Wayne is one of our volunteer assessors who has been working in broadcasting for over 40 years. Wayne is a proud Nyoongar man and is currently the station manager of Wangki Radio at Fitzroy Crossing. This is his story.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born into one of the largest Indigenous families in the southwest of Western Australia and lived much of my early life in Perth. I have enjoyed nearly two decades working and learning in remote and regional areas of the Kimberley and the Northern Territory.
My personal philosophy is about respect and continuous learning – being respectful to other people and always ready to learn. I have two undergraduate degrees and have worked in government, education and radio broadcasting. Early in my working life I realised that if you wanted to be successful you needed to gain a range of skills and experience. In my case, this ended up being radio broadcasting and government administration.
Living in remote Australia, especially in Alice Springs and Kununurra, has given me many learning experiences that I would never have had in urban Perth. In the 1980’s I wanted my children to experience life in small-town schools where the population is largely Aboriginal – far different to my experience growing up in the southwest, even though I was lucky to get a great primary school education which set me up for life.
How did you become involved in community radio?
I liked the idea of radio when I was growing up in the southwest of Western Australia. It was before television and all we could get was ABC radio. Us children would have to be quiet when the requests program was on or there would be consequences!
Our Nyoongar families would write to the program. This was a way to tell family members where they were and that they were okay. No-one had telephones back then, so writing to each other was best. But putting a request on the radio was much quicker!
I found out about community radio while studying at Curtin University. When I was 19, I heard that the local community radio station needed volunteers. I never thought this would lead to a career as I was studying photography and wanted to be a film maker.
40 years later I have been working in radio stations in Alice Springs, Darwin, Kununurra, Broome, Perth and Fitzroy Crossing. It’s what I do. To my way of thinking, community radio is by far the best industry. I occasionally go into government departments, but somehow I always find my way back to radio. It’s where I want to be.
Where are you working now?
At Wangki Yupurnanupurru Radio (Wangki Radio) in Fitzroy Crossing. It’s a small-town radio station with limited access to radio experience. We are punching above our weight addressing so many issues. We do what we do well because we have a small number of committed people.
We play music, usually local. We broadcast the news and present programs, relevant to us.
Indigenous broadcasting is what I most enjoy. My passion is language in broadcasting, and particularly creating more opportunities for this to happen.
What is one of your community broadcasting highlights?
The most moving moment for me was the opening of Wangki Radio nearly 3o years ago. I just happened to be at the station when a huge crowd arrived to cut the ribbon to open the station.
Students were meant to be broadcasting, but for some reason they weren’t in the studio at that moment. In fact, there was no one in the studio so I sat at the studio desk when the crowd descended, and the formalities began. I didn’t want this moment to pass for the people of Fitzroy Crossing so I decided I would do the broadcast.
Why did you sign up to be a CBF assessor?
I want to use my experience to give something back this great industry. Being an assessor allows me to do that. It sounds like a cliché, but it does feel good being able to help. I often have no pressing business after hours in our remote locations, so I like to keep busy and help out.
It is inspiring reading applications and thinking about how can I assist? Some ideas make you immediately think, ‘How brilliant. I should have thought of that first’. It also makes me think how I might be able to adapt their ideas for Wangki Radio!
Then there are the other applications that make you think, ‘Great idea, but can this work? Do they have the knowledge, situation and resources to achieve what they are stating here?’.
This is the hardest part of being an assessor because you will often know this is a genuinely good person and a great station. You want to give them high marks, but they may not have addressed the application in convincing detail. Our job is to assess each application according to the grant guidelines.
Interested in becoming an assessor?
Do you want to give back to community media or grow your knowledge of the grants process? Why not become a volunteer grant assessor.