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Grants miss out 2XX

By johnboy - 10 December 2013 36

Some unhappiness being expressed on Twitter about Andrew Barr’s latest grants announcements:

Treasurer Barr lists his highlights as:

The 2013-14 Community Support and Infrastructure Grants included $20,000 to Karralika Programs to develop apps to assist in alcohol and drug treatment services for clients, more than $7,000 to Argyle Community Housing to upgrade the Ainslie Village Internet Cafe and $30,000 towards the construction of Cerebral Palsy Alliance ACTnew centre.

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Grants miss out 2XX
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Freestone 1:33 pm 14 Dec 13

c_c — Unfortunately there are good reasons why we can’t do that, but we are also VERY happy to receive suggestions from people with knowledge about such things. Again, if you want to DM your email address to me on Twitter or go to us directly on techo at 2xxfm.org.au, we can send you some info. Or, even, better you might be able to give us some advice.

Freestone 1:29 pm 14 Dec 13

switch said :

Freestone said :

PS Yes, the signal still sounds s***. It’s been a battle for years with various providers, legal advice, contradictory technical opinions, mismanagement and a lack of money.

So how come day in, day out, every other community station in Canberra (or Australia for that matter) manages to sound better than 2XX? You’ve been like a rubbish mp3 for most of this year. I know there’s plenty of internecine warfare in community radio, but the sound doesn’t suffer like yours has.

Seriously switch, get me on Twitter @jamiefreestone and I can give you some info on why that’s the case. It’s a depressing story, but largely out of our hands (but we are working on some solutions).

housebound 10:06 pm 12 Dec 13

Freestone said :

And Andrew Barr’s a politician… I sincerely doubt he’s huddled in a corner, cursing 2XX for a mean tweet.

Yeah, right. Never been known to curse anyone for their mean (to him) opinions.

switch 9:27 pm 12 Dec 13

Freestone said :

PS Yes, the signal still sounds s***. It’s been a battle for years with various providers, legal advice, contradictory technical opinions, mismanagement and a lack of money.

So how come day in, day out, every other community station in Canberra (or Australia for that matter) manages to sound better than 2XX? You’ve been like a rubbish mp3 for most of this year. I know there’s plenty of internecine warfare in community radio, but the sound doesn’t suffer like yours has.

c_c™ 8:00 pm 12 Dec 13

Freestone said :

Also, a new server is vital: we’ve been without proper email, without access to much of our data and it’s impeded our tech guy’s ability to remotely log in to troubleshoot things. So, without the grant, we’ll purchase one ourselves, but we probably can’t afford the most sustainable option (which the grant would have paid for). We can deal, but it would have been good to know sooner.

What’s wrong with rolling out a Microsoft 365 or Gmail Small Business hosted solution? If you’d done that you would have been covered by the grant for the costs more likely, plus it’s more reliable, backed by 24×7 support and has redundancy and back up built in.

Freestone said :

And all this talk of 2XX not going in the right direction is great; but please email the manager, volunteer, become a subscriber and start doing things. The station has no full-time staff, but the last volunteers’ meeting had six people there. There are some champion volunteers who have taken on projects and genuinely improved the place and they did it just by taking on responsibility; that’s the strength and weakness of a community organisation.

Yep, that’s true, you have a part time station manager who is paid a pittance yet is expected to have significant experience and qualifications and do full time type work. If you can’t get the leadership right, what hope is there for the rest of the organisation. A mixture of well meaning volunteers with some skill and dedication and some self interested students with terrible inflictions and limited communications skills does not a successful operation make.

Freestone 6:59 pm 12 Dec 13

Hi all, some interesting comments, wish I’d gotten to this sooner. As the foolish fool who wrote the grant application in question, I’d just like to clear up a few points. First, we obviously consulted with the grants admin. before hand and afterwards to get feedback. Unfortunately we were told afterwards that the program wouldn’t fund servers, but were told it was a promising application BEFORE hand. Also, the panel had made its recommendations months ago, but the Minister’s office had delayed approving the recommendations by four months. The Minister then gave us a deadline for an announcement (on Twitter incidentally) which was later missed. There were four delays in total, all of which meant we held off purchasing a new server ourselves, in the hope we might get a grant.

