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The Indigenous media and communications sector

A vision for a nation:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders should be accorded respect as the First Australians and are afforded every opportunity to participate in Australian and international life: culturally, economically, socially, politically and digitally.

A vision for a sector:

  • Indigenous voices – be they content, perspectives, cultures, music, concerns, aspirations, humour, and opinions – are heard over the airwaves, in the broadsheets, on the screen, and across the broadband.


With great enthusiasm throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and individuals in many parts of Australia established community based radio and television stations. The 1984 report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander broadcasting and communications, Out of the Silent Land, recognised and celebrated the rich diversity and contributions of the talent and achievements of the Indigenous peoples of Australia in relation to broadcasting and communications.

Since that report, greater recognition has been given to the role that Indigenous individuals and organisations in the media and communications industry have played and continue to play in that sector with the objective of turning the tide of colonial history and cultural silence for the betterment of the nation.


Incorporated in 2004, the Australian Indigenous Communications Association Incorporated (AICA) represents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders members of the national Indigenous media and communications industry. AICA advocates for and formulates policy on behalf of the Indigenous communications sector with business in radio, print, film, television, and information technology with remote broadcasting.

Development and funding allocations have historically been limited; primarily because of the perceived non-commercial aspects connected with remote Indigenous communities and costs associated with the establishment of effective communication technologies. Too often, ‘public value’ has been overlooked. Further, the unique communication structures in Indigenous communities normally involve mandatory considerations of the diverse language groups in each community and outside the designated community area; and respective state and territory legislation over these communities.

As communication technology became more widely accessible albeit limited, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations developed to own and control, subject to funding bodies’ requirements: over one hundred unique, small community radio and television broadcasting facilities in remote communities; dozens of community and radio stations in regional and urban centres; several community television services; a couple of commercial radio and TV services; video-conference facilities; and several community and commercial print and multi-media enterprises.

Although these developments are significant and commendable, the overall Indigenous broadcasting and media sector remains under-developed, under-resourced and under-employed. And its peak-level Association, AICA has faced many subtle challenges.

AICA’s policy development is formulated and revised within the context of a dynamic national communication and media industry with disparate government and industry stakeholders. In providing a national perspective and in fulfilling its advocacy and representational roles, AICA’s varying degrees of success in representing the sector is founded on acknowledging and respecting the individual status of each of its members and their respective communities.


The recent Stevens Report, Review of Australian Government Investment in the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Sector (2010)has found that our sector needs to be better resourced and better recognised as the vital, powerful and professional media that it is. It has found that we strongly affect our peoples’ self esteem and well-being; and that we are well placed to embrace new media technologies, most critically in the way they attract our younger people.

It notes that “Despite the large number of reports and reviews into the sector over the past decade .. (the sector) is under-resourced, lacks critical capacity and skills and suffers from being administered across a range of portfolios.” (page 1).

The Indigenous Broadcasting Program is the responsibility of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE): See the Stevens Report at: – click the Indigenous Broadcasting Review page link.

The Stevens Report also highlights the ways in which, as a crucial partner, the mainstream media can help to build our self-esteem, provide a sense of identity and community, and instill greater pride within our communities, and in so doing, contribute more broadly to Australia’s national cultural identity.

The Stevens Report refers to the ongoing challenge of achieving progress towards Closing the Gap for the First Australians and emphasises First Australians media’s contribution by providing employment and training opportunities to Indigenous people.

To avoid falling off the edge and to assist in closing the gap of unfairness and disadvantage, it says that, we need to be “empowered and resourced to get on with the job”. We need good governance, flexible approaches to account for our disparate communities, and the tools to enable us to meet the future. See the fourth annual report on progress in Closing the Gap, tabled in Parliament in 2012:

In the same way as the whole nation, First Australians’ media need to soon and quickly adapt and take advantage of rapidly converging broadcasting and communications technologies, the looming digital switchover and the enormous opportunities that are being opened up with the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) – particularly media in regional and remote areas. Read about media convergence at:

The future

The NBN and media convergence present the opportunity to position First Australians’ media to take a technological leap forward by using cost effective and flexible means to produce, view, preserve and revitalise local communities’ cultural content or informational material.

