Community radio

Community radio is a type of radio service, that offers a third model of radio broadcasting beyond commercial broadcasting and public broadcasting. Community stations can serve geographic communities and communities of interest. They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local/specific audience but which may often be overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters.

Community radio stations are operated, owned, and driven by the communities they serve. Community radio is not-for profit and provides a mechanism for facilitating individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and in a media rich world to become active creators and contributors of media.

In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs & citizens to work in partnership to further community development as well as broadcasting aims.

There has been significant legal definition of community radio as a distinct broadcasting sector in many countries such as France, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and Ireland. Much of the legislation has included phrases such as social benefit, social objectives, social gain as part of the definition.

Community radio has historically developed differently in different countries and thus the term has somewhat different meanings in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, and Australia.

In Ireland, Community Radio has been active since the late 1970s; however, it took until 1994 for the Independent Radio and Television Commission to establish an 18-month community radio pilot project to explore and evaluate the potential offered by community broadcasting in an Irish context. This project went operational in 1995 when licenses were issued to eleven community and community of interest groups across the country. Community radio in Ireland encompasses both Process (the participation by communities in the creation of programming) and Product (the service provided to the community through the programming supplied). The mix of the process and product is determined by the needs of the community and implemented through a management structure controlled by the community. Stations in Ireland are both geographically and community of interest based.

In the UK, the idea of community-based services can be traced back at least as far as the original concept for BBC local radio in the early 1960s. Thereafter various land-based unlicensed pirate radio stations (such as East London Radio, and Radio AMY: Alternative Media for You) developed the idea further. As pirate stations proliferated during the late 1970s and early 1980s, these stations were joined by those broadcasting specific to minority immigrant communities (Afro-Caribbean and Asian etc.), particularly in cities such as London, Birmingham, Bristol, and Manchester. Although "community radio" remains synonymous with "pirate radio" for some people in the UK, most minority immigrant stations focused purely on specific musical genres and were operated (theoretically at least) on a for-profit basis. Community radio services in the UK are operated on a not-for-profit basis with community ownership and control built in to their structures. Following an experiment started in 2001 by the former UK broadcast regulator The Radio Authority, since 2005 some 200 such stations have been licensed by the UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom. Most such stations broadcast on FM, typically at a radiated power level of approximately 25 Watts (per-plane), although there are a few that operate on AM (medium wave), particularly in more rural areas.

In the U.S., community radio stations are non-profit, community-based operations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission for broadcasting in the non-commercial, public portion of the FM band. These stations differ from other public radio outlets in the U.S. by allowing community volunteers to actively participate as broadcasters.[1] Pirate radio is virtually unknown in Australia because of the strictly controlled allocation of broadcasting frequencies, and the likely application of severe, legislated penalties, including jail, for offenders.


Vision, philosophy, and status

Modern-day community radio stations often serve their listeners by offering a variety of content that is not necessarily provided by the larger commercial radio stations. Community radio outlets may carry news and information programming geared toward the local area, particularly immigrant or minority groups that are poorly served by other major media outlets. More specialized musical shows are also often a feature of many community radio stations. Community stations and pirate stations (where they are tolerated) can be valuable assets for a region. Community radio stations typically avoid content found on commercial outlets, such as Top 40 music, sports, and "drive-time" personalities. A meme used by some in the movement is that community radio should be '10% radio and 90% community'. By this it is meant that community radio stations should primarily focus on getting the community talking and not just on making radio which is a deemed a technological process. Hence the social concerns of community radio are stressed above the actual making of radio. There is also a distinction drawn in contrast to more mainstream stations which are perceived as pandering to commercial concerns or the personalities of presenters.

Conceptions of community in the literature

Communities are complex entities and so what constitutes "community" in Community radio is often a contentious and tricky debate and will vary from country to country. Community may also often be replaced by a range of terms like "alternative", "radical", or "citizen" radio. Traditionally in sociology, a "community" has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. Community radio is often built around concepts of access and participation and so the term community may be thought of as often referring to geographical communities based around the possible reach of the radio's signal, i.e. the people who can receive the message, and their potential to participate in the creation of such messages. This is of course problematized by the fact that many radio stations now broadcast over the internet as well, thereby reaching potentially global audiences and communities.

Models of community radio

Philosophically two distinct approaches to community radio can be discerned, though the models are not necessarily mutually exclusive. One stresses service or community-mindedness, a focus on what the station can do for the community. The other stresses involvement and participation by the listener.

Within the service model localism is often prized, as community radio, as a third tier, can provide content focused on a more local or particular community than larger operations. Sometimes, though, the provision of syndicated content that is not already available within the station's service area, is seen as a desirable form of service. Within the United States, for example, many stations syndicate content from groups such as Pacifica Radio, such as Democracy Now!, on the basis that it provides a form of content not otherwise available, because of such a program's lack of appeal to advertisers or (especially in Pacifica's case) politically controversial nature.

