No more ‘voices from down south’: The role of local broadcasting in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, Australia

TitleNo more ‘voices from down south’: The role of local broadcasting in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, Australia
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Watson, I. G.
Affiliation (1st Author)Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Section or WGCommunity Communication Section
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodeCoCW4a
Slot Code (Keyword)CoCW4a
Time of Session16:00-17:30
Session TitleIndigenous Communication
Submission ID5236

Author: Ian Watson Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia Address: 15 Glyn St, Coorparoo, QLD 4151 Australia Email: Phone: +617 3847 3859   Title: No more ‘voices from down south’: The role of local broadcasting in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, Australia   Topic area: Towards a Theory of Alternative, Community and Citizen Media   Type of proposal: Individual scholarly paper   Abstract: This paper examines the role played by the network of Indigenous radio stations in remote areas of Queensland, Australia. In the past three years, these stations have changed from being primarily carriers of content from Indigenous and non-Indigenous radio networks in other parts of Australia (from media organisations located ‘down south’ in major centres such as Brisbane and Sydney) to a network of stations broadcasting their own locally-relevant and culturally-specific programming 24 hours a day. All of the communities these stations operate in are classified as ‘remote’ or ‘very remote’ by the Australian Standard Geographic Classification (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006), indicating the problematic nature of providing government and other essential services because of their extreme isolation from major metropolitan areas. They are located an average of more than 800km from the nearest major urban centre, and more than 1600km from the state capital.   This paper presents the results of research that examines the impacts of this locally-developed and locally-owned content on the well-being, self-esteem and development of these very remote communities. It evaluates the activities of this network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander radio stations within the context of a range of theoretical frameworks that have been used to investigate the ways in which community-based media forms empower and inform specific sectors of society.   Qualitative research, comprised of focus groups of community members and semi-structured interviews with key local services and community organisations, will be used to examine the role of local radio stations in eight remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The results of research in these communities will be considered in light of Downing’s (2001) view of radical media and Atton’s (2002) ideas of ‘alternative media’, as well as the “citizens’ media” framework developed by Clemencia Rodriguez (2001) and the ‘empowerment’ framework suggested by Meadows, Forde, Ewart and Foxwell (2007).   This paper aims to build on recent research into community radio audiences in Australia and internationally, and to develop a better understanding of the ways in which remote media can contribute to notions of community connectedness and self-esteem. It extends understandings of the ways “citizens’ media” and audience empowerment might be occurring in specific locations, and offers new case studies to contribute to the growing literature on Indigenous media and, more broadly, community media.

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