Two Years Ago, Same Story?

May 14, 2016

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Life goes around in circles. Yesterday’s ON THIS DAY feature on Facebook reminded me that two years ago, the music industry was concerned about how community radio would hold up with potential funding cuts that never (fully) eventuated.

Yet here we are again, two federal budgets down the road with the same fears. I woke up this morning to an email from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia with the subject line “Urgent Action Tonight!” (More about their #KeepCommunityRadio petition here.) All week, my Facebook news feed was flooded with angry posts from band manager friends about Sounds Australia not getting funding (more from ABC News here on that) and then some slight relief about a funding update they posted on their Facebook page:

I am by no means an expert on federal budgets or politics. But I am a musician and I do work in the music industry, with most of my friends also getting their paychecks from this line of work. This threat to jobs and opportunities gives me lots of feels regarding the government, and they aren’t warm or fuzzy. (This isn’t even including how I feel about the government’s lack of investment in science since the Liberal party took over. But that’s a whole other story.)

As The Conversation wrote: “It’s hardly ‘the most exciting time’ to be in an Australia run by a government that is deliberately dumbing down its people.” Full post where that quote came from here, plus another piece on The Conversation here, both with thoughts from arts academics on what these cuts mean (although more skewed to theatre, art and photography rather than music). More music-specific piece on Tone Deaf here, and Catalyst from The Guardian here.

There is a particular Winston Churchill anecdote that my mind keeps circling back to. The British PM was famously asked about cutting money to the arts to fund the war effort (accuracy, debatable), to which he replied, “Then what are we fighting for?”

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