Within the access or participatory model, the participation of community members in producing content is seen as a good in itself. While this model does not necessarily exclude a service approach, there is a tension between the two, as outlined, for example, in Jon Bekken's Community Radio at the Crossroads.

Growth in the area

Examples by geographic area


Community Broadcasting is Australia’s third media sector, formally represented by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA). As at June 2005 there were 442 fully licensed community radio stations (including remote Indigenous services).[citation needed]

A 2002 report, found that 20,000 (or 0.1% of all Australians) were involved as volunteers in the community radio sector on a regular basis and volunteers equate for more than $145 million in unpaid work each year.[2] Nationally more than 7 million Australians (or 45% of people over 15) listen to community radio in each month (source: McNair Ingenuity).

The role of community broadcasting in Australia, according to the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia is to provide a diverse range of services meeting community needs in ways that are not met by other sectors. Community broadcasting is sustained by the principles of access and participation, volunteerism, diversity, independence and localism.[citation needed]

Community radio stations are sometimes specialist music stations, or they might strongly represent local music and arts. Others might broadcast talks and current affairs programs representing alternative, Indigenous Australian, environmental, feminist or gay and lesbian interests, filling perceived gaps in commercial or government radio content. 53% of community radio stations serve an array of different communities of interest including: Indigenous and Ethnic, people with a print disability, young people, older people, the arts/fine music, religious, and gay and lesbian communities. The remaining stations provide service which may be described as generalist, which address the interests of communities in particular geographic locations but still address a range of diverse specialty interests.[citation needed]

Community broadcasting more than any other form of media in this country shapes and reflects the national character in all its diversity. The sector is unique in its capacity to provide fresh programming by and for Indigenous, ethnic and RPH communities. Community broadcasting stations also have a strong commitment to local news, and information; the promotion of local and Australian music, arts and culture; and to providing training in media skills.[citation needed]

When a not-for-profit community group applies to the regulator, the Australia Communications and Media Authority, for a community broadcasting licence they specify what community interest they intend to serve. Licensees are selected by the regulator on the basis of suitability and on the merits of the licence application and the capacity to serve identified community interests. Upon grant of a 5 year renewable licence each station is then required to continue to serve the community interest for which the licence was granted.[citation needed]


One of the most famous examples of community radio was miners' radio in Bolivia. Funded by trade union dues and operated mainly at local and regional levels, there were more than 25 such radio stations during the period from about 1960 to 1985. Changes in government policy eliminated many unionised mining jobs after 1985 and some radios were sold or ceased to exist. In spite of many difficulties, five stations continue to broadcast.[citation needed]

La Voz del Minero, Radio Pío XII, RadioVanguardia de Colquiri, Radio Animas, Radio 21 de Diciembre, and Radio Nacional de Huanuni were some of the most important radio stations created, funded and managed by Bolivian mining workers.[3] It all started in 1949, with one radio station in the mining district of Catavi. During the next 15 years, other districts followed: they bought the equipment, they trained young people from their villages, and the workers themselves funded the experience by giving a percentage of their salary to sustain their radio stations.

Most of the radio stations started small and precariously, only equipped by very simple means. A few of them managed to get foreign support and evolved into more sophisticated radio stations, with better equipment and installations. A few even built a theatre next to the premises, so union meetings would take place and be transmitted live through the radio. For example, Radio Vanguardia had a beautiful theatre decorated with large murals narrating the story of the Colquiri mining centre. One particular scene on the mural depicts the attack by Bolivian Air Force planes in 1967, when the country was under military rule.

In the early 1970s, 26 radio stations were in operation, all in the mining districts of the highlands of Bolivia. At that time miners' unions in Bolivia were still very powerful and considered among the most important and politically advanced in Latin America.

In times of peace and democracy miners' radio stations were integrated into the daily life of the community. They became the closest and most effective replacement for telephone and postal services.

People would get their mail through the stations and post messages of all kinds, which were read several times during the day: calls for a meeting of women from the Comité de Amas de Casa (Housewives Committee); messages from the union leaders about their negotiations with the government in the capital; messages of love among youngsters; the announcement of a new play by Nuevos Horizontes drama group (often staged on the platform of a big truck, with workers illuminating the scene with their own lamps); and announcements of sport activities, burials, births and festivities.

In times of political upheaval the union radio stations would become the only trustworthy source of information. As the military captured newspapers, radio and TV stations in the capital and other cities, the only information available would come from the miner's radio stations. All of them would join the cadena minera ("mining chain") until the army would penetrate the mining camps and assault the stations, which were usually defended to the death by the workers. A film by Bolivian filmmaker Jorge Sanjinés, The Courage of the People, re-enacts the attack on the mining district of Siglo XX by the army in June 1967. Another film, a documentary, by Alfonso Gumucio Dagron and Eduardo Barrios, titled Voices of the Mine and produced by UNESCO, describes their political and social importance.

