might never have heard before. It enlightens them about subjects they might never even have conceived of before. A good community radio station can be the ‘pulse’ of a community. In the right hands, it can encourage us to be better people not only by volunteering our time to entertain others, but also by subtly instilling in us the virtues of tolerance, equity, harmony and acceptance.


As I said, in a perfect Utopian world all community radio stations would be run strictly along the lines set forth by the CBAA. The wonderful volunteers who give up much of their free time to present radio programmes would feel safe in the knowledge that they were working in an environment where their thoughts and opinions were appreciated, where they were free to put on the kinds of programmes which would both entertain and provoke the listener to reflection. Station rules would be adhered to in a sensible but not pernickety way so as to maximise the efficiency and enjoyment of all. Music outside of the commonly accepted mainstream would be played regularly, in order that segments of the community not previously exposed to such musics might find something else to amaze and inspire them. The volunteers at the perfect station would not be subject to the petty intrigues of those trying to desperately hold onto their self-created ‘fiefdoms’ at the expense of all others.

Unfortunately, the radio station I am describing does not exist, except as a dream. A perfect Utopia of any sort cannot be built on this Earth: there are simply too many people out there not willing to subsume their own ego’s for the sake of the whole community’s betterment. Certainly, a radio station such as the one I described above does not exist in this perfect ideal state anywhere in Australia. Undoubtedly, there are some stations which get closer to this ideal than others. Unfortunately, a look at community radio in this country today reveals too many stations where only lip-service is paid to the CBAA principles outlined above. Human vanity and frailty being what it is, such stations as are run by volunteers too often become crippled, at the mercy of the machinations and selfish desires of those very volunteers.

That’s not to say that community radio stations shouldn’t be striving to always uphold the principles espoused above. No organisation can ultimately flourish if it does not preach openness, tolerance and harmony in diversity. I believe that the volunteers should never rest on their laurels – they should always aim to better both themselves and the environments in which they work. Why isn’t this being done better when vis-à-vis community radio in Australia?


As always, it is egotistical, inane people who muddy the waters and create less than salubrious working environments. Such people refuse to deal with those whose ideas might challenge and provoke them, adopting the familiar posture of an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. A community radio station is made up of, or should be made up of, like-minded people able to communicate with one another freely and without fear. The CBAA principles and Australian law encourage such open communication. All community radio stations should pursue a policy of constructive criticism, co-operation and the free exchange of differing opinions. Too often it is easier to ostracise a maverick with fresh new ideas by prohibiting them from communicating with other volunteers than it is to patiently listen to what they have to say. Even arguments over various issues are acceptable if done in a spirit of amity and without personal rancour. Such arguments are often indicative of an earnest desire to improve a community radio station. They should not be silenced, for they are not necessarily divisive. Healthy debate can be a way to make a good station better.

Too often a culture of intimidation and fear is created by those wanting to consolidate their own power and reinforce their own moribund or conservative views. Refusing to communicate with people honestly and openly denies them a chance to have their say. It is poor organisational practice which leads to further problems later on. Community radio stations should be open democratic organisations – that is the only way that complacency can be overcome and creativity can be allowed to flourish.
Any organisation run by volunteers needs to recognise that most sane people refuse to act like ‘doormats’ and be manipulated by others. Someone who has given up their time to volunteer deserves to feel as if they are being listened to. Unfortunately, some community radio stations are manned by people from a similar social milieu, with similar tastes in music and similar priorities. A good radio station needs a broad mix of people to make it work. Surely everyone can all see that the more varied the views and interests espoused in the programming of shows, the larger the audience is likely to be. Discrimination against those who are seen not to ‘fit in’ with the (usually unproven) ethos of a community does no one any good – it stifles free speech and leads to the creation of selfish cliques. Similarly some vociferous local audiences demand that only their parochial tastes be played. They frequently totally forget that up to a third of the local population consists of youth who have developed tastes, often deliberately, to differ from their elders. Additionally here in Australia we frequently have a changing population mix due to new waves of migrants needed to fill essential service vacancies within our communities. These people are good enough to fill these roles often in places where “dinky di”Aussies refuse to work. These migrants usually are wanting to assimilate, be accepted and, particularly, contribute to the community and the ever developing citizenry. Conservative parochialism can lead to such newcomers being kept as ‘outsiders’ and treated with suspicion & hostility. Sadly this ignorant behaviour only results in the community missing out on some wonderful new ideas and efficiencies.

