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Community Radio Spotlight: 8CCC Alice Springs

Story Published Wednesday 31 May 2023
The 8CCC community radio station team. We chatted with Benjamin Erin (far right).

Community radio is an essential way for emerging artists to get their music heard

We sat down with 8CCC Station Manager Benjamin Erin to learn more

With nearly 5 million weekly listeners across hundreds of community radio stations, there's a good chance you'll find your audience there.

Amrap (the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project) - is a free service that distributes music to community radio programmers and hosts. Community radio presenters also use Amrap to discover new Australian music for airplay.

Do you have your music on Amrap? If not, why not? It's free! We recently sat down with Benjamin Erin from 8CCC, the community radio station that broadcasts across Mparntwe/Alice Springs and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Tell us about 8CCC and what it does to create a platform for local musicians

8CCC was established in 1981, broadcasting on 102.1FM in Mparntwe/Alice Springs and Tennant Creek. It was the first FM station in Central Australia uniquely suited to music at the time. 8CCC is a cultural organisation with a strong focus on developing and amplifying local music. We play one third local music and one third Australian music across the station. I support our volunteer presenters to connect with musicians for live interviews and performances. We run songwriting and music industry workshops and recently established an event production social enterprise, training audio engineers and supporting live music events. This year we are presenting our own two-day festival format – the One Frequency Festival on June 17 and 18 - with artists from across the Northern Territory which will include a week of artist workshops and networking in the lead-up - it will of course be broadcast live too.

What do you think community radio offers to Australian artists?

Community radio is the home of Australian music. It’s where emerging artists can undertake their first interviews and reach a broader audience in a supportive environment that values their creative work. Community radio reflects what the community of contributors brings to it so there is a richness of diversity in music with programming that transcends genres. Community radio will amplify your music locally and through national networks.

How do you find Australian music for the station?

8CCC is heavily involved in the local music scene and we make sure artists know our doors are open to them. When people are releasing new music, they’ll often get in touch with the station or particular shows to line up interviews, airplay and promote upcoming gigs. We get involved with the live production of many of them and participate in music industry events organised through MusicNT and other arts organisations. We love to place our local artists alongside other Australian music and Amrap is an incredible resource for this. We keep an eye on the Amrap charts but also love to dig through the latest releases and see what other stations and shows are listening to. The Amrap CD Mailout is always a treat with the discs landing on our studio desk for presenters to spin.

What is your advice for Australian artists trying to make themselves heard on community radio?

An impersonal mass email is unlikely to stand out in an inbox full of press releases and pitches. Taking the time to research who the best contact is at a station - the music director or programming director, for example - or even better the presenter of a program that looks like a fit for your music, Calling or writing to them personally will make a much bigger impact and people will appreciate the effort. Build those relationships, become part of the station community and your investment will be rewarded by stations that love championing Australian artists. Amrap is a great tool and can be used to provide links to your music and to assist in researching the right platforms and contacts to connect with for your music.

What advice do you have for managers/publicists in dealing with community radio stations and presenters?

Community radio has incredibly engaged and passionate audiences that would love to hear from your artists - a great EPK (Electronic Press Kit) with download links for music and other assets will make it easy for stations to platform new releases.

Who are your favourite recent new Australian musical discovery?

I have been loving the latest release from Stellar Sea – ‘Build A Wall’. They are a Mparntwe/Alice Springs band that have been developing their take on post-punk with an eco-queer edge and are currently working on their first album. Having just returned to Mparntwe/Alice Springs from an east coast tour they are building momentum toward the release of their debut album. You can hear Build a Wall on Amrap of course!

You can find 8CCC and over 300 other community radio stations on the Community Radio Plus App, which features a diverse range of community radio stations nationwide in one handy spot!

Check out our article on pitching your music to community radio or learn about the role of community radio in Jen Cloher's career. If you still have some questions about what Amrap does, check out this tips piece.

Watch Benjamin Erin discuss the importance of community radio for emerging artists