In times of political and social crisis the miners' radio stations would air reports on the political situation; they would also link for live transmissions when an important sporting or cultural event took place in the mining district. Other than that, each station had full independence from the next.

Certainly, miners' radio stations were important because miners were important. But also, Bolivian miners were more influential than ever because during several decades they had powerful means to communicate their ideas. As the importance of mining in Bolivia declined in the 1980s, the unions were weakened and some of the radio stations disappeared along with the mining districts.


Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC), NGO Network in Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC in considers community radio a special area for intervention. BNNRC has been promoting advocacy with the government in relation to community radio with other organizations since its emergence from 2000.[citation needed]

The objective of BNNRC's Community Radio intervention is to address crucial social issues at community level, such as poverty and social exclusion, empower marginalized rural groups and catalyze democratic processes and ongoing development efforts.

The prime role of community radio is giving voice to the voiceless people who do not have access to the mainstream media to express their ideas and views regarding community development. Promoting the right to communicate, speed up the process of informing the community, assist the free flow of information and therefore act as a catalyst of change are few major tasks are to be done by community radio. It will also uphold creative growth and democratic spirit in the community level.

As a result the Ministry of Information of People's Republic of Bangladesh has announced the Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy 2008. Under this policy Ministry of Information has recently [22 April 2020] approved 14 Community Radio station for installation, broadcast and operation first time in Bangladesh. To ensure free flow of information and people's right to information government enacted Right to Information Act 2009. Community Radio approval is a strong step to empower rural people in this regard.

Initially government approved 14 Initiators like Young Power in Action(YPSA) for Sitakunda, Chittagong, Nalta Community Hospital for Satkhira, LDRO for Bogra, BRAC for- Moulivi Bazer, Barandro Community Radio for -Naogaon, Proyas for -Chapai Nababgonj, CCD for - Rajshahi, Srizoni for - Jhinaidhah, EC Bangladesh for - Munsihigonj, MMC for - Barguna and RDRS for- Kurigram, Sundarban Community Radio for Koyra(Khulna), ACLAB for - Telnaf (Cox's Bazer) and Agriculture Information Servics(AIS) for - Community Rural Radio for Amtoli (Barguna)

BNNRC provided technical assistance to around 200 organizations in the community radio application process through a National Help Desk on Community Radio in BNNRC Secretariat in Dhaka. Through this experience, a pro active institution should be activated to create necessary human resource, research and development and technical cooperation for Community Radio in Bangladesh. In this backdrop, BNNRC has established Community Radio Academy (CRA). The Academy will organize community radio related training, research, technical assistance and other support round the year to Community Radio Initiators.

Community radio is considered an alternative, effective mass media for the rural disadvantaged population to express their thoughts in their own voice using their own style.


Radio is the primary source of mass medium in Benin and all of sub-Saharan Africa. Of the current 55 radio stations, 36 of them are community radio stations. The cover everything from news and sports to music and quiz shows. It is very difficult for these stations to succeed due to many factors, including: financial problems, structural problems and funding. There is, however, a need and a good chance for these stations to prevail.[4]


Community radio stations in Canada most commonly target commercially underserved minority language communities such as Franco-Ontarians, Acadians or First Nations, although some communities also have English language community stations. These stations are often volunteer-run and operated by cooperatives or other not-for-profit corporations.

In larger cities, community-oriented programming more commonly airs on campus radio stations. Some cities do, however, have community radio stations as well. Most community stations in Canada are members of the National Campus and Community Radio Association, or NCRA. Most of Canada's French language community radio stations are members of either l'Association des Radiodiffuseurs Communitaire du Quebec (ARCQ) or l’Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada inc (l'ARC).[5]

The province with the largest number of community radio stations in Canada is Saskatchewan. The majority of those stations are affiliated with Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation, an aboriginal public radio network.

Community stations are subject to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) community radio policy.[6]

In this policy, the CRTC requires community stations to

  • facilitate community access to programming;
  • promote the availability of training throughout the community; and
  • provide for the ongoing training and supervision of those within the community wishing to participate in programming.

It also requires stations to offer diverse programming that reflects the needs and interests of the community including:

  • music by new and local talent;
  • music not generally broadcast by commercial stations;
  • spoken word programming; and
  • local information.

The CRTC maintains a list of community stations.[7] In Canada, call letters and frequencies are regulated by Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management.[8]


In Ecuador many community radio stations are operated by religious groups. They include Catholic, Protestant and Bahá'í stations. The amount of community participation and self-management varies. Radio Latacunga was associated with a project in which indigenous organizations were supplied with simple equipment to record weekly programs for broadcast in the early morning. Also in Ecuador some indigenous groups operate their own radios. This is the case for the Shuar Federation in the tropical rainforest, and the community of Simiatug in Bolívar Province. Unlike Bolivia, trade-union radio has historically been weak in Ecuador.


