Keep community-powered radio alive

Throughout June, 3CR is holding its annual Radiothon fundraiser. Image by Sam Wallman.

As Victoria experiences yet another lockdown, 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne is thankful to be able to keep creating radio by and for our diverse communities.

Some of our broadcasters and workers continue to come into the station, while others are now skilled at remote production. With much of the world continuing to face the ravages of the pandemic, we are acutely aware that we must remain vigilant in sharing accurate information and providing safe practices to shield communities from the worst of COVID-19.

After a challenging and revealing year, we remain focused on our vital role and responsibilities as community-controlled media.

This year marks 45 years on the airwaves for 3CR — an incredible achievement and a testament to the thousands of volunteer hours and station supporters who have given to the station over the decades. It’s particularly remarkable to consider the lasting strength of the radio platform in a digital world, and the persistent importance of community-owned media.

Increasingly, people are recognising the pitfalls and failings of corporate-owned media platforms that lack ethics or social purpose while they simultaneously manipulate, surveil and exploit communities.

New digital technologies bring significant opportunities for community expression and action, but not when they are purely motivated by profits. Within this context, the work of community radio remains absolutely essential as we deliver a not-for-profit media model that champions communities expressing themselves and determining their own futures.

I particularly want to draw readers’ attention to the significant milestone for 3CR’s Beyond the Bars project. This year BtB marks 20 years on the airwaves. That is, 20 years of live prison radio driven by our First Nations broadcasters and featuring the voices of hundreds of inmates from across Victorian jails.

This project brings together many core values of the station: a determination to share the voices of marginalised communities; a dedication to First Nations people and perspectives; and a resolve to expose society’s injustices and inequalities. In August, BtB will release a special podcast series, 20 Years on the Inside, hosted by Kutcha Edwards and Vickie Roach.

Throughout June, 3CR is holding its annual Radiothon fundraiser, when we ask our supporters to donate to keep us going.

There are so many reasons why it’s important to donate to 3CR: First Nations rights and voices remain central to our politically progressive and independent media practice; the climate emergency and sharing perspectives and voices that promote positive political change in our communities are also our priorities; it is clear that community-controlled media is central to all movements for change; 3CR is a place for the community to share information, expose issues, interrogate concerns and speak truth to power.

Be sure to visit our website, where you can listen to our incredible programs, subscribe, donate, connect with 3CR through our social media platforms and find the latest program grid.

Despite the challenges of lockdown, we’re really looking forward to hearing from all our supporters during this year’s June Radiothon. We know that those who can, will continue to financially support 3CR’s vital work and we hope that new supporters will join in our passion for community-powered radio.

[To donate, visit . Rachel Kirby is 3CR’s station manager.]