8CCC grew out of grassroots enthusiasm amongst the people of Alice Springs and surrounds for their own community radio station. After a series of public meetings in 1979-1980, 8CCC hit the airwaves with a “c” class licence in 1981, transmitting on 102.1FM from the grounds of Anzac Hill High School. 8CCC was one of the earliest established community radio stations in the NT.
A little later, a group of local Aboriginal people “expressed the need for a body to fight for Aboriginal participation in the media”. They formed the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) and then applied for a broadcast licence. 8CCC supported CAAMA by providing access time of 4 hours per day on weekdays to start broadcasting programs until they secured their own licence.
8CCC later moved to Centralian College campus, with Centralian College holding the broadcast licence on behalf of the station, and worked in partnership with the college for the next 19 years.
8CCC’s service extended to Tennant Creek in 1990, and a small production studio was established at the Tennant Creek Training Centre. Tennant Creek volunteers began producing programs and sending them down to Alice Springs on tape and later on CD, to be broadcast on air to Alice Springs and Tennant Creek listeners. One of the programs that started in Tennant Creek at that time, Get Out Those Old Records presented by Rufl, still goes to air each Sunday.
In 2005, 8CCC established itself as an independent incorporated association, and moved to its current shop front location in Lindsay Avenue, Old Eastside. 8CCC secured a temporary broadcast licence following a competitive application process. In 2010, 8CCC was invited by ACMA to apply for the long-term licence, again in a competitive application process, and 8CCC was successful. This enabled the Board of Management to initiate a range of change strategies documented in the 2010-2013 Strategic Plan, and to apply for a number of community radio grants from the Community Broadcasting Foundation.
A major priority of 8CCC has been to build partnerships, source grants, and raise funds and cash-equivalent support to re-establish the broadcast link with Tennant Creek and to renovate and re-establish a functioning studio in Tennant Creek. This was achieved by 2013, and 8CCC has established an ongoing partnership with Barkly Regional Arts, NT Department of Education – Tennant Creek Training Centre and CAAMA for the management and operation of the 8CCC studio.
In 2013, the re-establishment of the broadcast link was celebrated with a live-to-air broadcast of a concert of local band Unbroken Expanse in Tennant Creek, and later in the year a community and business breakfast at the Desert Harmony Festival. In Feb-March 2014 an accredited broadcasting training course for prospective program presenters was run by 8CCC in the renovated studios.
Since 2010, 8CCC has made a significant investment in technology in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, replacing outdated equipment, purchasing and setting up an efficient and effective computer network with large storage capacity and fast data retrieval to enable the digitisation of 8CCC’s extensive music library, the set up of functional broadcasting software and a user-friendly, interactive website with linked social media tools. This has been achieved through successful securing of small grants, donations from local businesses and community members and a lot of volunteer hours!
In 2013, 8CCC established a Saturday Morning Café at the Alice Springs premises, and completed the building and fit out of a small production and training studio at the studios. To mark the changes at 8CCC, a new logo was launched, featuring a Willy Wagtail, also known as the gossip or messenger bird. New signage was made for the two studios and on the highway. Again this was achieved a lot of volunteer support.
In 2013, 8CCC was shortlisted in two categories in the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia National Community Radio Awards: Outstanding Small Station Award, and for Best New Radio Program – Talks, for Centralian Yarns a local history series produced with the support of a grant from the Community Broadcasting Foundation.
8CCC offers an outstanding service to its outback listeners with a personalised mix of programming, special language services, music, live event coverage and local information that closely matches its community’s special needs and reflects the wide range of groups and viewpoints that make Australia’s Centre unique.
8CCC is committed to supporting local music and artists, with a policy to broadcast one-third music from The Barkly and Central Australia, one-third from the rest of Australia and one-third from the rest of the world. Equally important, 8CCC gives the Centre both a voice and choice. It provides a much needed alternative to mainstream commercial radio and enables marginalised community groups under-represented in other media to be heard including ethnic groups, school students, seniors, youth, women, lesbians, gay men and religious groups.
With this simple but effective mission, 8CCC has grown to become an important community catalyst, helping to link community groups closer together through the power and reach of community radio. 8CCC is an efficient and effective not for profit organisation, volunteer driven, with low overheads, good financial controls and a proactive Board that closely monitors costs and benefits for its audience. With a proud 33-year history of community service, 8CCC is a great example of local spirit, volunteer passion, a can-do philosophy and Australian egalitarianism.