Multicultural radio to enact cultural diversity
Australia is one of the world’s most culturally diverse nations, based largely on high levels of immigration in the second part of the 20th century. From the 1970s onwards, Australia formally recognized the massive social changes brought about by postwar immigration, and provided legislation to incorporate cultural diversity into everyday lives. One such ‘legislative’ enactment saw the establishment of multicultural broadcasting in Australia, as arguably a world-first, both in its comprehensiveness and diversity.
Today, Australia has a public sector corporation, the Special Broadcasting Service, administering five radio services in 68 languages. Also, the Community Radio sector produces multicultural programming in 100 languages through a number of its 330 broadcast and 207 narrowcast stations.
This article examines the relationship between radio and its communities. It argues that despite the ‘profile’ of SBS television, radio is much closer to its constituent communities, and therefore plays a greater role in enabling those communities to speak their own histories, beyond the confines of a consensual Anglophile paradigm.