Radio broadcasting can be divided into 3 categories. These are; public-service broadcasting, commercial/private broadcasting and community broadcasting. The first is usually a state supported and controlled by an authority. The second one is usually owned and controlled by an individual and advertising have a highly important place in these broadcasts as they make much of their money from advertisings. The third one, which is the community radio/broadcasting, is usually owned and controlled by small communities. Generally their aim is to provide help for the public and they aim to serve benefit for the communities where they broadcast. Community can be defined as a group of people who share common characteristics and interests. So a possible definition for the community radio can be “a radio station which is characterized by its ownership and programming and the community it is authorized to serve. It is owned and controlled by a non-profit organization whose structure provides for membership, management, operation and programming primarily by members of the community at large. Its programming should be based on community access and participation and should reflect the special interests and needs of the listenership it is licensed to serve.”
As an example for the community radio broadcasting I can give the local radio stations which I listen while I drive from one city to another. For example if you drive from Izmir to Ankara there are many small cities and towns you pass through. And you have a chance to listen their local radio channels. In most of them the radio stations you listen in the big cities do not have sufficient signal thus you have to listen their local radio stations. The most obvious difference I’ve realized in these local broadcasts is the advertisings. They just advertise their local products such the local clothing or food brands or the local restaurants and cafes. You hardly ever come across with a big or a famous brand. Sometimes unlike the other public and private broadcasts they organize some competitions and if there is a concert or a show in their city they give free tickets for them. The reason I said unlike the public and private broadcast is that, in the competitions they make, they only give free tickets or free invitation cards just in big cities like Istanbul or Ankara. But in the community radios this situation is different. Of course I do not mean the community radios in the big cities but in the small cities or towns.
Another aspect of community radios is, they usually work for to announce their audience voice to the public. If a city, a town, a district or even a school have some problems they can help them by giving the floor to the audience and make them to announce their problems. Thus they have a chance to change something and a mass of people can realize the problems after these broadcasts. For example in a university, the students utter their problems about the school administration, lessons, or foods through their community radios.
Reference: Fraser, C. & Estrada, S. R. (2001). Community Radio Handbook; Community Radio in the Broadcasting Scene. UNESCO.