A necessary corollary of this is the need for clear lines of communication. Any organisation is only as good as the people who run it – and such people are being short-changed if any changes to programming, editorial policy and anything else for that matter aren’t made immediately available to all. Too many stations run by cliques engage in nefarious policies like keeping announcers uninformed. A radio station is a complicated entity dealing with all manner of correspondence and requiring excellent organisational skills to make it work. Community radio needs to ensure that all information going in and out of the work environment is available to all. Not only will this enable non-executives to comprehend the amount of work undertaken by their executive but will also improve the depth of skills developed within the organisation. This will also improve the short & long term running of a station by helping prevent resentments and misunderstandings from festering and breeding. The same benefits also arise from the prompt response to internal submissions. In my opinion to refuse to respond to someone quickly and appropriately is tantamount to deeming them unworthy of attention and somehow ‘less’ of a person. It is simple courtesy to thank someone for their efforts and respond to their queries. So much of the bickering and infighting at radio stations would cease if all people involved communicated freely and treated each other civilly, using good manners all the time. That this does not happen must be a major disappointment and is perhaps a sad reflection on our Australian character. Something needing a lot of work by all Australian citizens to substantially improve our relations with each other and consequently our society. We are not alone however, overseas friends cite numerous examples of formerly very civilised cultures now experiencing behaviour that shows a loss of respect & simple dignity by their members for each other and themselves. The demand for increased personal rights is frequently not being accompanied by a corresponding increase in the individual’s personal responsibility and respect for others. Too often people forget that disrespecting someone else merely identifies our own inadequacies and inferiority within the human race.

Volunteers at radio stations are busy people who give up their precious time to do something they love: it is exceedingly shabby not to recognise the sacrifices of volunteers in this way. To create a radio programme is no small task. It requires training, foresight, patience and superb inter-personal skills. A good announcer can make an audience feel wonderful – a bad one can have them “pulling the plug”. This is why there needs to be a standardised and comprehensive training program for all community radio stations that has recognisable benchmarks of excellence. Those who undertake such programs (often at their own expense) should be able to recognise and be recognised for their achievements on accomplishing the standards of excellence. It costs nothing to tell someone they’ve done a good job, that someone has noticed how hard they’ve worked and appreciates it. Sadly the discerning listener has either been driven away by sameness and mediocrity or fails to recognise that they are an integral living part of the local community and its radio station. Through lack of education and experience the listeners are often not in a position to identify excellence. They usually have only been exposed to sameness and mediocrity. Perversely, a mediocrity that nowadays seems to receive inordinate praise for its banality. I often think such praise merely occurs in order to create and reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator! Why do we not accept such standard in our sporting star’s achievements but happily and uncomplainingly accept the mediocre or banal in most other fields, particularly those we know little about?


I suppose this may all sound a little abstract until you realise that, in too many radio stations today, such basic propositions and principles as those listed above are ignored or abused. One issue particularly dear to my heart is the refusal by some to take heed of demographics that fall outside of their purview. A community radio station should at all times try to appeal to everyone in the community, no matter how old they are. Unfortunately, the nature of community volunteer radio tends to create exclusion when it should be promoting the availability of radio to all. Most volunteers capable of making the time commitments necessary to broadcast on radio are elderly retirees no longer needing to work. For them, announcing on radio is a way to avoid the tedium of retirement, and that’s fair enough. Usually however this leads to radio stations being peopled exclusively by the elderly, who have their own beliefs, ideas or musical tastes and a desire to promulgate them to the exclusion of everything else.

Not all people involved in community radio are elderly of course, and not all elderly announcers are conservative fuddy-duddies refusing to peer round the corners of their worlds with their blinkered eyes. I would not make so rash and general a statement. What I will say however is that, in my experience, many older announcers tend to have very narrow, conservative and immovable ideas, beliefs and musical tastes. This can range from the “necessity”to broadcast endless re-runs of American country and western hits, traditional jazz from New Orleans, rock ‘n’ roll from the ‘glory days’ of 40 years ago or a belief that only white coloured people should have the right to vote. All fail to be progressive or particularly beneficial to the Australian citizenry in the twenty first century. However in principle, there is nothing wrong with this: you can’t force someone to like something they don’t. If a person wants to listen exclusively to Hank Williams or Bill Haley or Gospel Music, they are free to do so.

