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Chair Persons Report

Chairperson's Report to
The Annual General Meeting
Bellinger Community Communications Co-operative
13th November 2013

Report by Chairperson, Brenda Birks

WELCOME to the AGM OF THE BELLINGER COMMUNITY COMMUNICATIONs CO-OPERATIVE LTD, operating and broadcasting as 2bbb-Fm radio.

Since the last AGM until now, the activities of this year's Board have possibly been amongst some most useful in the colourful 30 year history of 2bbb.

Of course, the regular Board meetings have taken place approximately once every month from the earlier part of the year. The new Board gained it's footings and settled into managing the administration.

There are always the occasional hiccups and issues to work through, these were minimal and reasonably rare.   The Board of this year has been excellent, dedicated, reliable (more than competent) and it has been a pleasure to be involved with them.

An astute study of the station's needs set the Board to work on several exceptional focus areas: modernisation, finances (and the getting of more of them)(it always helps) and planning events for the year. So whilst attending to all the ordinary, general administration and tasks necessary just to keep the station running, even simple, logical things such as changing the light bulbs over to energy saving bulbs, and doing the washing-up, the groundwork was begun to upgrade the broadcasting equipment and the facilities - essential assets for the station's relentless and loyal volunteers and presenters.

The financials and modernization:

As always, a bevy of regular fundraisers were held throughout the year. A quarterly street stall, and raffles, run by so many volunteer helpers, organized and led by the irrepressible Misty, brought approximately over $400 for each (around $1200) and still one stall remains to be had in mid December, so 3 down , 1 to go. The Bellingen Markets featured 2bbb’s stall and OB van plus donations collected (once more) by tireless volunteers and literally topped off by brand new Triple B t-shirts (again organized by the inimitable Misty Hanley) gained an amount of over $1000.00…thanks to the good spirited people of Bellingen for such a successful day!

It has been shown that the Australian public listen to community radio a lot more than you may have realized. In a study conducted by the CBAA only a couple of years ago, their carefully compiled figures state that almost 9.5 million (57%) of Australians listen to Community radio per average month. There are just over 350 Community radio stations with long term licences in this country. Those stations combined attract 4.5 million listeners (27%) per average week. It’s true that many of those stations have a higher demographic than this area.

This concept may have previously had a limiting effect on expectations for developing 2bbb.

You may have heard this quote before from IBM’s Thomas Watson, in 1958.  He famously said “I think there is a world market for about five computers” ....one may laugh about it now, but it just goes to show that great things have a momentum of their own.

This area has a much lower listenership compared to other, more populated regions and therefore more popular community stations.

However, size needn’t constrain 2bbb’s ability to keep up with industry changes and technology in broadcasting, and in the broader professional community. Nor should it prevent the station from really engaging upcoming trainees (young and old) with gear that parallel’s the basic requirements of everyday usage in computing in public sectors. In this case, size doesn’t matter-but quality does.

When a person learns to drive, they’re usually able to do it in a vehicle of a reasonable standard. To the young broadcaster’s, using triple b’s equipment, as charming as it may be, it’s like offering a new driver an old Buick to drive…instead of a new Toyota. Let’s face it, The quickly growing children of this community are using good current standard computing gear at school and are more than au fait with technological advances as they use their i-phones and Skype, multiple apps with their i-pads, voip phones and the like. The kids cannot be fooled - they will know if they are offered a lemon to drive.

Updating some of the gear (as money can allow) is an investment that extends way beyond the equipment itself.

A CBF grant for almost $9000.00 for desktops, laptops and software was gained by the administration in late 2012.

So, thanks to the perspicacity of our Secretary/ Technical Co-ordinator, Damien Delano-Davis, a grant was obtained from the CBF Ltd (of nearly $4000.00) to obtain an essential piece of pre-transmission processing equipment. Another grant was obtained (by the Chair) during the year, of several thousand dollars, (also from the CBF Ltd) to upgrade computer systems, to allow better networking and a true server system for mighty storage, to purchase a number of ‘studio monitor’ quality headphones, and a wireless microphone duo for outside broadcasting.

In the area that is the financial life blood of most Community Radio Stations, the Sponsorships, a commendable and consistent amount of almost $27,000.00 was obtained by the Board’s Treasurer/Sponsorships Officer, the invaluable Ellie Fruitrich.

Events:

The new training course for presenters was co-ordinated by  Cath Eaglesham and achieved an almost full complement of trainees. Further interest in training tends to suggest that this course can become a regular occurrence. Many thanks to Cath who has been a dedicated contributor to the station at times for over twenty years.

Throughout the year the 2bbbFM OB van has been an invaluable part of the station’s presence in the Shire and has appeared at a number of events including the Bellingen Markets, the River Festival, Urunga School and the local football matches which were broadcast live from the van by River and John Vallins, the OB van has also been operated by Sam Vallins and Scotty and friends, who managed it exceptionally well, broadcasting great music and personifying the ‘character’ of the van. In fact the van is somewhat of a local celebrity having made it as a cover story in the Courier Sun.

A hand made façade of the infamous little Blue OB van also played a cameo role as a stage prop during the Big Birthday Gig held for 2bbb in October.

 As mentioned earlier, this year is a very auspicious year, as it marks the 30th anniversary of 2bbbFM.  This excellent event, which also achieved a gain of close to one thousand dollars, included many local musicians and was organized by many, but mainly by Greg Norton-Baker. Until last month, Greg was a member of the Board but has retired to due work commitments. Greg (Mr. Silky) continues to broadcast for the station. The Board extends it’s recognition and gratitude him for his involvement and assistance.

There has also been an investment made into creating content and producing a special event as a Community partnership. The Chair was successful in obtaining yet another grant from the CBF Ltd (may their name be uttered with reverence, in dulcet tones) of over $25,000 to make this project possible. It is anticipated that a great range of community participants, sponsors, shopkeepers, trainees, artists, students - may share and prosper a little from the process and the outcome of this Community Partnership Project. So, by creating some employment in the community outside of triple b, entertainment and interest is also provided right across the locale. This project will come to it’s fruition early next year and hopefully, signifies the start of many, more great and beneficial activities between the station and other Community partners.

Members here belong to the Bellinger Community Communications Co-operative Ltd, a Community Broadcasting entity. The value of those words – Community- and Broadcasting – must be given attention and not neglected. In order to give due and honorable regard to our Broadcasting Licence, which has been recently renewed until 2018, as well as serving one another better and sharing more interaction and involvement with the community, Triple B may continue to operate proudly for a few more decades.

For 2bbb - It’s been a positive year of building assets, meeting people and learning more of how to apply and augment our skills as part of this ever-changing, truly modern world. The good groundwork has begun to be set this year – let it weave it’s tendrils into the future.

So Members, may I add lastly, as it seems that we are already hurtling headlong into the 21st century, then let us all go together as we go!