Attn: Professor Warren Bebbington
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide
Dear Professor Warren,
I write in regards to the Options for Radio Adelaide discussion paper.
Radio Adelaide changed my life. At the age of seventeen I joined the University of Adelaide community as a Radio Adelaide volunteer. Radio Adelaide was my introduction to the university and my introduction to the value and importance of community broadcasting in a healthy community.
Volunteering at Radio Adelaide directly influenced my decision to undertake a Bachelor of Media at the University of Adelaide. I chose the university because it was an institution that took community engagement seriously and invested in being part of Adelaide and South Australia’s social fabric. The university’s commitment to Radio Adelaide demonstrated to me that this was a university that would provide me a quality education with tangible and practical opportunities to engage with the broader community.
My Bachelor of Media studies weren’t simply enhanced or complemented by Radio Adelaide – the station was my primary source of meaningful education. Without Radio Adelaide’s presence at the University of Adelaide, the Bachelor of Media program might as well not be offered.
Since leaving Radio Adelaide and the University of Adelaide I am now a media professional working in the community legal sector in Melbourne. Prior to my current role, I worked for SYN Media – a community radio station operating in partnership with RMIT University. Using the skills I learned from Radio Adelaide, I worked closely with RMIT staff to engage students in the opportunities available from the partnership. I was impressed by their commitment to the station and it is clear that RMIT saw the benefits of directly enriching the culture and opportunities available to their staff, students and community.
I am extremely disappointed to hear that the university is seeking to disrupt over forty years of investment in Radio Adelaide. The station represents over forty years of passion, community and culture fostered by thousands of dedicated volunteers and students. It is particularly disappointing that these decisions would be made in such a hasty fashion. As an alumni of the university I am shocked that such a major decision would be so rushed and that the future of vital cultural institution would be so poorly managed.
This is not the university I chose to be a part of. A University of Adelaide without Radio Adelaide is a university that has lost its heart.
However, I have hope. It’s not too late to give Radio Adelaide and its community certainty for the future. I provide my response to the questions raised by the Options for Radio Adelaide discussion paper below:
Would a gradual transition to a new entity over a period of up to 5 years (Option 2, as recommended by Letch-Tonks) enable Radio Adelaide to develop for the community audience in the future with a viable and robust financial operation?
Gradually transitioning Radio Adelaide into a new entity is only viable if the organisation is given the appropriate time and resourcing to develop sustainable new business models and partnerships for the future. Aside from maintaining the status quo, this is the only option that can be done in a respectful and considered way, but I believe the university would lose a major asset.
Would transfer of the station to a new owner at 30 June 2016 (Option 3) better enable Radio Adelaide to develop for the community audience in the future with a viable and robust financial operation?
I would be extremely disappointed if Radio Adelaide was given such a short and unrealistic timeline to secure its future. This option seems highly unlikely to be viable or realistic.
Are there possible alternative owners to the University of Adelaide in the community, with the capacity to underwrite costs of the scale required?
I maintain the view that the University would be giving up a major asset by transferring ownership to another entity.
Are there other viable options not canvassed by Letch-Tonks?
Given the university’s profile and influence in the community I am surprised the university cannot be more influential in securing outside sources of funding to support the station’s operations.
I thank you for the opportunity to comment. I hope that the university that gave me so much has not lost its heart and secures a strong and viable future for Radio Adelaide.