Map of low power community radio Nov 2010

The first community stations started as pirates, broadcasting politically free speech and music programs after the change from Socialist system. Tilos Rádió in 1991 was the first such station, followed by Fiksz Rádió and Civil Rádió. Since 2004 a new category arose, kisközösségi or small community station which are low-power stations. By 2010 more than 70 such microstations has started broadcasting throughout the country. There are village-stations, small town-stations, university stations, subcultural and regiligous stations as well. In Budapest Cool FM, Első Pesti Egyetemi Rádió, Fúzió Rádió are the small community stations.


In India, the campaign to legitimise community radio began in the mid 1990s, soon after the Supreme Court of India ruled in its judgment of February 1995 that "airwaves are public property".[1] This came as an inspiration to groups across the country, but to begin with, only educational (campus) radio stations were allowed, under somewhat stringent conditions.

Anna FM is India's first campus 'community' radio, launched on 1 February 2004, which is run by Education and Multimedia Research Centre (EM²RC), and all programmes are produced by the students of Media Sciences at Anna University

On 16 November 2006, the government of India notified new Community Radio Guidelines which permit NGOs and other civil society organizations to own and operate community radio stations. About 4,000 community radio licenses are on offer across India, according to government sources. By 30 November 2008, the ministry of Information & broadcasting, government of India, had received 297 applications for community radio licenses, including 141 from NGOs and other civil society organizations, 105 from educational institutions and 51 for 'farm radio' stations to be run by agricultural universities and agricultural extension centers ('Krishi Vigyan Kendras'). Of these, 107 community radio stations have been cleared for licensing through the issue of Letters of Intent. 13 Grant of Permission Agreements (GOPA) have been signed with license applicants under the new scheme.

By 30 November 2008, there were 38 operational community radio stations in the country. Of these, two are run by NGOs and the rest by educational institutions. The first community-based radio station, licensed to an NGO (as distinct from campus-based radio) was launched on 15 October 2008, when 'Sangham Radio' in Pastapur village, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh state, was switched on at 11.00am. Sangham Radio, which broadcasts on 90.4 MHz, is licensed to Deccan Development Society (DDS), an NGO that works with women's groups in about 75 villages of Andhra Pradesh. The community radio station is managed by 'General' Narsamma and Algole Narsamma. The second NGO-led community radio station in India was launched on 23 October 2008 at 'TARAgram' in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh state. Named 'Radio Bundelkhand' after the Bundelkhand region of central India where it is located, the radio station is licensed to the Society for Development Alternatives (DA), a Delhi-based NGO. Radio Bundelkhand also broadcasts on 90.4 MHz for four hours a day, including two hours of repeat broadcast.

According to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, 47 community radio stations were operational in India by 1 November 2009, including 45 campus-based stations and two CRS run by NGOs. By December 2009, the number of CR stations run by civil society groups had probably gone up to seven, including Sangham Radio (Pastapur, Medak District, Andhra Pradesh), Radio Bundelkhand (Orchha, Madhya Pradesh), Mann Deshi Tarang (Satara, Maharashtra), Namma Dhwani (Budikote, Karnataka), Radio Mattoli (Wayanad, Kerala), Kalanjiam Samuga Vanoli (Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu) and Barefoot (Tilonia, Rajasthan).

By 4 December 2009, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting had issued 'Grant of Permission Agreements' (GOPA) for 62 community radio stations. Most of the GOPAs were issued to educational institutions.

Community Radio Sarang 107.8 is managed by the Mangalore Jesuit Educational Society (MJES) and is run by St. Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangalore, a coastal town in the southern part of Karnataka. In a way, Radio SARANG is a campus radio in that it is based in an educational institution campus. But it is more oriented towards local communities of people than merely the host institution, producing programs with, for and by local people such as farmers, fisher-folk, patients, vendors, service providers like bicycle repairers, cobblers, etc.

Radio SARANG broadcasts in Konkani, Kannada, Tulu, and English languages daily, besides broadcasting in Malayalam, Beary (mother tongue of local Muslims), and Hindi languages on weekly basis. In addition, Radio SARANG also broadcasts in Punjabi, on the request of the local Sikh community. Since 15 June 2010, the CR station broadcasts 14 hours a day non-stop, from 6.30 to 20.30 hours. The program formats include talks, interviews, phone-ins, songs, poetry, stories, chat-shows, etc. Dr Richard Rego SJ is both the founder and director of this campus based community Radio SARANG 107.8FM.