Also, a new server is vital: we’ve been without proper email, without access to much of our data and it’s impeded our tech guy’s ability to remotely log in to troubleshoot things. So, without the grant, we’ll purchase one ourselves, but we probably can’t afford the most sustainable option (which the grant would have paid for). We can deal, but it would have been good to know sooner.

And all this talk of 2XX not going in the right direction is great; but please email the manager, volunteer, become a subscriber and start doing things. The station has no full-time staff, but the last volunteers’ meeting had six people there. There are some champion volunteers who have taken on projects and genuinely improved the place and they did it just by taking on responsibility; that’s the strength and weakness of a community organisation. We’ve also been expressly trying to move away from reliance on grants to raise more funds ourselves and have had two crowd-funding campaigns and launched a whole strategy around it (read our website FAQ for more info).

Finally (ignoring the fact that it was a personal, not corporate tweet), since when were politicians from major parties off-limits for criticism? 2XX is supposed to be a radical, alternative, independent voice, unimpeded by the feckless kowtowing to majority opinion and manners to which the mainstream media is in thrall. The charge of “petulance” has been made; but who has asked the Minister to apologise for stalling and misleading (via a personal tweet) the community organisations requesting a date? No one on this thread — and why should they? We don’t need an apology we just need a new server. And Andrew Barr’s a politician, a pretty good one as they go. I sincerely doubt he’s huddled in a corner, cursing 2XX for a mean tweet, hoping the denizens of the RioACT will spring to his defence and cry petulance whenever anyone expresses anger or disappointment about anything.

PS Yes, the signal still sounds s***. It’s been a battle for years with various providers, legal advice, contradictory technical opinions, mismanagement and a lack of money. It really is a saga and some of it involves commercial in confidences so I can’t spout it off here. But if anyone wants the story (which is both funny and tragic) I’ll happily tell anyone who’ll listen. Hit me up on Twitter (my personal account) @jamiefreestone — genuine offer, it’s something people in the community should know about and unless you’ve been reading our board meeting minutes there’s no way you’d know about it.

NoniDoll 7:14 pm 11 Dec 13

Community radio is a beautiful thing, yet also a tricky bugger to wrangle. If you want to complain, the best way to make a change is to *get involved*, which is what Meg and Endrey are doing – when I ran into them last night, I told them just how much I love community radio (and miss doing it!), and told them to keep fighting the good fight for the station.

And now I’m putting my money where my mouth is – for Christmas, I’m buying myself a 12 month subscription. Rather than complaining about the reception/perceived program quality/those who are actually getting off their backsides to give it a red-hot go, you’ve got to put your hand up and help out.

I think the point I made initially about the tweet in question being ill-advised still stands, personal account or not. Sour grapes rarely make winning wines, and in the modern age of the Internet, we can’t forget that our online ramblings can’t be erased and yeah, they can have a negative effect on things we hold dear. Having met Meg last night, she is obviously incredibly passionate about 2XX and making it work, but “Speak when you’re angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” (Lawrence J. Peter knew his shiz, yo.)

Basically, massive props to anyone working in community radio, as an employee, volunteer or SUPER-VOLUNTEER – Canberra would be poorer without it.

Thumper 2:40 pm 11 Dec 13

Barcham said :

Anyone else miss the days of simple social networks like Live Journal where if you wanted to have an angry rant online only the 7 or so friends you shared your username with would know about it?

With respect, RA posted the tweet.

pierce 2:27 pm 11 Dec 13

Thanks for your thoughtful response Endrey, you made some valid points and I know how harsh it can seem when it feels as though strangers are ganging up on your organisation.

You’re right that it is a collective of various volunteers doing it for love and little more and that people generally should be cut a little more slack. It is also fair to say that if I (we/whoever) doesn’t like the sound and direction of the station that getting involved should be the best way to remedy it.