It only becomes a problem when such music is broadcast ad nauseam on community radio. The stations that exclusively broadcast such material need to realise that a radio programme is never just a forum for playing one’s favourite music and ideas – if that’s all you want to do, then stay at home and play them to your heart’s content whilst talking to your image in the mirror! A radio station needs to reflect the variety to be found within the community itself. It needs to serve all kinds of people.

Perhaps the best way to do this is to open up community radio to more young people, to encourage teenagers and young adults to create their own programmes. Much more needs to be done to encourage them to consider it worthwhile to volunteer their time. They need to be listened to, not talked down to or made to feel inferior and unwanted. They are a very important part of any community. Only in this way can community radio stop being the haven it currently is for cliques of older people who resist change and tend to view young people with suspicion, as if all young people are boozing criminals who will swear and say offensive things as soon as you place a live microphone in front of them. These young people will not only play the music of their generation but also air some fresh perspectives and ideas. This can rapidly turn the community and its radio station into a beacon of open, tolerant and pluralistic culture, instead of a musty repository for just old-fashioned and timorous traditional concepts. Such plurality can only be a positive – it will dramatically increase audience numbers in the long run, surely one of the raisonnes d’etre of any radio station worth its salt!


Before I leave you, I want you to read the list of CBAA directives once more. These are the ideals to which all broadcasters in community radio should be aspiring if they truly wish to call ourselves representative of their wider community. Too many stations take these principles for granted and adhere to them in only the most ad hoc and piecemeal fashion. This does a great disservice to the community at large, and to Australia as a country. A community radio station can be wonderful way to bring entertainment and culture to the people. It has the potential to be a major shaper of this countries’ cultural identity. It can only do so by being tolerant, open and democratic, allowing all members an equal say in how things are done, and by striving to be as broad and catholic as it can be in its choice of programmes and presenters. Narrowness, rudeness, mediocrity, stagnation and evangelistic dogma should be avoided at all costs. Petty intrigues, personal disputes and attempts at ostracism and exclusion must be eradicated. Basic good manners need to be the norm, not the exception. Diversity must become an ingrained part of the fabric of any community radio station that wants to be great. Both station and listener alike must accept no substitutes and always demand or strive for the best possible on the day. Thus the citizens of the communities served by Australian Community Radio can be better enlightened, educated, and entertained with broadcasts equal to our world beating sports teams and sporting heroes.

  Letters, Comments and Suggestions

Some Thoughts on Culture -
Erudite Listener #1's Opinion

What is culture? Does the word itself need to be surrounded by punctuation marks, reified as a sacred or ideological construct available or attainable only to the best and brightest amongst us? What does it mean to be “cultured” (does the legacy of centuries of polite gentlemanly conduct by highly educated aristocrats still colour our views today?)? Is it the pursuit of beauty through devotion to the art of the past – Monet’s waterlilies or Trecento religious icons, Mozart’s sublime music or the pristine elegance of Rodin’s sculptures? Is it professing to love the works of the great writers of the past, to appreciate the plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of Keats or Shelley, the novels of luminaries like Forster, Waugh, Joyce? To be cultured, must one regularly attend the opera, visit galleries, dance recitals, symphonic concerts? In short, must we act as sophisticated tourists, walking in the shadows of centuries of artistic creation, obsessed with the ghosts of the past?

For many people, mention of the word ‘culture’ conjures up precisely these kinds of associations, such is the force with which ages of a white European Christian heritage have conditioned us (in Australia no less than any other country colonised by Europeans) to see cultural creation in these narrow terms. And to be sure, there is nothing inherently wrong with admiring the artistic creations of the past, for these creations and the history behind them are what make us who we are today. None but the most hardened and cynical iconoclast would ask us to jettison the very stuff of which we are made. But ‘culture’ is not moribund, static, something to be appreciated only with hindsight. Cultural creation is incessant and ever-evolving, testimony to a constant and vital human need to capture in a myriad of forms our hopes, dreams, fears, desires, beliefs. It goes on all around us every day, if only we are keen enough to see it.