With the aim to create a common platform for local communities of Supi in Uttarakhand, TERI launched 'Kumaon vani', a community radio service on March 11, 2010. Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva inaugurated the community radio station, the first in the state. The 'Kumaon Vani' aims to air programmes on environment, agriculture, culture, weather and education in the local language and with the active participation of the communities. The radio station covers a radius of 10 km reaching out to almost 2000 locals around Mukhteshwar[9]

JNAN TARANGA, 90.4 FM is the first Community Radio Service in the entire north eastern part of India, formally started broadcast on November 20, 2010. Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University, Guwahati, Assam, India has successfully aired the first programme on 28 January 2009 as an experimental broadcast through the same frequency of 90.4 MHz. the name Jnan Taranga stands for knowledge wave.

Under the new (2006) community radio policy, any not-for-profit 'legal entity' - except individuals, political parties and their affiliates, criminal and banned organizations - can apply for a CR license. Central funding is not available for such stations, and there are stringent restrictions on fundraising from other sources. Only organisations that are registered for a minimum of three years old and with a 'proven' track record of local community service can apply. License conditions implicitly favour well-funded stations as against inexpensive low power operations, several of which (e.g. Mana Radio in Andhra Pradesh and Raghav FM in Bihar) ran successfully on shoe-string budgets before the imposition of any community radio policy.

The licence entitles them to operate a 100 watt (ERP) radio station, with a coverage area of approximately 12 kilometres radius. A maximum antenna height of 30 meters is allowed. Community radio stations are expected to produce at least 50% of their programmes locally, as far as possible in the local language or dialect. The stress is on developmental programming, though there is no explicit ban on entertainment. News programmes are banned on community radio in India, as also on commercial FM radio. However, the government recently clarified that certain categories of news are permitted on radio, including sports news and commentaries, information on traffic and weather conditions, coverage of cultural events and festivals, information on academic events, public announcements pertaining to utilities like electricity and water supply, disaster warnings and health alerts.

Five minutes of advertising per hour is allowed on community radio. Sponsored programs are not allowed except when the program is sponsored by the Government at the Centre or State.

Activists and community workers from across the country have banded together under the aegis of the 'Community Radio Forum of India' in order to coordinate training and support for community radio stations, as well as to continue to petition for a more proactive community radio policy. The Community Radio Forum, India, was registered as a 'Society' and 'Trust' on 26 February 2008. In the meantime, mobile telephone operators have begun to offer commercial broadcast services over GSM, evading completely government restrictions built around traditional concepts of broadcasting technology.

By 1 July 2010, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, announced that 715 applications for CR licenses had been received, including 104 under the old (campus radio) guidelines. 231 Letters of Intent were issued, including 63 against the old guidelines. Grant of Permission Agreements were signed with 102 applicants and 68 community radio stations were on air. (107 applications were rejected and 377 applications were being processed)


Ireland has had self-described community radio stations since the late 1970s, though it was not until 1995 that the first 11 licensed stations came on air as part of a pilot project run by the Independent Radio and Television Commission. Early stations were represented by the National Association of Community-Radio Broadcasters, which in 1988 published a guide to setting up new stations.

There are currently a 20 Licenced stations in Ireland with a further four stations expected to be licenced in 2010. In 2004, the licenced stations formed a co-operative CRAOL as a representative group in 2004 with the stations as shareholders. In 2007, new membership categories were created for aspirant stations, and a "Development Ladder" established to aid new stations in their development. by 2010, there were 42 aspirant stations as different stages of development. The Broadcasting Act 2009 gave a legal definition to Community Radio which previously had been determined by the Community Radio Policy of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland now the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The Act also provided for the availability of 100-day licence within a 12 month period for aspirant groups who meet the legal definition.

An Agreement for Mutual Co-operation was established in 2008 by CRAOL which ensures that signatories (which include all fully licenced stations) share successful funding applications, training materials, policies. This has led to a significant increase in networking and information sharing. The agreement also covered the sharing of programming and a new network website facilitates these activities through a resource bank and on-line programme exchange.

Community Radio Stations in Ireland encompass both station serving a Geographic Community and a Community of Interest (such as campus stations, Christian, and Irish Language). Accredited training in Community Radio has been available through CRAOLsince 2004. The rollout of such training has increased dramatically since mid-2009 with 95% of Craol member stations involved. In June 2010, the first ever Community Radio Conference was held in Croke Park, Dublin. Stations are located in all four provinces of Ireland, however coverage is not universal. Dublin has the strongest number of stations and there are significant cluster in North and West Connaught and the middle of Munster


Japan has a series of low power community radio stations across the country.


The first community radio was established in Jordan using the internet. was established in November 2000 as a means of bypassing government restrictions on private non governmental radio. In 2005 AmmanNet radio received license as an FM station and was able to broadcast to the people of Jordan's capital Amman. AmmanNet has also been involved in the training of other community radio stations in Jordan, one as part of evillage in the twin villages of Lib and Mleih and another as part of King Hussein University in the southern city of Maan. Also AmmanNet is involved in training Arab media activists in Internet radio. A program was launced to train and launch nine gulf-based radio stations as part of

Two new community radio stations were recently established in Jordan. Yarmouk FM is located at Yarmouk University in Irbed as part of the school's Journalism & Mass Communications program. Farah FM is currently under construction but has a license to broadcast in Amman and Zarqa, Jordan's second largest city. This station will focus primarily on youth and women's issues.