I stand by my position though that regardless of whether Meg was tweeting from a personal account (her bio on that account states that she works @2xxfm) or not, there is a clear impression that she is speaking as a representative of the station and needs to reflect that.

As far as support of the local music scene goes though, I’d say that 2XX is streets ahead of any other broadcaster in the ACT.

Barcham 2:10 pm 11 Dec 13

Anyone else miss the days of simple social networks like Live Journal where if you wanted to have an angry rant online only the 7 or so friends you shared your username with would know about it?

Diggety 2:06 pm 11 Dec 13

I often wonder why local music struggles to get the support it deserves, I have a list of criticisms, now I can add 2xx Radio to it.

Thumper 1:14 pm 11 Dec 13

Endrey said :

Hi Pierce and Thumper,

You’ll doubtless be happy to know that I am not a station employee and had nothing to do with the grant.

You’ll also be happy to observe that this tweet is not from the station but a personal account – a form that seems to have skewed the story here from ‘the station needs computers’ to ‘person who needs computers frustrated at situation’. Maybe 2XX is not a worthy recipient of government money at all. That’s another conversation.

Though for those involved, a fairly routine personal social media reaction to disappointing news, I would’ve thought. Considering that missing out on something like this means real daily problems like no emails in an office. In 2013.

I can only assume from this comment thread that people are conflating one tweet as the entire organisational operations of the station.

‘Why don’t they get rid of self-indulgent presenters?’ ‘Why don’t they instead fix the broadcast quality?’ ‘Whingeing won’t help’. These would all be fair considerations, were this tweet the entire output of the station’s office and volunteers. Let’s please zoom out a little. I recommend beginning with the very rich Station Manager’s Annual Report lodged at the recent AGM.

Pierce, it’s a community radio station. I guarantee to you that everyone invested in the place down to a wo/man finds some element of its direction disappointing. That is why there are procedures (albeit terribly flawed) for involvement.

As to your advice that ‘rather than spraying abuse, do something constructive’ – I’m only levelling satire at complainants. It is certainly good advice and I recommend – if you don’t already – sitting on the Programming Committee or presenting. Surely these are more appropriate fora to right the ship to your tastes than complaining on RiotACT. The people that you so diligently research to criticise do remain people and I am sure will engage in a dialogue if that is what you want (though I wouldn’t recommend emailing at the moment). I feel exactly the same way about many of the things said myself.

It is all very dispiriting to watch the continual punishment of people who are trying to do things – yes, often imperfectly, but yes – positively and with the community in mind. Those who sit at home, watch tv and drink at Mooseheads are blissfully immune from such criticism and it really is the perfect mix of incentives for the disengaged and distant society we have. And maybe deserve.

Frankly, I listen to 2XX more than commercial radio. Sadly the signal is absolutely crap and it would be wonderful if the station could receive a grant to upgrade.

However, the tweet in the OP is simply petulent and childish. And as I said, it really doesn’t help a cause to be so.

I offered a viable avenue, ie, talk to the government about where the application went wrong and what can be done to make the application stronger in the next round.

Endrey 1:07 pm 11 Dec 13

Ghettosmurf87 said :

Endrey said :

Though for those involved, a fairly routine personal social media reaction to disappointing news, I would’ve thought.

A perfectly reasonable response to disappointing news would be to express disapointment, NOT to slag off the people who hand out the grants. It was a petulant and childish response which gave absolutely no consideration to those who actually reeceived grants.

It basically says, eff you Canberra & Andrew Barr, you didn’t give us the grant because you felt like kicking us for a laugh, we were way more deserving of the money than those who got it.

I’ve got no comment about the station as a whole, but it seems a pretty stupid way to do their business, conducting themselves in such a way. As mentioned earlier, far more productive to seek some feedback on the grant application and apply that feedback to future applications…

‘I’ve got no comment about the station as a whole, but it [one non-organisational tweet] is a stupid way to do business’.

Yes. It sure would be. Just as if you looked at one bus route in Melba you could happily conclude the ACT was ineffective at running schools.

