REMOTE INDIGENOUS BROADCASTING SERVICES
Essentially small community radio and television stations, Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Services (RIBS) are media production units servicing around 160 remote Indigenous communities across Australia of more than 100 people. They have the capacity to re-broadcast incoming satellite programming and switch this off when desired, to produce their own locally made radio or video programs. Until the demise of Indigenous Community Television to make way for the new National Indigenous Television (NITV) service in 2007, RIBS communities produced around 300 hours of original television programming annually, often in Indigenous languages.
The term ‘RIBS’ emerged around the time of a 2005 review of the federal government’s Indigenous Broadcasting Program, and reflected a shift in emphasis in the funding regime to primarily supporting Indigenous radio production with peripheral attention to video. The review also recognised that many Indigenous communities producing radio (and video) were grouped in regions according to cultural and linguistic criteria. This move coincided with a federal government allocation of $48.5 million over four years for Indigenous television program production, although the bulk of in this was earmarked for NITV.
The RIBS network replaced its predecessor, the Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme (BRACS), established in 1984. Most stations are associated with a Remote Indigenous Media Organisation (RIMO). The following seven key RIMOs have been producing Indigenous radio and television programming for some years: Pilbara and Kimberley Aboriginal Media (PAKAM); Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA); Warlpiri Media Association (now expanded into PAW—Pintubi Amatyerre Warlpiri); Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA); Far North Queensland (also termed by some as QRAM—Queensland Remote Aboriginal Media); Ngaanyatjarra Media (NG Media); and Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Media (PY Media).
The RIBS communities are represented by the Indigenous Remote Communications Association, although they also fall under the umbrella of the Australian Indigenous Communications Association.
REFs: S. Forde, K. Foxwell and M. Meadows, Developing Dialogues (2009); M. Meadows and H. Molnar, ‘Bridging the Gaps: Towards a History of Indigenous Media in Australia’, Media History, 8(1) (2002).