The very famous community radio in the Philippines is Radyo Natin. Radyo Natin is a set of radio stations in the Philippines. Its stations nationwide broadcast a live Manila feed through satellite. But sometimes some stations air local programming, cutting the Manila feed. It is considered a community network because local programs are being aired in different RN stations. Radyo Natin is owned by Manila Broadcasting Company.

Radyo Natin is the largest network of community radio stations in the Philippines, counting over 150 small FM stations throughout the archipelago, from Batanes in the north to Tawi-Tawi farthest south. RN stations are owned and operated by franchise holders who are public service-oriented communicators in their own right. With the magic of audio streaming, it is now possible for the national feed to reach listeners all over the world thru the internet, and we hope it will not be long before these franchise stations could also be heard anywhere around the world. Radyo Natin is the biggest radio network in the Philippines. Composed of 100 stations strategically across the nation, Radyo Natin is able to reach audiences that has never been reached before by another radio station.

Although Radyo Natin is found in the FM band, Radyo Natin, in the mornings hook up with Manila Broadcasting Company’s flagship station, DZRH, to offer its listeners the information they need about the country’s situation.

In the afternoons, on regular programming, Radyo Natin swings to being a music station which offers the latest and biggest hits of the country.

With central studios found at the MBC Building within the Star City Comples in Pasay, Radyo Natin sends its signals to its 100 stations by using state of the art satellite technology. These 100 stations then broadcast their signals to their respective areas of responsibility.

These individual Radyo Natin stations can, however, “unhook” from the Manila central studios and air events of their own localities on special specified hours, thus, Radyo Natin is nationwide in coverage, yet local in nature.

In 2005 a Show Cause Order containing a cease and desist directive from the commissioner of National Telecommunications Commission was issued to Radyo Natin, forcing a closure of the all radio station from its operation. In the order against Manila Broadcasting Company, NTC Commissioner Ronald Olivar Solis said that the company is "operating a low power FM station as a commercial broadcasting station without the necessary authority from the Commission."[citation needed]


Nepal adopted community radio in 1997. Radio Sagarmatha 102.4 MHz is the first independent community radio station not only in Nepal but in all of South Asia.[citation needed] It was established by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (Nefej) in May 1997. Radio Sagarmatha has been always in the front lines of the fight for the freedom of expression and right to information of Nepalese citizens. Today there are more than 150 community radio stations that have been granted license from the Nepal government. In Nepal, there are no separate policies or laws to running community radio. The existing policy and law is for both community and commercial radio stations. Including the pioneer community radio, Radio Sagarmatha, community radio stations have been demanding to the government to introduce different policy and law to facilitate the community radio stations. Social change and social justice is the motto of community Radio stations. They have played a vital role in restoring democracy and change Nepal as the republic country from the Kingdom. Rule of law, gender equality, education, health, civic education, anti-corruption, good governance, environment and day-to-day problems and issues are being treated in a different format by the local community radio stations. Community radios have a good coverage all over Nepal. News is one of the most popular formats for Nepalese community radio stations.

Radio Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) 102.4 MHz

The history of Radio Sagarmatha, South Asia's first experiment in independent public interest broadcasting is interwoven with the gradual loosening of government control over the airwaves in Nepal. From the time of the new constitution in November 1990, the drive to get Radio Sagarmatha on the air was instrumental in bringing about a new communications environment and a new awareness of the importance and need for independent, public-interest broadcasting.

Mass media in Nepal face formidable barriers. The geography of the country is ill-suited to either mass circulation of print media or coverage by electronic media. Access to newspapers, to radio and television sets, as well as to education, is limited by widespread poverty. Furthermore, Nepal has very low literacy levels, particularly in rural areas and especially amongst women. Both print and electronic media tend to be concentrated in urban centers like Kathmandu and are widely thought to have limited relevance to rural people.

In 1990, Nepal officially changed from a monarchical non-party system to a parliamentary model. A new constitution enshrined the right to freedom of expression, specifically the right of every citizen to demand and receive information on any matter of public importance. The expression of basic communication rights in the constitution was followed by more focused policy and practical guidelines: in 1992, a National Communications Policy; in 1993, a National Broadcasting Act; and in 1995, Broadcast Regulations.

Prior to 1994, radio broadcasting was the exclusive domain of Radio Nepal, the state broadcaster, established in the early 1950s. Even after 1990 state governments were slow in relinquishing monopoly control of radio broadcasting. The first independent license was granted only in 1997, four and a half years after the initial application. The battle for this license was long, hard-fought and significant. The main obstacles were an unstable political environment, conservative politicians and bureaucrats disinclined to change and the monolithic presence of Radio Nepal. Between October 1992 when the application was registered and May 1997 when the license was granted, Nepal had four different governments, four Ministers and four Secretaries of Communication. Waged primarily by journalists committed to the cause of free expression and public-interest broadcasting, drawn into the fight were figures of national prominence, professional associations, NGOs, the print media, foreign embassies, UN organizations, and INGOs.

