Gotye’s open letter to Stephen Conroy

Staff Writer

Gotye (Wally De Backer) has written an open letter to the Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, asking him to commit to funding for digital community radio services in next week’s Federal Budget.

He says: "Without the support and encouragement of community stations when I started self-releasing my music in 2001 I would not have been able to develop my career." and refers to RRR, FBi, KCR and SYN FM as being massive supporters as he developed his music.

Read the full letter below….

Minister Conroy,

My name is Wally De Backer and I make music under the name Gotye.

Recently my music has enjoyed a great amount of success both locally and internationally, garnering hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, selling 10+ million records worldwide and receiving a number of awards (my album Making Mirrors won a Grammy for Best Alternative Album and my song Somebody That I Used To Know was awarded the Record of the Year Grammy).

Australian community radio has been instrumental in my recent international success. Without the support and encouragement of community stations when I started self- releasing my music in 2001 I would not have been able to develop my career. Larger capital city-based stations like RRR and FBi were instrumental, but opportunities for interviews, connection with fellow music lovers, and new musicians from diverse backgrounds through smaller community stations like KCR in Kalamunda, WA, or student radio station SYN FM in Melbourne supported me for many years as I developed my music and started finding an international audience.

Like millions of Australians I am also a listener to community radio and I love it. We are fortunate to have one of the most diverse and vibrant community radio landscapes in the world, something that has become clearer to me since traveling the world for the last two years and tuning in to radio in many countries. I value very highly the opportunity to connect with communities and cultures not regularly represented in mainstream Australian media through this network of volunteer-based, not-for-profit organizations.

It has come to my attention that there is a shortfall of $1.4 million per annum for the community radio sectorʼs transition to a digital broadcasting future in the upcoming May budget, a shortfall that may result in many community stations being switched off.

I urge you Minister, rectify this budget shortfall.

It will ensure that young musicians starting to develop a unique sound and vision can find an audience and connect with a diverse community of supporters before hopefully moving onto significant endeavors on the world stage. It will ensure that millions of Australians can discover cultures and communities that are rarely represented in other media, promoting diversity and engagement between people from many different backgrounds. It will be a commitment to a vibrant, interesting and intelligent Australia.

Wally De Backer


Have your say – Should the government give more funding to community radio for digital services? Vote in our poll here

You can find out more information about the Commit to Community Radio campaign here

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