Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has announced $6.1m of extra funding for digital community radio today, in an effort to support the fledgling digital radio sphere, and cover costs for analogue radio’s one-off reorganisation of the broadcast spectrum.

“It’s important that the community radio sector has certainty,” Mr. Fifield told Light FM Melbourne. “We recognise it is important that we make funding provision to ensure that this important work that community radio does can be supported and that the transition to digital radio can be supported.”

Announced as part of the Federal Government’s 2017-18 budget, the $6.1m in funding will be allocated over two years, with $1.9m in 2017-18 and $2m in 2018-19 devoted to assisting the sector with the costs associated with operating a digital station, as well as an expansion to permanent broadcasts in Canberra, Hobart, the Gold Coast and Darwin.

The remaining $2.2m will be used in the first year to help broadcasters impacted by changes being made to the 803-960MHz analogue broadcast band, which affected many regional services and brought on an array of costs the small stations were unequipped to deal with.

“This additional one-off investment will support the ongoing sustainability of some stations to ensure continued delivery of community radio services to their audiences,” Mr. Fifield stated.

Fifield was quick to express his admiration for community radio, and stress its important role in building exactly that – a sense of community.