From the outset, the main organization vehicle for Radio Sagarmatha, both for the campaign to get a license and to establish a radio station, has been the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists, an non-governmental organization and association of journalists. Key international supporters during the establishment phase were UNESCO and DANIDA. Organizational Situation NEFEJ is the current license holder of Radio Sagarmatha though the station was officially a joint effort and partnership with three other media based NGOs: Himal Association, Worldview Nepal and the Nepal Press Institute. The station was headed by a seven member autonomous Board of Directors constituted by NEFEJ as the broadcast license holder. Through NEFEJ by-laws, the Board had representation from all four partner NGOs and met monthly to review and plan activities, set policy and provide broad direction for the station.

As in April 1999, Radio Sagarmatha operated with the following staff: station manager, six full-time producers, two technicians, a music librarian, an engineer, an accounts officer and a station helper. The station also benefited from the contributions and experience of international supporters and other friends. Volunteers were an important part of Radio Sagarmatha's programming and operations which has been continuing to this day. Programming Radio Sagarmatha's programming has given hundreds, perhaps thousands, the opportunity to have their voices and opinions heard in a public forum. On a daily basis, the station takes listeners onto the streets and into locations of everyday life. The variety of voices and sounds (as well as the less than state-of-the-art equipment) gives the tone of the station a very different feeling from other broadcasters in this part of the world, one of real life as lived by real people and ultimately programmed by real people. Interviewees and people profiled on the station come from a wide array of backgrounds and occupations.

From the outset, Radio Sagarmatha has worked to present listeners with 'a human package', a combination of issues and entertainment, social discussions and music, as well as being a conduit for the variety of voices and opinion previously unheard on Nepal's radio channels. It is in its programming that the station's difference from the state broadcaster and the growing number of Western-style commercial stations is most evident. Public affairs journalism and broadcasting are at the heart of Radio Sagarmatha's mission and vision for a more responsible press and a more pluralistic society, but with a long and powerful tradition of folk media and a rich musical heritage, cultural programming is also prominent in the station's six hour daily broadcast.

Other aspects of programming include an initiative called 'Safa Radio: The Clean Air Campaign' in which the station works with the Nepal Environmental Scientific Society to measure air pollutants in Kathmandu and broadcast information about the capital's air quality. Though prohibited at first from broadcasting news, the station is currently airing summaries of daily news stories in a format mixed with music as well as broadcasting daily community news bulletins. Community access is an important part of programming. There is a daily feature called 'It's My Turn Now' in which individuals from the community-at-large voice their opinions, as well as daily vox-pop segments, listeners' letters and feedback recorded over the phone. In late 1998, Radio Sagarmatha formed a partnership with the BBC World Service. Thirty minutes of the BBC Nepali service and thirty minutes of world news in English are heard respectively in the evening and morning programme blocks.

New Zealand

The Association of Community Access Broadcasters (ACAB) is a group of eleven New Zealand community radio stations. The stations, established between 1981 and 2000 and receiving government funding since 1989, broadcast community programming and provide facilities, training and on-air time for individuals and community groups to produce the programming.

The ACAB group is a core component of New Zealand On Air's Community Broadcasting Strategy. A government funding pool of approximately $2 million is allocated annually for the eleven stations to produce programming for women, youth, children, ethnic and other minorities and people with disabilities in accordance with section 36(c) of the Broadcast Act. Individual station funding is allocated on a four-tier system based on audience reach, with each station receiving between $110,000 and $220,000.[10]

In addition to government funding conditions, ACAB stations also have an individual and collective mandate to broadcast programmes for people of a wide range of particular religions, cultures, languages, ages and sexualities. Stations operate independently and locally, making decisions on programming and scheduling by consensus.[11]

South Africa

From shortly after the end of the Second World War, the country's repressive State policies gave the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) an effective monopoly. For almost half a century, it was the only broadcaster permitted to operate legally and faced no independent radio competition on South African territory until the early 1990s' transition to democracy. The first legally permitted, non-SABC, broadcast was that of 1991's 'Festival Radio' from the campus radio studios at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. An Independent Broadcast Authority was created to oversee the freeing up of the country's airwaves with small, community radio stations being permitted to broadcast for the first time. Applications were discussed in open session to ensure transparency and accountability. Notable early community broadcasters included Bush Radio in Cape Town and Radio Unitra in Umtata. The Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) now regulates the telecomms and broadcasting sector.