This is one tweet from a personal account expressing disappointment. You have no indication of whether there have been calls to pursue further feedback, whether there is any opinion at all of other grant recipients or even what the 2/2 of this tweet is!

You do seem to be impregnating a lot of meaning into the tweet that back-validates your point.

I cannot believe I have been sucked into this vortex of misplaced misery. Utterly ridiculous.

Ghettosmurf87 12:50 pm 11 Dec 13

Endrey said :

Though for those involved, a fairly routine personal social media reaction to disappointing news, I would’ve thought.

A perfectly reasonable response to disappointing news would be to express disapointment, NOT to slag off the people who hand out the grants. It was a petulant and childish response which gave absolutely no consideration to those who actually reeceived grants.

It basically says, eff you Canberra & Andrew Barr, you didn’t give us the grant because you felt like kicking us for a laugh, we were way more deserving of the money than those who got it.

I’ve got no comment about the station as a whole, but it seems a pretty stupid way to do their business, conducting themselves in such a way. As mentioned earlier, far more productive to seek some feedback on the grant application and apply that feedback to future applications…

Endrey 12:44 pm 11 Dec 13

P.S. I personally missed out on two grants this year and it really is a kick in the balls. Though money is always accessible elsewhere – the grants exist to close market failures in a society where people don’t individually value public and community works but collectively identify their need.
Routinely going around begging for survival funds to justify a life of trying to give to these communities is reasonable but difficult enough – missing out makes you feel particularly worthless.

In my narrow but committed experience, this dispiriting divide is a great driver of the endless talented artists that vacate Canberra yearly. We had Patricia Piccinini. We had Adam Hadley. We had David Finnigan. We still have countless brilliant others. We still have CJ Bowerbird. We still have Fred Smith. They don’t practice the field of their demonstrated brilliant talent and desire full time because it’s not viable. They will produce less works in their career than those who flee for viability and we are all certainly poorer for that.

I recognise there are other key drivers, but why people add to the difficulty and sadness of this reality by screeching at those who do the good they do really is beyond me and honestly every day makes one want to just join an investment bank and be beyond it all.

Endrey 12:39 pm 11 Dec 13

Hi Pierce and Thumper,

You’ll doubtless be happy to know that I am not a station employee and had nothing to do with the grant.

You’ll also be happy to observe that this tweet is not from the station but a personal account – a form that seems to have skewed the story here from ‘the station needs computers’ to ‘person who needs computers frustrated at situation’. Maybe 2XX is not a worthy recipient of government money at all. That’s another conversation.

Though for those involved, a fairly routine personal social media reaction to disappointing news, I would’ve thought. Considering that missing out on something like this means real daily problems like no emails in an office. In 2013.

I can only assume from this comment thread that people are conflating one tweet as the entire organisational operations of the station.

‘Why don’t they get rid of self-indulgent presenters?’ ‘Why don’t they instead fix the broadcast quality?’ ‘Whingeing won’t help’. These would all be fair considerations, were this tweet the entire output of the station’s office and volunteers. Let’s please zoom out a little. I recommend beginning with the very rich Station Manager’s Annual Report lodged at the recent AGM.

Pierce, it’s a community radio station. I guarantee to you that everyone invested in the place down to a wo/man finds some element of its direction disappointing. That is why there are procedures (albeit terribly flawed) for involvement.

As to your advice that ‘rather than spraying abuse, do something constructive’ – I’m only levelling satire at complainants. It is certainly good advice and I recommend – if you don’t already – sitting on the Programming Committee or presenting. Surely these are more appropriate fora to right the ship to your tastes than complaining on RiotACT. The people that you so diligently research to criticise do remain people and I am sure will engage in a dialogue if that is what you want (though I wouldn’t recommend emailing at the moment). I feel exactly the same way about many of the things said myself.

It is all very dispiriting to watch the continual punishment of people who are trying to do things – yes, often imperfectly, but yes – positively and with the community in mind. Those who sit at home, watch tv and drink at Mooseheads are blissfully immune from such criticism and it really is the perfect mix of incentives for the disengaged and distant society we have. And maybe deserve.

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