Why does Radio 5mbs exist? Let us count the ways

Why does Radio 5mbs exist? Let us count the ways

One of the key questions asked by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in the broadcasting licence renewal application is ‘how does 5mbs contribute to the diversity of programming available on radio services in Adelaide – what do we do that other radio services in our area don’t do?’

The response to this has been carefully considered and here are some excerpts, shared recently in a newsletter from the Board.

5mbs contributes to diversity

5mbs contributes to local diversity by broadcasting a unique combination of musical genres – namely western classical music, blues, jazz and world music.

Feedback indicates that, quite often, this particular combination suits the tastes of many listeners who stay tuned to the station for sustained periods of time.

Additionally, feedback suggests that 5mbs is a station for people who listen attentively to far more music per day than the average person who is likely to have the radio on in the background while doing other things and not fully concentrating on the music.

5mbs offers curated programs

5mbs offers curated programs across all genres (either by virtue of the specific program genre title, or by the use of particular themes, or both) presented by people knowledgeable in their fields.

This provides listeners with access to programs which may satisfy their special interests (in contrast with randomly selected music supplementing non-music programs) and provides an opportunity for serious fans to dive deeper into the things that catch their ear.

5mbs programs allow listeners to really engage with the music, letting them discover the joys of deep and focused listening and feel every small nuance in the performances.

The 5mbs musical genres

The 5mbs musical genres can be summarised as follows:

Classical: 5mbs is the only local radio station which broadcasts classical music. There is an average daily total of 18 hours of classical music, including the overnight music which comprises a playlist of classical pieces. During the core listening hours (the hours other than the overnight music) 5mbs has a policy of
playing whole works (rather than individual movements) which is a significant point of difference to other locally-accessible music stations which tend to play single sections or excerpts from or movements of works. 5mbs broadcasts a range of specialist classical music programs prepared by presenters with expertise in those fields. Specialist programs usually have a theme and are designed to be actively listened to.

Jazz: 5mbs is the only Adelaide-based radio station which regularly broadcasts jazz programs. It has a team of specialist volunteer broadcasters in all forms of jazz. Forty-four hours each week is devoted to jazz programs including specialist programs. The specialist programs go to air on Fridays and Saturdays in
response to listener preferences obtained from surveys and direct feedback. The jazz programs provide a forum for local artists in Adelaide to promote their music to the local audience through promos and broadcast interviews with musicians. 5mbs records local jazz concerts for future broadcast. A Jazz Diary is
broadcast several times a day during jazz programs giving details of local gigs and Arts Diary (broadcast four times a day) gives details of various wider music and arts events in and around Adelaide, including jazz and blues events.

Blues: 5mbs broadcasts two programs a week focussed on blues music and provides more blues content than any other local station. The five presenters all have specific expertise in different aspects of the blues, including vintage and classic blues and rarities or new releases from Australia and around the globe. Local blues artists are also regularly featured in concert recordings and interviews. River Blues provides a diverse range of blues music covering the full spectrum of the genre, including a focus on traditional Afro-American blues from the southern regions of the USA and a historic view of UK blues, plus more contemporary blues music. Regular presenters provide quality historic Australian blues music, and the ‘desert’ blues of North West Africa reflecting the commonly accepted belief that the blues had its origins in this region. Cafe Bijou provides an eclectic mix of contemporary music from smooth lounge through to disco re-mix and jazz/hip-hop.  Always with an underlying jazz rhythm, Cafe Bijou delivers a blend of the very latest in Australian, UK, European and west coast US jazz, with a focus on the ‘young and the young at heart’. Cafe Bijou provides a range of music rarely played on local radio.

World Music: no other station in Adelaide sustains a regular program devoted to world music. 5mbs program content includes the traditional musical genres of all nations around the world and the music that results from the intermingling of more than one cultural tradition creating a multitude of diverse musical styles. The program appeals to 5mbs listeners’ interest in multiculturalism and values the diversity between different cultures around the world. It fills the void in mainstream media coverage and provides 5mbs listeners with access to little-heard music in Australia.

The benefits of curated music

5mbs has an extensive archive of unique curated programs and recorded concerts across all its musical genres which can now be accessed via the new website, providing outreach via the web as well as the airwaves.

These curated programs provide choices for listeners who want their music presented in the easiest way possible to digest.

They are an alternative to the algorithm-generated playlists (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube) wherein the music is presented without much information and is disconnected from its makers and historical context, with algorithms designed primarily to keep web-surfers segueing from artist to artist.

We hope you continue enjoying the programs being created by our passionate volunteer presenters.

Help Support 5mbs

We have a fantastic team of members and volunteers at 5mbs, with many opportunities for more. Check out the various ways you can help support the passionate team at 5mbs

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