Our organisation is EBC (Ethnic Broadcasters Council of the ACT and Surrounding Districts), incorporated in 1977.
The Idea of ethnic community radio was born in the 1970s.
In the 1970s the vision of a multicultural Australia first gained acceptance, particularly thanks to people like Gough Whitlam and Al Grasby, who then were in government. But it soon became a bipartisan policy; also important was the interest of former Prime Minister Malcom Fraser.
One result of the Galbally Review into Migrant Services, commissioned by Mr Fraser, was the foundation of SBS (Special Broadcasting Services), both television and radio.
At that time general community broadcasting was also developing strongly; and it was natural that ethnic communities would try to get to air through this new radio sector.
Initially the money was chanelled through the SBS, but soon was transferred to the Community Broadcasting Foundation. To make sure these funds are effectively distributed to ethnic community broadcasters, the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council (NEMBC) was set up.
We, that is EBC, were an early member of the NEMBC.
The EBC started on 2XX with 1/2 hour per week per language program. Approximately 25 different language groups participated, and some are still broadcasting there today. At that stage the AM Band on 1008 KHz was used.
In the early 1990 the EBC was still broadcasting through 2XX. However, the EBC was not very happy.
EBC broadcasters were contributing about 40% towards the whole station budget but had only 13 hours of air time a week. After negotiations were not fruitful, the EBC was expelled from 2XX. In the long run, this lead to establishment of the Canberra Multicultural Service - the full-time ethnic radio station we are today.
From January until August 1992 ethnic broadcasting activities ceased in Canberra.
Then EBC found a new way to broadcast. The Broadcast Services Act (1992)
had been changed and we were able to provide regular services under a
EBC hired 1993-1997 the facilities of Canberra Public Stereo Radio (now Artsound). On Tuesdays and Fridays, ethnic radio was once again on Canberra's airwaves. All finances came through sponsorships and donations.
Ron Eskrigge (founder of the Country Music Collective) met Heinrich Stefanik at the German Harmonie Club in Narrabundah and they developed the idea of a joint adventure - country music and ethnic programs would create their own home.
Soon after CMR was born. (CMR stands for both Canberra Multicultural Radio and Country Music Radio )
EBC bought some second hand studio equipment, volunteers built the studios, and a new transmitter with a maximum of 1 Kilowatt output was installed on Telstra Tower. It was the first solid state transmitter for Community Radio in Canberra. In 1997 the studios in Holder were offically opened by Bill Stefaniak (MLA).
In 1999, the EBC received a full time test licence for community radio. The frequency was 103,5 FM.
Because the Name Canberra Multicultural Radio was registered by somebody else; the EBC was forced to change the name to Canberra Multicultural Service or CMS as we are known today. The frequency was also changed to FM 91.1MHz
The big next step came when the EBC applied for a full community broadcast licence with the call sign 1CMS
Unfortunately the Country Music collective was unable to collect enough funding for the on-air fees and ceased broadcasting in 2000. Deutsche Welle donated a Satellite dish for rebroadcasting DW Programs.
On June 15 in 2001 came the big moment: the EBC was given a full time broadcast licence. The licence was renewed in 2006 and 2011.
Now, more and more Program Groups joined EBC over the years and existing programs expanded.
In 2002, the EBC rented an outdoor broadcast van from Triple S (1SSS) and participated in the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra for the first time.
Unfortunately Triple S was dissolved and the broadcast van was no longer available . Equipment from studio 3 was modified into a portable studio. We are proud to be the only radio station reporting and broadcasting live from the Canberra Multicultural Festival for the full day. This year (2008) we were On Air from 10 in the morning until midnight for the seventh time.
In Australia there are only 6 Full time Ethnic Radio stations - one of them is 1CMS.
EBC joined the CBAA (Community Broadcasting Association of Australia ) in 2004. Also in 2004 a long awaited project was realised and the station went from mono to stereo transmission.
In 2005 the existing transmitter was replaced with a state of the art transmitter. Using less energy than conventional Transmitters
The old Studio 1 was replaced in 2005 and other technical innovations continued. Multiple phone connections for On Air, GPS Clock System, Computers in all studios, and full automation were other milestones in CMS History. Internet streaming was introduced this year (2008). CMS is now present around the World.
Today we have one of most sophisticated community radio stations in Australia and we achieved it through our own efforts. -Through team work, and a lot of effort from a band of dedicated volunteers.
Today we broadcast in 36 different Languages, 1 CMS is reaching many people in and around Canberra.Ethnic Broadcasting provides young people an opportunity to communicate in their language.But even more important is the role for our elderly listeners and for new emerging communities.
Ethnic broadcasters build bridges— Bridges between the old and the new homeland. Most importantly, we build bridges within the community we live in.
Research has shown that with increasing age people are less interested in using high tech equipment like computer or the Internet.
Research has also shown that community radio is on the way up, slowly but steady.
Community broadcasters are people from the community, volunteering for the community.The Community trusts Community Broadcasters.Ethnic radio is fulfilling tasks that other media are not able to fullfill. Providing entertaiment and information, in various languages - fast, reliably and in a very cost efficient way.
About 60,000 People in Canberra's Household speak a language other than English. We are providing a service essential to our local and wider community.
To distribute information to all sectors of the community can be vital, I just remind you of the Canberra Bushfires in 2003.—Portable radios do not depend on Power supply, which failed during the Bushfires.
The challenges for ethnic community radio are, however, far from over. The digital age is just around the corner. Community radio will have to work hard to make its voice heard, in order to get it's fair share of the spectrum or the needed financial support. This is not a new situation - but I believe we will be able to find ways for our survival. As long as we keep on working together.
Since 2006 (2007+2008) EBC is organising a Broadcast Night to thank all Volunteerrs for their contribution and efforts for 1CMS.
The Ethnic Broadcasters' Council of the ACT and Surrounding Districts Inc. (EBC) promotes the interests of ethnic broadcasting for and by the ethnic communities in Canberra.
(extract Speech W.Albrecht,President EBC,(Broadcasters Night 19 April 2008)