National Campus and Community Radio Association releases Community Radio Exchange
In 2006, the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA-ANREC) put together its first iteration of what is called the “Program Exchange”. It is a digital system used to help distribute content among its members and media producers across the country for campus/community programming. Even at the early stages of file distribution, the NCRA recognized the importance of content sharing and made it a priority amongst members to provide nationwide content to members who would normally not have access to broadcast media aimed at meeting the sector mandates.
In November of 2014, it was following input from our members that there was a need to update the program exchange by enhancing features and making it easier to use. The result was funding approved through the Community Radio Fund of Canada for a new, updated and more accessible version.
In September of 2015, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) came together in Paris for sector wide meeting on community media. At the end, conference participants agreed on 37 recommendations , aimed at four different sets of actors, namely Governments and Regulators, Community Media Outlets and their Associations, UNESCO, which is the UN organisation with a specific mandate on communications, and the International Community (Donors, INGOS, IGOs). The report titled ” International Seminar on Community Media Sustainability: Strengthening Policies and Funding” highlighted the importance of “local, national, regional and international networks and exchanges” as a way to exchange “ideas, knowledge, expertise and best practice”, though content and programs.
The idea of sharing content speaks to the very concept of community media, which is about pooling resources and helping the community. It would be odd, for example, to call on commercial media outlets, who are in competition with each other, to share content, but this is natural for community media and there are a number of examples of content sharing schemes around the world.
The NCRA is proud to announce that it has officially released the “NCRA Community Radio Exchange” as of January 20th, 2016. Members and media producers can access the newly launched program at the main page of the ncra.ca website. It features new updates such as:
- Added Images and new design
- Sharing and collaboration of Series
- Podcast capabilities
- National log sheets
Anyone can sign up and upload content to be made available for all 95 members of the NCRA to access and air across the association. The exchange facilitates “collaboration with other actors” (one of the goals of the UNESCO report), by allowing program coordinators to select and broadcast harder to reach content, often developed by or for those marginalized groups or individuals which are unable to be produced at a local level. This further enhances the ability of stations and communities in “fostering the community support that is essential for the survival of community media outlets…. [through] information and communications technologies, as well as associated platforms”. To date, over 6600 programs have been shared across the NCRA’s Exchange network.
We look forward to an exciting year of programming across the campus and community radio sector here in Canada.
National Campus and Community Radio Association, Canada