Publication Details

Carr, R. (2005). Alternative solutions: multiculturalism and the struggle for hegemony in Australian community broadcasting . In T. Khoo (Eds.), The Body Politic: Racialised Political Cultures in Australia: Refereed Proceedings from the UQ Australian Studies Centre Conference (pp. 1-10). Australia: National Centre for Australian Studies.


‘Who listens to community radio anyway?’ This has undeniably been the most common response to my investigations of the history of community radio in Australia. However, for those involved in the establishment of 3ZZ Radio in Melbourne, their struggle was about more than broadcasting to their own cultural and linguistic communities. It had a greater social significance, and would change the nature of the Australian broadcasting sector. The history of 3ZZ Radio is an indicator of the social context in which it is set; that is, 1970s Australia. Its rise and plummet out of existence between 1974 and 1977 reflects both the winds of change brought about by Gough Whitiam, and the sudden roll-back of social progressivism by Malcolm Fraser. Pioneers ofNon-English Speaking Background (NESB) community broadcasting in the 1970s considered its development as a great triumph against Anglo cultural dominance. However, die triumph was never complete. To this day, there remains an ongoing battle between community broadcasters and bureaucracies for funding and control. NESB Australians, in their struggle for media in Melbourne, saw control and selfgovemance as important aspects in the fight against social inequalities. They recognised that media was an important means through which hegemonic conceptions of the nation are produced (Jakubowicz, “Speaking in Tongues”). Their experience also allows me, as a historian, to view the effects and limits of official multiculturalism, and how only so much difference and tolerance is acceptable into the status quo.