COMMUNITY broadcasting is Australia’s largest independent media sector, and a key pillar in the Australian media landscape.
It is recognised internationally as one of the most successful examples of grassroots media.
There are more than 450 not-for-profit community radio stations in Australia (two-thirds of them in regional and rural areas), with almost five-and-a-half million people across the country listening each week.
These stations provide programming that caters to the needs and interest groups of their communities and contribute to and reflect an Australia that is an open society, a strong democracy and a vibrant culture.
In Bathurst, the licence for 2MCE is held by Charles Sturt University, which provides the principal funding for the station through its School of Communications and Creative Industries.
Other funding comes from sponsorships provided by local businesses.
While commercial radio provides programs that are usually tightly formatted (often after input from selected focus groups and having regard to maximising revenue from advertisers), community radio provides a diversity of programming choices that is often not catered for elsewhere on radio.
On 2MCE, programs cover music genres from country to folk to classical, with pop and rock music being sourced from a station library of more than 100,000 songs, meaning that songs are played that are often not heard anywhere else.
In many cases, presenters supplement this library with CDs and vinyl from their own collections.
Add to that programs such as Talking Newspaper from noon to 1pm each weekday, providing local news for people with a print disability, or others who simply catch up with local issues in a manner more convenient to them.
And the ever popular Saturday Night Jukebox from 6pm to 10.30pm gives local listeners the opportunity to pick their own music, again adding to the diversity.
Research undertaken for the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia shows that 48 per cent of people who listen to community radio do so for local information and news, 31pc listen for local independent voices and personalities, with 29pc listening for Australian music and artists, and a further 31pc tuning in for other specialist music.
So, whether you’re a listener or a sponsor, community radio in Bathurst is important, with 2MCE being broadcast on 92.3FM in Bathurst and 94.7FM in Orange.