access media stations across NZ
podcast titles
different languages
podcast streams in 21/22


Access media is at its purest when individuals or groups classified by section 36(c) of the Broadcasting Act criteria are given the means to produce and broadcast content about their issues to their communities. 

Under the Act, the aim is: “to ensure that a range of broadcasts is available to provide for the interests of women, youth, children, persons with disabilities, minorities in the community including ethnic minorities, and to encourage a range of broadcasts that reflects the diverse religious and ethical beliefs of New Zealanders”.

There are 12 community access stations operating from Auckland to Invercargill.

  • seeking income from non-advertising sources such as airtime charges, sponsorship, endowments, and grants, for example. Each station is a not-for-profit organisation;
  • providing what other stations do not or cannot provide;
  • having a focus on getting the community involved in producing content and to reflect that community in its programming;
  • having multiple target audiences i.e. each programme is made to reach a different audience; 
  • having a small paid staff;
  • having voices on air that reflect the nature of the community and the programmes broadcast. They will differ, sometimes quite radically. 
  • being diverse in programming, human resources, and language;
  • having stations that are open and inclusive to all people into its workspace;
  • providing training and education on the skills of broadcasting for all interested people;
  • broadcasting a wide range of ideas, opinions, and beliefs; and 
  • being a community resource.
  • It’s not a commercial station using commercial radio formats and other commercial programming elements, for example a breakfast show or drive time. 
  • It’s not a for-profit organisation.
  • News or current affairs is not a part of stations’ core business.
  • It doesn’t place a priority on radio commercials in their traditional formats as a source of revenue. 
  • It’s not a place where ‘down time’ is filled by volunteers coming in and playing at being DJs spinning their own tunes.
  • It doesn’t have a single target audience.

The nature of the access audience is easy to define. Documenting the rate of target audience ‘capture’ is not so easy.

Access media audiences are structurally different from virtually all other media. Most radio stations fit the total station format to the preferred target audience. A station defines its audience by the people who listen to the station cumulatively. It’s the station’s sound overall and not any one of its individual programmes or segments that determines its audience.

Access media audiences are dictated by the voices that are broadcast. A society that values democracy needs to give a platform for minority interests to be expressed. Content-makers include key members from communities, and it means messaging can reach audiences that aren’t otherwise represented in mainstream or commercial media. 

The nature of our operations is very different to commercial stations. As community stations and NFPs we are selective in what we will advertise and because our priority is serving our various communities, any external content that gets aired needs to be of benefit to those communities.

CAMA can help tailor your messages to speak directly and authentically to our target audiences – in their language. Prices include the cost of broadcasting advertisements and production. Note, translation services may be additional. Please be in touch for more information.

Access media in New Zealand is funded in part thanks to NZ On Air. 

The year the Broadcasting Act was introduced a Ministerial Directive was issued requiring NZ On Air to undertake specific funding commitments, including the funding of access media. The directive says that it’s a part of the general policy of the government that access media services should be available for a broad range of non-profit community groups.

Thanks to the legislation and directive, access media in Aotearoa enjoys a level of state funding and support that would be the envy of other access media in most other jurisdictions.

Check out this information sheet that details the sector’s programming between Sep 2022 and Dec 2023.

Check out this information sheet that details the sector’s programming between Sep 2022 and Dec 2023.

What people are saying

"A highlight for 2023 is discovering New Zealand's thriving world of Community Access Media - something I knew nothing about until very recently. It's a literal A to Z of absorbing, original, world-class content overseen by a selfless, knowledgeable, and genuinely amazing group of people."

Freelance journalist and copywriter, Ben Whittacker-Cook

"I’m not loud, I don’t have a voice to share stories that I’ve got. With broadcasting, I can tell those stories to the community"

Content-maker, Access Radio Taranaki

"Being able to project my voice to such a large community is such a nice thing seeing as a teenager, I only have a small connection to a little community."

Content-maker, Access Radio Taranaki

"There aren't a lot of stations that give you the training to make radio shows so it seems quite special to be a part of [it]."

Content-maker, Otago Access Radio

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