Community radio gets behind Aussie content with ‘Bloody Great’ campaign

Australia’s network of community radio stations are about to receive a regular injection of the good, local stuff.

From Friday, a new half-hour programme dubbed “Australian Music Is Bloody Great” will be available to the 400 stations in the Community Radio Network, featuring a line-up of Aussie acts, many of whom need a hand during these toughest of times.

Teskey Brothers, who earlier this week bagged three nominations for the 2020 APRA Music Awards, will host the first episode, TIO can confirm, while the likes of two-time Australian Music Prize winner Sampa The Great, Genesis Owusu, Husky and others to host in weeks to come.

The COVID-19 epidemic has brought the economy to a screeching halt, and shut down the live music industry in the process.

Community radio stations, which are largely staffed by volunteers, have also been slammed. Though their stories aren’t trending on social media.

The “Bloody Great” programming isn’t a panacea, but it helps, says Jon Bisset, CEO of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA), which has honed the initiative with Mardi Caught, founder of marketing services company The Annex.

“The community radio sector is a robust and resilient sector – but we are doing it tough,” explains Bisset.

“About 80 of our stations were in bushfire affected areas earlier this year, and are now working their way through this pandemic as well.”

CBAA’s stations are “connectors and cogs for the music industry, and musicians, artists and creators support our stations – through sponsorship, event partnerships and more,” he continues. “Some stations are seeing whole revenue streams dry up overnight as industries and small businesses cease to exist or go into hibernation.”

Despite this, Bisset notes, “the sector is pulling together and continuing to broadcast and support their communities. The genuine sense of community and companionship we offer the community has never been more important to maintain as during this time of social distance and isolation.”

Earlier, as the federal government pressed pause on life as we know it, ARIA, APRA and the screen industries teamed up on the “Aussie Made” campaign, which urges platforms to ramp up their local content in these quiet times.

“Australian Music Is Bloody Great” is produced by the team at CBAA’s Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap) and will be available live and for download to community stations via the CRN.

The Annex’s Mardi Caught gave TIO a closer look at the new campaign.

mardi caught from The Annex

What exactly is “Australian Music Is Bloody Great” and how did it come about?

The initiative came about through ongoing conversations about community radio and its support of Australian bands. Like most people in the industry, we look to community radio to help us develop emerging talent and expose existing talent across all genres.

Without the ability for the stations to broadcast, we lose yet another opportunity to support Australian music during the pandemic.

The CBAA have been really active over the last year to make the relationship with the musicians and the community radio sector more fluid, and having been a part of this discussion it was an easy initiative to activate with the Amrap team there.

The response from the artist community was immediate as well, which was heartwarming to see.

How will it roll out?

The show will be a 30-minute format, which will be made available to all stations via the Community Radio Network (CRN) with The Teskey Brothers kicking it off and offering some great selections with a few surprises.

The exciting thing about initiatives like this is it’s opening a lot of doors to new opportunities, both for the artist and the broadcasters so we’re keen to see how it’s received and whether it can remain as an ongoing initiative.

We’ve seen ARIA, APRA and the screen industries get behind the Aussie Made campaign. Is the message finally getting through to platforms to push local content?

It’s been great to see the industry react as a whole — whether it be the retail or radio or other media — to the need to support Australian music.

Every day we’re seeing a new way of how something in the industry is being affected by COVID-19 from live touring, to clubs, to indie retailers.

There is no part of the industry that isn’t being affected. So it’s good to see people moving quickly to find ways of showing support but also how to innovate to keep the business on track.

For more visit cbaa.org.au.

Community radio gets behind Aussie content with ‘Bloody Great’ campaign