Abstract: It's no secret that the representation of migrant groups in the media has been particularly problematic, as has been their access to mainstream media, and both issues have attracted a great deal of research. Far less attention has been paid by researchers to how these groups respond when they experience such difficulties, and the various forms of media they use to engage with a variety of issues pertinent to them and their settlement experiences. This article uses data from two projects: Australia's first, and to date only, national study of community radio audiences; and a more recent case study of a community radio station undertaken in the course of research into talkback radio audiences. It reveals that community radio stations and programs provide migrant communities with a space in which they can discuss and negotiate their civic and social rights and responsibilities. Drawing on the reflections of audience members who listen to and call specific radio programs, this article explores the under-examined but vital role performed by these stations and programs in the social and civic lives of immigrants. It reveals that ethnic community radio programs are helping some audience members to formulate notions of good citizenship, and thus engage with democratic processes, which is vital to feeling socially included. The research reveals immigrants are using community radio proactively to reach out to and connect with the broader Australian community, while also reminding themselves of their homeland, culture and language. However, this article warns that researchers have largely focused on the 'good news story' of community broadcasting and suggests that a more critical approach to future research is warranted.
To cite this article: Ewart, Jacqui. Exploring the unity in Australian community radio [online]. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 142, Feb 2012: 123-134.
[cited 06 Oct 15].