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands has a number of community FM radio stations established under a UNDP programme in Isabel Province. In March–June 2009 these were being used to strengthen women and youth networking under a peace building project of the Commonwealth of Learning [2]. The stations are linked to rural email stations of the People First Network. The Don Bosco technical school has also assisted Tetere community in running a community station near Honiara, and the Solomon Islands Development Trust have established a Community Media centre to build local capacity.

South Korea

Korean government licensed a few small power community radio stations in the year of 2005. Maximum power is 1 Watt and it reaches 5 km.


In Sweden, community radio (närradio) was introduced in 1978 with test transmissions. Regular transmissions started next year. Commercials were not allowed until 1993 but operations are mainly run as non-profit NGOs. There are 150 community radio stations in Sweden.

For a list of stations, see this partial list of community radio stations in Sweden.


Community radio in Thailand grew quickly during the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, taking advantage of a delay in the establishment of a regulatory authority. Thailand's 2,000 to 3,000 community radio stations, often operating unlicensed, have been accused of causing interference with air traffic radio and other radio stations.[12] However, selected community radio stations have been the target of police crackdowns, causing critics to accuse the government of political interference.[13][14]

United Kingdom

Community radio stations were in operation on cable systems from 1978 [15] onwards and mostly situated in new town areas and staffed and operated by volunteers. In the late 80s and early 90s the then newly formed Radio Authority awarded licences (termed "Incremental" by the outgoing Independent Broadcasting Authority) to a number of new, ex-pirate and cable based community ventures. Notable stations included Radio Thamesmead (later RTM Radio) in South East London, one of the first cable radio stations in the UK which started on the Rediffusion cable system in South East London area in 1978. The old breed of community radio stations could raise funding by selling air space and by receiving donations or grants.

United States

U.S. community radio stations are usually staffed by volunteers and air a wide variety of programming. They generally have smaller budgets than National Public Radio (NPR) network outlets, due to the small audience of potential contributors and/or business donors. Community radio stations are distinct from NPR stations in that most community radio programming is locally produced by non-professional disc jockeys and producers (Although a few have honed their skills well enough to launch professional radio careers), where NPR tends to rely more on syndicated programming, both from its own sources and other outlets such as PRI; NPR stations almost always have paid staffs to handle most duties. Community stations often try, as a matter of principle, to reduce their dependence on financial contributions from corporations (and even governments) in comparison with other public broadcasters.

Many community stations are licensed as full-power FM stations, while others -- especially newer community stations formed after 2005 -- are licensed under low-power broadcasting rules. Many of the former were founded in the 1960s and 1970s, when cultural experimentation (e.g., the New Left) in the U.S. had a significant following, particularly among the young. Some of the largest and best-known community radio stations are those owned by the non-profit Pacifica Foundation, including WBAI in New York; WPFW in Washington, D.C.; KPFA in Berkeley, California (which covers the San Francisco area) and KPFK in Los Angeles. Many community radio stations are affiliates of the Pacifica Radio Network.

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters was formed in 1975 as an umbrella organization for community-oriented, non-commercial radio stations. The NFCB publishes handbooks for stations and lobbies on behalf of community radio at the federal level. It has been criticized for encouraging the homogenization of community stations through its Healthy Station Project. The project encouraged stations to scale back volunteers' power over management and the content of their programs, as well as embrace more predictable "strip" programming.[16] The Grassroots Radio Coalition is a very loose coalition of stations that formed as a reaction against increasing commercialization of public radio and lack of support for volunteer-based stations (including in the NFCB). Some stations are part of both groups.

See also


  1. ^ Dunaway, Ph.D., David (2002). Jankowski, Nicholas W.; Prehn, Ole. eds. "Community Radio at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Commercialism vs. Community Power" (pdf). Community Media in the Information Age: Perspectives and Prospects (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press). Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  2. ^ Forde, Susan; Meadows, Michael; Foxwell, Kerrie. "Culture, Commitment, Community: the Australian Community Radio Sector" (pdf). CB Online. Australia: CBAA. Retrieved 3 January 2007. 
  3. ^ Schaay, Michiel (September 1980). "A History of Bolivian Radio". 
  4. ^
  5. ^ The National Campus and Community Radio Association
  6. ^ Campus and community radio policy
  7. ^ Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Community Radio Stations
  8. ^ Industry Canada Spectrum Management and Telecommunications
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Consultation paper for Community Access Radio and Regional Television funding - April 2008". NZ On Air. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  11. ^ "Association of Community Access Broadcasters, Aotearoa New Zealand". Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  12. ^ "Community-radio crackdown panned". The Nation. Bangkok. 1 June 2005. 
  13. ^ "Abuse blamed on regulation". Bangkok Post. Post Publishing. 1 June 2005. [dead link]
  14. ^ Bryson, Gary; Trevithick, Neil (2 March 2011). "What can I say in Thailand?". 360. Australia: ABC. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Hansard 1981
  16. ^ Jesse Walker, Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America (New York University Press, 2001), pp.147-149

External links

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