Social value study 2017

"It gives me goose bumps. It is so great to see these young people doing what they are good at, especially singing in language. It’s so important because it talks about feelings, it talks about country. They are singing what's in them, so when they sing about country, they are talking about their Jukurrpa (dreaming), and all their places and that is so great. We don't hear much in English about that.  They sing it because they're feeling it. This is their home.”

Radio listener, Yuendumu

More than radio - a community asset: Social Return on Investment analyses of Indigenous Broadcasting Services

For every dollar invested in First Nations broadcasting and media, $2.87 of cultural, social and economic value is returned.


The 2017  More Than Radio Social Return on Investment (SROI) was initiated by the Australian Government to assist the government:

  • Better understand the services offered by Indigenous broadcasting organisations
  • Ensure Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) funded programs are delivering for local communities; and
  • Provide Indigenous broadcasters with evidence of their benefit and services. 

Three broadcasters were studied in depth - PAW Media (remote), Umeewarra (regional) and Koori Radio (urban) - to form an overall report on the social impact of First Nations broadcasting services. As the overall report shows, First Nations broadcasters are returning social, cultural and economic value to their communities, and to government, significantly above the $ investment. 

The study was conducted by Social Ventures Australia during 2017 and commissioned by the Dept of Prime Minister and Cabinet.  You'll find an overview of key community outcomes and findings as well as links to the full report on this page. But, while you are here check out the:


Outcomes for communities

SROI finding: Strengthening First Nations broadcasting strengthens community

Strengthening Communication

First Nations broadcasting and media provide an effective, trusted and accessible communications medium, Through this they contribute to strengthening communities, strengthening culture and meaningful employment and participation.

Strengthening communities

First Nations broadcasting and media provide a voice for their communities. They are uniquely placed to hear and share communities’ strengths, priorities and concerns. In providing news and information to a community, they provide the community with the information they need.

Strengthening culture

First Nations broadcasting and media are keeping culture alive and preserving it for future generations through their broadcasts, archiving and film productions. They are benefitting their First Nations listeners, their communities and the Australian public at large.

Strengthening employment

First Nations broadcasters and media offer flexible working arrangements in culturally safe environments. They create work opportunities that are aligned with the interests of individuals. Individuals are proud to be working for these organisations.

Check out our infographic on community outcomes ​

Key findings

For every dollar invested in First Nations broadcasting and media, $2.87 of cultural, social and economic value is returned.

1. Indigenous Broadcasting Services provide much more than radio – they are community assets that contribute to strengthening culture, community development and the local economy
  • Indigenous Broadcasting Services effectively execute their core business of broadcasting Indigenous information, news, interviews, music, community events and stories to large audiences.
  • They also achieve a wide range of valuable outcomes that go much further than simply delivering a radio service.
  • Indigenous Broadcasting Services core funding enables them to help keep culture alive by creating culturally rich environments and by recording, preserving and broadcasting culture in an appropriate way.
  • Indigenous Broadcasting Services also play a crucial role increasing community cohesion, building community resilience and supporting people into meaningful employment.
2. The outcomes achieved by Indigenous Broadcasting Services appear consistent but the activities they undertake are varied
  • All three Indigenous Broadcasting Services analysed are delivering outcomes consistent with the four themes of communication, strengthening culture, stronger communities and increased employment and participation.
  • But their approach to achieving those outcomes vary dramatically; from a Claymation video studio in Yuendumu to puppets delivering public safety messages in Port Augusta and a programme supporting young musicians to develop their careers in Sydney.
3. The activities Indigenous Broadcasting Services undertake are tailored to the specific needs of the community which helps build trust amongst the community
  • Indigenous Broadcasting Services must have the trust and support of the community in order to operate effectively. Without that trust and support, Indigenous Broadcasting Services would not have such significant and engaged listener bases.
  • Community needs vary greatly and Indigenous Broadcasting Services understand and respond to those community needs, which in turn builds the necessary community trust. Examples of activities that have built that trust include managing a cultural archive of national significance, facilitating job skills training and CV writing support and running Indigenous festivals for 35,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to celebrate culture. 
  • Indigenous Broadcasting Services further build trust through a close connection to the community. All three Indigenous Broadcasting Services analysed are controlled and largely staffed by local Indigenous people, they have welcoming physical premises and cultivate an active network of connections to members of the community.
4. Indigenous Broadcasting Services are achieving a range of social returns on investment, heavily informed by their context, and value flows to a variety of stakeholder groups
  • Across all analyses, the stakeholder group experiencing the greatest share of value are listeners and community members.
  • Other stakeholders experiencing significant value from Indigenous Broadcasting Services include employees, volunteers, Indigenous musicians, artists and the Australian Government. Value was split relatively evenly across outcome themes, which reinforces the interrelationship of outcomes.
  • All three Indigenous Broadcasting Services are achieving substantial value. Different ratios are influenced by the size of an IBS’s listener base, the level of investment the IBS receives, the relatively high costs of servicing a remote area and the investment a RIMO must make to service multiple RIBS.
5. Indigenous Broadcasting Services are contributing towards more of the Government’s priorities than is currently realised
  • The Australian Government’s Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Priorities are being achieved by Indigenous Broadcasting Services and nearly all of those priorities can be mapped to material outcomes identified in this analysis.
  • Indigenous Broadcasting Services are contributing to more of the Australian Government’s IAS objectives than is currently realised. Indigenous Broadcasting Services contribute to all of the objectives under the Culture and Capability programme – including culture, community development and reconciliation – as well as priorities under other programme streams through employment, support for education and wellbeing outcomes and investment in remote Australia.
6. Indigenous Broadcasting Services can leverage government funds to generate additional revenue – and greater impact – but only if they have sufficient resourcing available
  • The Indigenous Broadcasting Services receive approximately 75 per cent of their funding through PM&C and an additional 8 per cent from other government sources (at the state and federal level).
  • Indigenous Broadcasting Services have demonstrated their capacity to generate their own revenue but there is a minimum resourcing threshold that must be maintained to enable Indigenous Broadcasting Services and their staff to diversify their activities and funding.