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Maintaining cultural identity in local communities: a role for broadcasting. JOURNET Conference 17 February 2004. NOAHS Hotel, Newcastle Mike McCluskey*

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Presentation on theme: "Maintaining cultural identity in local communities: a role for broadcasting. JOURNET Conference 17 February 2004. NOAHS Hotel, Newcastle Mike McCluskey*"— Presentation transcript:

1 Maintaining cultural identity in local communities: a role for broadcasting. JOURNET Conference 17 February NOAHS Hotel, Newcastle Mike McCluskey* *Local Radio Manager ABC Newcastle and PhD Student,School of Design, Communications &IT, University of Newcastle.

2 Charter Obligations / Cultural Obligations Major role for public broadcasters = reflect and support identity, diversity and dynamics of local culture. Increased viewing and listening choices, paradoxically  reduced media presence in local communities and smaller local markets. Inc pressure on public broadcasters to deliver news and other content for local communities BUT with reduced and limited resources Popular culture programming, carried on networked stations has much stronger appeal to younger audience.

3 Some Public Broadcaster Strategies France Bleu, Radio France invests big money in regional radio with a strong focus on popular culture and music in each location. BBC (UK) Asian Network is geographically local around Birmingham but targets the Asian community within that region. This allows BBC to tap into an audience that it otherwise would simply not attract, BUT requires significant resources to achieve ABC Local Radio targets 60 local communities around Australia to reflect local community interests and aspirations while ABC’s Triple J network targets youth nationally with Australian cultural content.

4 Cultural Identity EBU strongly concerned over loss of language, aural history, sense of community Once, young people used word of mouth, games, family interaction and community activities; stories passed down from generation to generation Now, modern media change the way young people learn about their cultures. They watch, listen, play, spend time and interact through the various media forms Electronic media have strong potential to shape and influence young people’s cultural awareness and sense of social community. NT Government view. People from non English speaking backgrounds and indigenous groups should receive news and their local content in their native languages.

5  B. Goldsmith et al (2001), with ABA, note that broadcasting has a significant role in nation building and cultural identity as well as providing information and shared experience. Report notes that a strict policy environment is required to achieve this and that public broadcasters must perform significant cultural role.  Very high proportion of younger people viewing (commercial) channel 10 do not access local information based television programming.  Older listeners/viewers are exposed to local news and information much more than younger listeners. Media Role in Reflecting Culture

6 Source OzTam Metropolitan TV Ratings Television audience profile ‘37% of viewing by males aged 0-15 goes to Ten’

7  People under age 40 do not listen to AM radio. Confirmed in Newcastle.  Very few people under age 40 access talk radio stations, which cater for local cultural issues  Need local survey data to confirm but these trends apparently extend to most metro and regional markets in Australia where alternative FM sources exist Who is Accessing Local Talk Radio?

8 Surveys around the world show people under 40 do not access AM radio. Frequency of listening to AM stations (by age) Response All Age Population base 419,91849,40371,808121,10792,94584,655 Regularly 24.0% 13.3%17.4%38.0%41.1% Occasionally 22.3%16.2%22.7%20.7%22.9%27.4% Never 51.0%83.8%64.1%60.4%35.1%24.9% Don't know 2.6% 1.5%4.0%6.6% Total 100%

9  Low level of interest in News and Current Affairs programming, countered by high interest in popular culture programming, esp popular music - already provided by commercial FM stations.  AM and talk format radio is largely listened to people aged 50+ while people under 50 listen to FM popular music and lighter content stations.  Talk Radio contains strong elements of cultural content, often incl considerable amounts of music. Local talk stations are the most likely to reflect local social and cultural values  Bryson (NT govt) argues that  strong diversity of content, incl quality networked radio, importantly offers diversity in entertainment and information  local communities also need information about own issues in own language. Talking to the Locals

10 Population base 419,91849,40371,808121,10792,94584,655 Listen REGULARLY 22.8% 15.1%28.9%23.2%33.7% Listen OCCASIONALLY 20.9%21.2%12.6%13.0%29.7%29.1% Listen SOMETIMES 29.1%37.4%37.7%23.7%29.1%24.8% NEVER listen 26.3%41.3%34.6%34.4%18.0%8.3% Don't know 0.8% 4.2% Total 100% Response All Age Level of interest in news / talk format radio (by age)

11 Source AC Nielsen Newcastle Radio Survey  Most of the people under age 40 listen to popular music FM radio stations  Most FM radio stations play popular Anglo-American music  predominant cultural exposure for this age group ‘78% of NXFM’s listening is by people aged 39 or under’ Music

12 Public Broadcasting and Globalisation Report of the Commission on Radio and Television Policy: Central and Eastern Europe (1979) outlines public broadcasting principles, incl: I. Public broadcasting is essential to provide high-quality information, entertainment, education, and public service programs that take cultural identity into consideration. Public broadcasting is also essential for providing citizens with the information they need to make informed choices and exercise democratic rights, serving the needs of local cultures and minorities educating citizens of all ages, and transmitting messages important for public health. Public broadcasting can also provide a forum for a “national conversation” regarding issues of fundamental concern. II. Public broadcasting should be independent of state control and its programming should be insulated from governmental interference. Directions set for electronic media

13 Public broadcasters must provide relevant and accessible programming that represents the interests and aspirations of the local communities yet also has appeal and relevance to all people within the local communities they serve. Given the likelihood that most young people are now using electronic media and communication systems as a prime tool for developing their sense of cultural awareness and identity the implications of this significant influence on people’s lives needs thorough examination. Concluding Summary


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