For decades community radio has been the lifeblood of football in Australia. Understandably those running the game wanted to take it to a more mainstream audience by having the game and relevant programmes on commercial radio to take it to a wider audience, but in many cases it was given nothing more than lip service and played second fiddle to AFL and NRL.
One thing that was initially forgotten was the support the game had received from community stations and how these stations had built up a loyal following who supported the game and trusted those broadcasters, knowing that many did it purely for the love of the game or enough money for a couple of beers and a toasted sandwich.
It is therefore disappointing to hear that Coast FM on the Central Coast who have covered every season of the Central Coast Mariners A League existence will not be able to broadcast their Asian Champions League game against Suwon Bluewings at Blue Tongue Stadium tonight. In the first two seasons of the Hyundai A-League when 990am Information radio was the sole broadcaster of Perth Glory games, Coast FM picked up our broadcasts and the two stations shared a healthy relationship, both trying to promote the game and a fledging league when commercial radio had no interest.
The reason that they are unable to broadcast tonight comes down to broadcast rights and being unable to afford the requested fee believed to be in the region of $10,000. This is where the game has gone mad. Understandably the AFC want to bring in as much revenue as possible and broadcast rights plat a large part in that revenue stream, but Central Coast Mariners fans expect their regular broadcaster to be able to to bring them these games.
Let’s face it the Asian Champions League has far from captured the imagination of the average Australian football fan, mainly because we know little about the teams from other countries and probably because so far apart from Adelaide United Australian teams have not fared too well in the competition. Therefore would you once again not welcome any publicity you can give the league, and therefore help Coast FM broadcast the game? You are then helping raise the profile of the Asian Champions League and keeping the fans happy.
Surely common sense should prevail and the benefits of allowing them to broadcast be looked at, as they far outweigh any reason to prevent them. Without the support of stations such as Coast FM and other community stations football would have received little air time in Australia in the past 20-30 years, therefore it is important to make sure that they continue to support the game, and help them in times such as these.