Industry Rallies To Save Community Radio From Government Axe Squad
One of the many victims to the recent stifling climate was the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP,) whose funding was cut by the federal government in June. But an impressive list of industry professionals have banded together to help the project fight back.
AMRAP works as a vital lifeline from emerging independent artists to over 300 community radio stations, with 70% of its catalogue broadcasting to the oft-forgotten towns of regional Australia.
So valuable is its service that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) actually recommended a 1 million dollar increase to the project after an independent review last year. Unfortunately however this was ignored, and the 2012/13 federal budget was released without any money allocated to the project.
It’s been kept alive by the The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, but they don’t have the funds to keep the money flowing beyond the end of 2012.
The Music Network reports Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said he’s trying to find the resources though the DBCDE to keep AMRAP going, and the Australian music community has stepped in to put the pressure on and see this rhetoric become a reality.
The Medics, Chance Waters, and 300 other artists, radio broadcasters and industry types in their various incarnations have posted messages of support for AMRAP via Facebook, emphasising the project’s importance to helping local musicians reach an audience.
Musician Wade Cardilini wrote “AMRAP have assisted me and my bands music in receiving airplay VERY quickly. We would never of been played interstate so easily without these guys. They are a credit to the industry, and I am very thankful for their assistance.”
Industry heavyweights who have rallied behind the project include the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), the Australasian Performance Right Association (APRA), the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR), the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) and the Music Council.
Industry statesman and chairman of Mushroom Michael Gudinski says that if AMRAP were unable to continue “it will be a serious loss to the Australian music industry.”
“Most people have heard me go on about how important radio is in supporting new and emerging Australian talent. Well AMRAP have been providing a much needed service over a number of years that gets real results for Australian music through community radio.”
“Community radio is the lifeblood of so many new local artists. AMRAP’s AirIt initiative has helped a myriad of Australian artists forge closer ties with radio stations all over the country and to lose this service would undermine the chances of these local musicians and songwriters developing a vital audience locally and possibly internationally.”
Dan Zilber , the music director at Sydney radio station FBi agrees. “Without AMRAP, everybody loses. Artists lose access to much needed support and airplay. Community radio loses a fantastic resource to improve their broadcasting and support of Australian music.”
“The biggest loser in all this is the listeners,” he continues. “They lose the variety and depth from their radio listening experience that AMRAP has helped to foster.”
AMRAP itself has asked the community to get in touch with their local MP or senator, with a template letter and info kit than can be printed from their website.