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Commercial radio’s billion dollar boost to Australian economy

With commercial radio in Australia turning 100, a new report has shown the industry contributes $1 billion to the nation’s annual GDP, which includes a $320 million boost to regional Australia.

The “Connecting Communities: The Economic and Social Contribution of Commercial Radio and Audio in Australia” report was commissioned by industry body Commercial Radio & Audio and produced by Deloitte Access Economics.

The study found commercial radio stations broadcast 1.1 million hours of Australian content, 2.7 million Australian songs, 42,000 hours of news and 2,200 hours of emergency service content in 2022.

The industry also supports 6,600 full-time equivalent jobs with 38% located in regional Australia.

CRA CEO Ford Ennals said:

“The Connecting Communities report is the first time in 100 years of broadcasting that we have evaluated the economic contribution of radio and its role in delivering trusted, local content to listeners all over the country.  These figures show how important it is to have a sustainable Australian radio industry that delivers great audio content free of charge to everyone, everywhere.”

Seventeen million Australians listen to commercial radio. 74% believe radio and audio build a sense of community. $82 million in charitable contributions were made through donations and airtime in 2022. It also plays a key role in music discovery.

Deloitte partner John O’Mahony said:

“Deloitte Access Economics analysis shows the commercial radio and audio sector contributed $1 billion to Australia’s GDP and supported 6,600 FTE jobs in 2022, based on data provided by nine networks. Beyond commercial radio’s economic contribution, our research shows Australians recognise the value of commercial radio in helping to build a sense of community, being a trusted source of news in times of crisis, and part of a thriving Australian music ecosystem.”

The study was launched at an event at Parliament House in Canberra hosted by 3AW breakfast presenter Russel Howcroft. Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland cut the cake in honour of radio’s 100th birthday.  MIX 106.3’s breakfast host Kristen Davidson also took part in the event.

The first commercial radio broadcast went to air in Australia on the evening of 23 November 1923 when people across Sydney gathered in their homes to hear the wondrous new technology.  The first radio broadcast was of the St Andrews Choir performing “The Swan” on 2SB. 2SB was originally an A-Class radio broadcasting licence. Its call sign was later changed to 2BL and the station is now part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, known as ABC Radio Sydney.

Today there are more than 260 commercial radio stations across Australia, with 220 located in regional areas and radio finding new audiences through mobile apps, streaming and podcasts.

Centenary celebrations will continue at the 2023 Commercial Radio & Audio Awards to be held in Sydney on Saturday, October 14.


Related reports:

100 not out – Radio Celebrates a century

80 Years of Australian Radio in 2003

ASRA Conference: 90 years of radio

On this Day 1925: Australia’s 1st commercial station goes to air.


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