Social sustainability in community radio - a case study in the Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Community Radio in Ireland.


Ireland’s community media plays a crucial role in giving a voice to marginalised communities, providing a space to share their unique experiences and perspectives. With 21 community radio stations currently operating in Ireland, it’s clear that this community of broadcasters play a significant role in promoting diversity and inclusivity.


As a society, we strive for social justice, equality and fairness. But very often, if you are a vulnerable person or are from a marginalised community, it can be difficult to have your voice heard.

The outcome of social exclusion is that affected individuals or communities do not fully participate in the economic, social and political activities in their communities.

When this happens, society is simply not just, equal or fair.


In the corporate world, we hear more and more about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programmes, but DEI has been part of the community radio culture for decades.

Wanting to celebrate the strength of community media in representing diverse groups and the social benefits delivered by community radio, CROAL, in collaboration with the Broadcasting Sustainability Network (BSN), held a Diversity and Inclusion in Community Media event in May 2022 to share their insights and successes with other broadcasting organisations.

Community radios are owned and run by their communities and participation is reflective of Ireland’s diverse society. Speakers from community radio stations shared their personal stories on how community media has given them the courage and confidence to share their stories with their communities.

Results and Benefits

The event was successful in raising awareness of the many diverse voices in community radio and the importance of diversity and inclusion in community media. It created a platform for the sharing of knowledge and experiences among community media organisations and highlighted the importance of community radio and diversity of voice in these stations. Finally, attendees were directed to a practical toolkit for broadcasters on DEI.

You can find a link to Assessing the Social Benefit of Community Media: A Toolkit for Community Radio toolkit here.

Lessons Learned

Gift Okpe is a dedicated journalist and African news correspondent at Athlone Community Radio. He presents weekly programs focusing on Africa, the world, and promoting inclusiveness. With a background in information technology and mass communication, Gift understands the importance of diverse perspectives in media and how community radio can provide opportunities for people to share their stories. He believes that by being a part of Athlone FM, he can promote inclusion while also gaining the benefits of being a volunteer. Gift shared his journey as a news journalist in South Africa and how community radio in Ireland has allowed him to be a diverse presenter, promoting inclusion.

Gavin Allman, a legally blind man, joined Community Radio Kilkenny City as a volunteer in 2018. He expressed interest in presenting a radio program about Kilkenny and, with funding from the BAI, turned his interest into a series of 30 programmes that won Gold in the CRAOL Community Radio Achievement Awards 2021. Gavin shared his journey as a radio volunteer, detailing how his colleagues adapted the studio and equipment to make it accessible for him and how his colleague Mick helped him with script writing by reading it to him a few words at a time. Gavin emphasised the importance of community radio in promoting inclusion and how it brought purpose and a sense of community in his life.

Jason Kelly and Alan Byrne are dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion at Dundalk FM. Jason, a volunteer at the station since 2002, is an active DJ hosting his Drivetime show every Wednesday, as well as contributing to sports broadcasts. Alan, the station manager, is committed to promoting inclusion and encourages local community groups to participate and produce programmes that benefit both the groups and the community. Jason and Alan work together to create opportunities for everyone to get involved and showcase their talents, and their efforts have made a positive impact on the community. They spoke about how the station has been providing diverse programming for over 20 years, including programs in multiple languages and promoting the culture and heritage of the local area.

To hear more about Jason’s work, go to

Karen Meenan is a volunteer at NearFM Community Radio and a Senior Fellow for Equity at the Global Brain Health Institute. Her work in community radio has earned her the CRAOL Gold Award in the Social Benefit Category for her programs “Reminiscence on the Radio” and “Voyage Around My Brain”. Karen has a passion for radio and dementia and uses her platform to bring together scientists, clinicians, people with dementia, and their caregivers to discuss their experiences through radio programs. Karen shared her journey into community radio which began when she was a child and her father presented a local radio show. She became interested in reminiscence theatre after her mother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s disease and took a radio training course, eventually volunteering at Near FM. Karen highlighted that time is one of the benefits of community radio and how it allows for more accessibility.

Community radio is more than just broadcasting, it's accepting people for who they are, with visible or invisible disability.
Anne, CRKC

Community Radio: Delivering Social Benefit – a report, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which outlines the social benefits provided by community radio.

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