Encouraging “Australia’s Indigenous traditions of creative expression stretch back millennia before European settlement” the Australian Office for the Arts’ recent National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper (2011) notes: “In the Australian Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap, the celebration of our Indigenous culture and heritage has extended to building businesses based on the arts, and using cultural support to strengthen Indigenous communities, including through maintaining and reviving Indigenous languages. See the discussion paper at:

With all of these changes and challenges, various community owned and operated media organisations have partnered with AICA to develop a plan to renew our fabulous community broadcasting sector and create an innovative, accessible community media and communications sector.

AICA will build upon its stakeholder and partner relations to better enable learning and development throughout the sector. AICA will develop as the primary advocate for First Australians media.


98.9FMs Country Music
What’s new, what’s hot and what’s been in country music? This mix of great modern and traditional country music will have you moving to the beat! The mix is programmed out of 98.9FM in Brisbane.

NIRS East Coast - 2.00PM – 3.00PM SATURDAYS 7.00PM – 12.00AM FRIDAYS
Join the National Indigenous Radio Service as we bring you live coverage every week of the 2015 AFL premiership season!

Saturday October 3
Grand Final Pre Match
12 Noon - 1.00pm (AEST)

Saturday October 3
2015 AFL Grand Final
Hawthorn v West Coast Eagles (MCG)
1.00pm - 6.30pm (AEST)

Click here for more information



Tune in live to NIRS AFL via the NIRS National channel or the AFL website.

Follow NIRS AFL on Facebook or Twitter.

Sponsorship opportunities are available! Please call (07) 3226 4200 or send us an email for more information.


Awaye! is a national arts and culture program produced and presented by First Nations broadcasters at ABC Radio National. 'Awaye' means 'listen up' in the Arrernte language of central Australia, from where the program was first broadcast in 1993. The program covers a wide range of areas, including the visual and performing arts, music, literature, history and politics, documenting the healthy and vibrant diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities across the country.

NIRS National - 2.00pm-3.00pm (AEST) FRIDAY
Black Chung
Black Chung, hosted by Russell Dann from Goolarri Radio, is a Kimberley-based, one-hour Indigenous music and talk program.

Koori Radio presents an hour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander news and views from the studios of 93.7FM 2LND in Redfern, Sydney, on the home of the Gadigal people. Deserving its reputation as the station’s flagship program, Blackchat informs its national audience on a range of current issues and celebrates the excellence of First Nations people across Australia.

The multi-award-winning program is driven by a team that's committed to playing both established and up-and-coming First Nations musicians, giving artists new to the industry the chance to have their music played. Koori Radio has launched and supported the careers of many famous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Blak Law: Tribal Edition
Blak Law: Tribal Edition is the continent's first radio show exclusively looking at tribal societies and their rights.  It aims to inform and educate Australians about the laws of the land that have been present since the beginning of time.  Host Murrumu: Walubara Yidindji investigates international law and tribal societies to discuss their position in the geopolitical arena.

The show is broadcast weekly on Bumma Bippera Media Cairns 98.7FM.

NIRS National - Wednesdays from 1:00pm - 2:00pm (AEST)
Blues with a Feeling
Blues with a Feeling is produced and presented by 'Shakey' Shaun Bindley. Now in its 20th year, join 'Shakey' for an evening of great blues music on the National Indigenous Radio Service network via 98.9FM.

Monday 8.00pm-12.00am
Country Affairs
Hosted by the lovely Sandy Dann, Country Affairs focuses on Indigenous current affairs, lifestyle stories, community information and topics that effect the day-to-day life of First Nations people across the Kimberley and the nation.

Country Affairs is broadcast by Goolarri Media out of Broome.