UNESCO, the arm of the United Nations responsible for the maintenance and preservation as well as the creation of world culture, has recently through the UNITED CITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS - COMMITTEE ON CULTURE Agenda 21 released a set of guidelines about cultural creation in our own time. Of the many wonderful things this document of intent, if you like, contains, perhaps the most germane to my argument here is the idea that culture is community-based and created by all. Two things spring to mind here. The SBS TV channel in Australia regularly reminds us that there are 7 billion ‘stories’ and counting on Earth – every single one of us, rich and poor, young and old, from every conceivable race and place on Earth, has a story to tell, a unique contribution to world culture to make. In addition, we have regularly been exhorted in the last 30 years or so to “think globally, act locally” – for what we do in our own backyards resonates out far beyond us to touch the whole world. The ‘Agenda 21’ initiative is of a piece with this kind of thinking: it urges local governments and councils to support the arts and artists in their areas, to be ever alert to the possibilities of enlisting ordinary, everyday people to tell their stories, for the entertainment and education of us all. Contributed by a listener who asked for their name be withheld.  
Rjn would love to attribute it to that frequent and well known usual listener Anon. - (Never get anything done if most of you weren’t!)

 Listener Sam Suggests a New Theme
Hi Rjn, 

Why don't you put your mouth where your pen has been and have a new theme based on your cultural exchange idea?
Always love to listen to the fourth Sunday "World" theme but it needs more variety from around the world.
Keep broadcasting the variety, 

As always thanks for the listening support Sam. 

Re the variety, I'm trying my best and do have my off days....

Funny that you should mention it but I am in the process of applying for extra air time to do exactly what you suggest on a weekly basis. I have still to build up some links within the community and establish a suitable available broadcast time. 

My thought at the moment is to call the new theme "PASSIONS" and have interviews of about ten minutes with people talking about their passion. 

I hope to ultimately record sufficient aural material to intersperse the talking with musical content. I will also probably be looking to get input from artistes traveling to or through our beautiful area between Melbourne and Adelaide. 

All listeners please give me your thoughts to



Discussions held with Horsham's own Cultural Development Officer, Ms Jill Pearce, who has kindly added a few gradely ideas to the concept. One of these has been to create a local permanent archive available to all local citizens. 

Await further details ....


The above 16.02.2012 post together with a letter of request for air time have now been submitted to the radio station management for determination of suitability & the requested time of 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM on Sundays. Rjn
More Thoughts on Culture -

Erudite Listener #1's Opinion

The emperor has no clothes, yet he pontificates like an ass and surrounds himself with nattering nabobs too craven to speak the truth freely. We live in an age when such ‘emperors’ of industry and commerce try to convince us that ‘culture’ is not important because it cannot be bought and sold; that poetry, music, art and dance are fripperies having no place in a rational, materialistic world; that modes of communication such as radio and television belong only to those who have power and wealth and should promote only the interests of the powerful and wealthy. And by and large we are too weak and spineless to fight back. We fetishize comfort and ease and maintain that cultural activity is hopelessly elitist, freighted with the baggage of a suspicious past, no longer germane to our everyday lives. We support those who would lie to us and proscribe our efforts to freely express dissenting opinions. We acquiesce when ridiculous decisions are made in the name of ‘progress’ and something called the ‘Australian Way’. We give up our right to robust cultural debate every single day. Instead we become a nation of automatons interested only in sport or petty recreations. We sneer at those who try to educate and enlighten us with poetry and music and dance and the plastic arts. All too easily we become effete courtiers fawning over delusional kings, too torpid to stand up and have our say. This must stop. For our species’ survival we must learn again to dare to disagree, to question, to resist, to educate and be educated, to take joy in the best this world has to offer. Yes, the emperor has no clothes. Woe betide a society that cannot produce those who are courageous enough to stand up and tell the truth about that nakedness, crassness and paucity of spirit.

 A further opinion by the erudite listener #1 02.02.2012

"Rjn is a performer of poetry, both in public and for broadcast on radio. This may elicit a sneer in this largely soulless age of crass commercialism and mediocrity, when information is delivered in bite-sized morsels lest it overload our undisciplined minds. Rjn breathes fire and passion into every poem he performs. His voice registers fear, wonderment, great sadness and mad all-encompassing joy, often in the space of one poem. He enacts our greatest hopes and ideals – and what could be more praiseworthy than that? He belongs to a long line of truthsayers, storytellers and bards, a modern-day O’Carolan, a contemporary muezzin inspiring us from his minaret, a Homer for this modern electric age. He brings the words of centuries past to new lucid life in all their sharpness. But for those like him the vast repository of human culture contained in poetry would die on the page, out of reach of all but a handful of connoisseurs. The gift he gives us is immense. He is of the common people, and speaks to them and for them. Long may he continue to do so in Horsham, providing a beacon of enlightenment for those as have ears to listen. Let us not scorn his efforts and seek to silence him with smothering bureaucratic regulations and out-dated local prejudices. Let us listen, learn, and live, to the profit of us all."