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Abstract

This paper originates in a wider research project funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s media research scheme.1 The project arose out of collaboration between community media practitioners and academics. The project sought to provide a comparative analysis of national ‘programme production schemes’ which are open to the community radio sector in other states. A key context for that research was the legislative requirement that the programme production scheme run by the BAI pay attention to the ‘the developmental needs of community broadcasters’. An additional context for the research was the criticism from within the sector that the BAI’s scheme was insufficiently attentive to the particular dynamics of community radio production. The key research objective that thus arose was to evaluate the ways in which other states link developmental goals to programme production funding for the community radion sector. In order to answer this question we evaluated the literature on ‘development’ of the sector and analysed the production schemes of five other states (Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand) through a combination of interviews and document analysis. The present article will provide a review of the findings from that larger research project. Its key aim is to provide an evaluation of the ‘developmental’ aspects of the production schemes in those five other states and consider their relevance to the Irish scheme. To do that, we first present an overview of community radio in Ireland and the operation of the Sound and Vision production scheme. We then undertake a review of the literature on development of community media and the role of public policy therein. Following that we will present our key findings from the research into the developmental aspects of programme production schemes offering tentative suggestions for their adaptation in the Irish context.

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