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Volunteering for thy self narcissism in Western Australia’s community radio sector

Order, S. (2013) Volunteering for thy self narcissism in Western Australia’s community radio sector. In: Oliveira, M., Stachyra, G. and Starkey, G., (eds.) Radio: the Resilient Medium: Papers from the Third Conference of the ECREA Radio Research Station. Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, Sunderland, England, pp. 139-154.


Community radio in Australia is well established and an important part of the radio sector. Yet in today's economically driven world, it sits at the bottom of the media money pile. In order to argue for community radio's continuing existence and funding in a competitive media landscape, a way of capturing its value is essential. This paper summarises the development of a theoretical framework of value for community radio from the existing literature and the testing of that framework at three community radio stations in Perth, Western Australia. Volunteer participation by the wider community in the operation of community radio has been a normative value for the sector. In particular, this chapter discusses the importance of one key finding around that value of participation in the research. Study participants at all stations frankly asserted that often, their motivation to participate in community radio sprang from a purely selfish motivation. If participants in this study perceived the value of community radio from a purely selfish motivational standpoint, the wider community benefits could potentially be considered as pure side effects. Subsequently, any attempt to argue for the wider community benefits of community radio, and thus support and funding, could become much harder to substantiate.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Publisher: Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies
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