NIRS National and NIRS West Coast - Monday to Thursday 12.00pm-1.00pm (AEST)
Deadly Sounds
Deadly Sounds is a weekly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music program presented by journalist, actor and author Rhoda Roberts. The program features music, culture, information and sport.

For more info, visit the Deadly Sounds website.

Tuesday 4:00pm - 5:00pm (AEST)
Brekky with Dan Rennie
98.9FM's Brekky Show with Dan Rennie is full of great music and heaps of interviews with the biggest stars in country music. Dan has a wealth of knowledge about the music industry and provides insights into the industry through news, reviews and interviews. His program is broadcast out of Brisbane.

5.00AM – 9.00AM WEEKDAYS
Indigenous Hip Hop Show
The Indigenous Hip Hop Show is hosted by Munkimuk and is the only show in the nation that exclusively features interviews and music from Indigenous hip hop artists. The Hip Hop Show can be heard every Tuesday 5.00pm-6.00pm (AEST) and is broadcast by Gadigal 93.7FM out of Redfern in Sydney.

Tuesday 5.00pm-6.00pm (AEST)
Law Matters
The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) produces and presents Law Matters for 6NME Noongar Radio.  Hosted by Jodi Hoffmann, Law Matters features informative and interesting interviews with ALSWA staff and other key stakeholders working within WA’s justice system.

Visit the ALSWA website for more details.

2.00pm-3.00pm (AEST) TUESDAY
Let's Talk with Tiga Bayles
Join long-time broadcaster Tiga Bayles to hear discussions on crucial issues relevant to First Nations people. Broadcast live each week day from the 98.9FM studios in Brisbane, the program covers a wide range of issues in a respectful and interactive way, encouraging audience participation and call-ins. Tiga has a long association with the media and is a well-respected personality and in-depth interviewer. 

Living Black
Each Friday, the team from SBS Living Black connects, informs and inspires. The hour-long program, presented by Michele Lovegrove, a proud Ngarrindjeri woman born in Port Augusta, proivdes a national platform to investigate, uncover and celebrate individuals, community programs and events.  Tune in to keep up-to-date on First Nations current affairs and more!

12.00pm-1.00pm (AEST) FRIDAY
Looma (RIBS)
Looma Radio is a Remote Indigenous Broadcast Service (RIBS) transmitting out of Looma in far north Western Australia.  Looma broadcasts via the PAKAM media group on the frequency 106.1fm.  Looma is located south of Derby, half way between Broome and Fitzroy Crossing.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 4.00pm-5.00pm (AEST).
NIRS Weekly News-in-Review
National Indigenous Radio's Weekly News-in-Review takes an in-depth look at the issues affecting First Nations communities around Australia.

This week's episode is presented by Adam Evans.

This week:

Greater focus on suicide response called on by academic and researcher Gerry Georgatos;

Talking treaty with Yingiya Guyula, Terry Mason and Tony McAvoy SC;

Paul Spearim talks about new protest laws proposed for New South Wales;

Anne Wilson from Kidney Health Australia speaks about how important keeping healthy in in avoiding kidney disease;

Celest Liddle uses International Women's Day to remember our women past and present;

Click here to download the latest episode of the NIRS Weekly News-in-Review

Producer: Adam Evans and Stephen Clarke

Would you like to sponsor this program? Call (07) 3226 4200 or email for details.
NITV National News
NITV National News features the rich diversity of contemporary life within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, broadening and redefining the news and current affairs landscape.

NITV News is the only nightly television news service that covers entirely Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories from across the country in its half hour bulletin.

NITV's Awaken
Join award-winning journalist Stan Grant for a simulcast of NITV's Awaken, a half hour current affairs panel show discussing everything from politics to sport, art and culture.

Awaken draws great thinkers and newsmakers of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia to challenge and provoke a new path to greater awareness and understanding. It is time for Australia to 'Awaken'.

