In 2012, the Community Media Forum Europe conducted a first-time total mapping of community radio and community television in European countries.
The activity of community media differs a lot between countries. In some, it has existed for 30 years. In others, community media is not recognized or even permitted. Because of this variety, the European Union and the Council of Europe want to “map” community radio in order to better understand the big picture to better make policy decisions.
A survey was conducted with the assistance of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities and its members as well as some national federations. It targeted 49 countries and data is now available for 39 of these. The figures are based on collected forms as well as CMFE expert reports and estimations.
According to the surveys, in January 2012 there were 2237 community radio stations on air (FM) in Europe. Most stations are located in EU member countries, with the highest number in France, Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Germany and Sweden. Only 122 radio stations are located in countries outside the EU. The majority of the countries that did not respond to the survey are in Eastern Europe, making it probable that community media may not be very developed in this region.
In 17 countries (including four non-EU), the survey indicates that community media is regulated by media law, and so this third media sector is recognized. Additionally, in some countries the community media is supported by government funding. Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands have substantial funding systems for both community radio and television, and Belgium, Italy, Norway and Switzerland do so to a lesser extent. In France, government funding supports community radio up to 40 percent.
The CMFE Mapping & Rating workgroup will continue the project, rating each country in order to encourage development of community media in all 47 European countries. The project is scheduled for completion in 2013.