The participation of the community broadcasting sector in the development of digital radio provides a potentially valuable opportunity for non-market, end user-driven experimentation in the development of these new services in Australia. However this development path is constrained by various factors, some of which are specific to the community broadcasting sector and others that are generic to the broader media and communications policy, industrial and technological context. This paper filters recent developments in digital radio policy and implementation through the perspectives of community radio stakeholders, obtained through interviews, to describe and analyse these constraints. The early stage of digital community radio presented here is intended as a baseline for tracking the development of the sector as digital radio broadcasting develops. We also draw upon insights from scholarly debates about citizens media and participatory culture to identify and discuss two sets of opportunities for social benefit that are enabled by the inclusion of community radio in digital radio service development. The first arises from community broadcasting’s involvement in the propagation of the multi-literacies that drive new digital economies, not only through formal and informal multi- and trans-media training, but also in the ‘co-creative’ forms of collaborative and participatory media production that are fostered in the sector. The second arises from the fact that community radio is uniquely placed — indeed charged with the responsibility — to facilitate social participation in the design and operation of media institutions themselves, not just their service outputs
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