Heather Anderson is based in Brisbane on Meanjin Country and has been working and volunteering at 4ZZZ since 1991. Growing up in England, Heather moved with her Australian mother to Rockhampton in Central Queensland at the age of 11. She says she had no career to speak of before community radio, spending much of her time in the DIY punk and activism scenes in late 1980s Brisbane.
Tell us about your background
I’m currently an announcer at 4ZZZ, co-hosting a longform interview show called Talking Zeds which highlights the stories of people doing interesting stuff in the community. I’ve been involved with 4ZZZ since the early 1990s volunteering as a journalist, trainer, announcer, producer, coordinator, policy-writer, director and Chair of the Board of Directors.
While I’ve been involved with quite a few programs at 4ZZZ over the years, my ten-year stint with the prisoners’ request show, Locked In, was the most significant for me. From 2014 I lived in Adelaide on Tarntanya Country for six years. During that time I volunteered on WOW-FM‘s Radio Seeds, a program led by women with lived-prison experience.
As well as being a community radio practitioner, I am also a community radio scholar – my PhD (conferred in 2008) examined the relationships between community radio and prisoners around the world, and my broader research program focuses on community and alternative media.
How did you get into community broadcasting?
To be honest, my initial involvement was motivated by a desire to see more local punk music on the station! Given 4ZZZ’s reputation as a bastion of local music now, it’s hard to imagine how little local music was being played on 4ZZZ in the early 90s, especially in the ‘heavier’ genres.
I had friends already at the station, and it wasn’t long before I was spending the vast majority of my time volunteering there, especially as a member of the newsroom. So while I originally signed up due to my love of independent local music, I quickly became more involved with spoken-word programming, including news and current affairs, and then training journalists and documentary-makers.
4ZZZ opened my eyes to the power of the media to combat social inequality, both through reporting on injustices and, more importantly, providing a platform for marginalised folk to tell their own stories. It inspired me to study journalism and Indigenous studies, which ultimately led to my doctorate and current occupation as a Senior Lecturer at Griffith University.
Why did you sign up to be a CBF assessor?
Community broadcasting has given SO much to me! I’ve had incredible mentors and learned so much from the sector – and am still being given opportunities to learn. Most of my closest friendships were formed through community radio, around the country, and I feel so privileged to still be able to broadcast at 4ZZZ after all these years AND research and write about the sector.
As such, I want to give back to the sector and being a CBF assessor is one way to do this. I particularly like assessing Content Grants, as I’m always looking to promote program ideas that showcase diversity and social justice.
Community broadcasting is important because…
…it gives people the power to represent themselves.
About being a grant assessor
Interested in becoming a grant assessor? Read more about what a grant assessor does.
The CBF seeks nominations all year round to its Grants Assessor Team. Our team of volunteer Grant Assessors independently review, score and provide advice on grant applications to our Grants Advisory Committees.
Keen to get started? Nominate to be a grant assessor here.