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Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme (BRACS)

Background to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander broadcasting
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History of Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme (BRACS)
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Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA)
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Establishment of the BRACS network
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BRACS revitalisation program
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BRACS: an appropriate technology
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Rural and remote telecommunications
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Take it further
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Glossary

Map of Northern Territory, Courtesy: TEABBA - click to veiw enlarged image
Flags indicating the extent of the BRACS network. Courtesy: TEABBA

The Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme (BRACS), was introduced by the Federal government in 1987 in response to the launch of the Australian satellite, Aussat. Aboriginal and Islander people were concerned about the impact of the satellite and requested resources that would allow them to:

  • broadcast locally produced radio and video material
  • receive mainstream radio and television programs
  • control what was being broadcast into their communities.

The concept was to give Aboriginal and Islander people, access to and control of their own media at a community level. Due to limited funding, basic domestic audio and video equipment was used. Each installation comprised a cabinet to house a cassette recorder, radio tuner, microphone, speakers, switch panel, two VHS VCRs, television set, video camera, two UHF television transmitters, FM transmitter, satellite dish and two decoders. When the program finished towards the end of 1991, Telstra had installed 80 BRACS units across Australia.

The Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA) was set up in 1989 specifically to work with and provide support for the 29 Top End BRACS communities. The TEABBA satellite radio network is unique in the way it is managed and operated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander broadcasters from the Top End of the Northern Territory. The network was set up to promote broadcasting from studios at the community level. The network broadcasts in many languages and music styles, reflecting the diversity of its audience and coverage area.

TEABBA is:

… committed to fostering the broadcast image from the bush, to give the broadcasters a voice and a unique communications network spanning the Top End, that is where our strength lies and we see our role growing in this area. (Wyatt, 1996)

The material in this case study has been adapted from a paper written by Evan Wyatt, Broadcast Engineer from Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA).

Department of Education and Training
Case studies developed by the Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate and supported by the Multicultural Programs Unit of the NSW Department of Education and Training in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum
Powerhouse Museum