7.30pm-8.00pm (AEST) WEDNESDAY
Nunga Wangga Radio
Nunga Wangga Radio is produced by Radio Adelaide 101.5fm.  Nunga Wangga means 'blackfellas talking', but it’s much more than just talking about local, national and international issues. Tune in to keep up-to-date with cultural and community events and a showcase of the enormous talent out there, including 100% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music featuring new artists and live studio performances. With a diverse range of guests, the Nunga Wangga team from the land of the Kaurna people provide you with a glimpse into the dynamic, gifted, oldest living culture in the world.

2.00pm-3.00pm (AEST) THURSDAY
Pixie's Bush Brekky
Known far and wide for his fantastic fiddling and wicked sense of humour, Pixie Jenkins brings country music across all genres to your breakfast table every Sunday morning. With a keen nose for the ridiculous, Pixie’s program has a strong following of listeners around Australia.

Featuring more “real” Australian country music than you can poke a stick at, listeners are treated to hillbilly, Indigenous, hoe down, bush poetry, comedy and comment throughout the four hour program broadcast from 98.9fm Brisbane. Pixie yarns with his mates and country stars and focuses on issues affecting country people and those from the bush.

NIRS East Coast - 6.00AM – 10.00AM SUNDAYS
Shout-Out Show
Uncle Pete can be found just about anywhere. He’s like the Where’s Wally - one week he might be broadcasting from a railway station, the next from a community hall! Uncle Pete has a great show all about community and family and looking out for one another. He plays great music and is always on the other end of the phone line to take calls, shout-outs and requests.

7.00PM – 11.59M SUNDAY
Strictly Country
The legendary Warren H. Williams brings the best of country music to your ears with rollicking good tunes from across the world, from bluegrass to country rock and everything in between. The bi-weekly dose of some of Warren’s favourites has a massive audience across the nation who tune in to hear the ballads of the world’s best country musicians and bands. There’s a healthy dose of great Aussie artists in his playlist. Warren broadcasts from the CAAMA studios of 8KINFM in the centre of Australia, Alice Springs. His love of good, honest, traditional country music sometimes seeps into some of his own songs, but you won’t get him playing his own tuff, unless you call in with a request!

Talkblack with Trendy Trev
Presented by Bumma Bippera's Trendy Trev, Talkblack is a national talkback program which can be heard from 11:00am (AEST) to 12:00pm Monday to Friday. Talkblack focuses on inspiring hope in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  Listeners can participate in the Talkblack by calling on the toll-free number 1800 422 416.

Monday to Friday 11.00am-12.00pm (AEST)
The Country Bumpkins Show
He calls himself a country bumpkin and hosts a show of the same name! Former West Australian Policeman, Gordon Marshall, will take you on a journey through his country around Derby, WA every Saturday morning. Featuring some of his favourite country tracks, Gordon beats around the bush with his funny repertoire and quirky facts while sitting in the comfy chair of downtown Derby at the 6DBY radio station.

10.00AM – 12.00PM SATURDAY
The Mary G Show
Buckle up for a wild ride that will have you holding your sides when Mary G takes to the airwaves. Our favourite gal, Mary G puts a quirky twist on the current issues and observations to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but with a good belly laugh. She brings you her live weekly show from her home studio in downtown Broome or from across the country wherever she is each Wednesday night. Mary G's huge following tunes each week on Wednesday night 'til late.

NIRS National - 9.00PM – 12.00AM WEDNESDAY
Wangka Maya Language Show
A First Nations language, music and culture show produced with the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre in South Hedland in Western Australia's Pilbara

NIRS National and NIRS West Coast - 4.00pm-5.00pm (AEST) SUNDAYS

Wangki Radio
Hosted by long-time Kimberley broadcaster Henry Augustine, Wangki radio is a Remote Indigenous Broadcast Service (RIBS) transmitting out of far north Western Australia, near Broome. Wangki broadcasts via the PAKAM media group.

Wednesday and Thursday 5.00pm-6.00pm (AEST).

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