Nick Mercer, Justine Elliott MP, Michell Rowland MP, Dione Green, Pat Campbell

BayFM was delighted to be the focal point of Michelle Rowland’s maiden visit to Byron Bay.

The Federal Minister for Communications was accompanied by the Member for Richmond Justine Elliott and was interviewed by Dione Green on her show Make A Change where she expressed her strong support for community radio.

“Community radio does the heavy lifting in Australia when it comes to diversity and inclusion”, Ms Rowland said. “The first bill I presented to Parliament as the minister was concerning community broadcasting.”

In fact Ms Rowland’s first visit as Minister was to a community radio station in Braidwood that continued broadcasting when all other services were down during the 2020 bushfires. Members of the Management Committee relayed a similar experience during the 2022 floods when BayFM 99.9 broadcast into pockets of the hills around the Shire that no other radio stations could reach.

“I consider community broadcasting and community radio in particular to be absolutely essential to strong communities” said Ms Rowland. “We know that it’s primarily run by volunteers so we need to make sure that people are incentivised to continue supporting it.”

BayFM 99.9 has been broadcasting across the region for over 34 years and has won many awards from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) for setting the gold standard.

“I see community radio as one of the fundamental elements of the media ecosystem,” said Ms Rowland. “It has succeeded for two reasons – localism and its two way nature of interactivity with the presenters and the people”.

BayFM recently received one of its biggest government grants after acquitting its previous 3-year funding round which saw the installation of a new digital desk in Studio 1. This $92,000 upgrade was also funded through subscriptions, fundraising events and donations from the community. The next goal is to upgrade Studio 2 for the 21st Century so that both presenters and listeners have a better experience of this essential community resource into the future.

Listen to the full interview with Michelle Rowland MP.