Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


School of Arts and Applied Sciences


The fundamental aim of this dissertation will be to outline and critique the factors which have delayed the establishment of the first independent ethnic/multicultural radio station in Perth. The Multicultural Radio and Television Association of Western Australia are due to commence broadcasting on 6EBA FM on 1 December, 1990. While the Association has been broadcast·.ng through 6NR Community Access Radio for the past fourteen years, the increasing demand for air-time led them to apply for a Special Purpose, category 'S' licence through the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. The application was made in 1987, and the licence was granted after a hearing in 1988. Since then, the inauguration of broadcasting has been delayed by several factors, namely; finances for the establishment of studio facilities, the search for an antenna site, and the construction of the antenna. Nonetheless, other factors attributed to the delay need to be investigated. Independent ethnic/multicultural radio stations have been operating in Sydney, Melbourne, their regional areas, Adelaide and Brisbane for over ten years. This disjunction in establishment, must, then, be examined on an official level. Chapter One outlines and identifies national ethnic policy and philosophy in the context of broadcast radio. The history of ethnic radio broadcasting is detailed to establish how philosophy and official policy are not always aligned. Chapter Two contextualises national pol icy and philosophy in the locality of Perth. The history of ethnic broadcasting in Perth is critiqued to determine why there was a need for an independent ethnic radio station. The needs of migrant/ethnic participants are also identified through a theoretical framework and interviews conducted with program co-ordinators. These two themes are brought together in Chapter Three, where the contradictions between official policy and philosophy, and, policy and migrant/ethnic needs are examined. The contradictions identified ascertain how the lack of appropriate provision, through official policy structure, has contributed to the delay in formation of 6EBA. This lack is characterised by the contentions within the structure of policy formation, and the lack of acknowledgement of migrant/ethnic needs in the ethnic broadcasting sphere. The disparity between the language of official policy and the voice of migrant/ethnic groups denies the application of access and equality in the ethnic/multicultural broadcasting sphere, and consequently begs the question - "Who's Speaking to Whom?"