In early May, a few members of the CBF team and Board travelled to northern NSW on Bundjalung Country to attend First Nations Media Australia’s CONVERGE conference in Lismore.
While they were up that way, they dropped into five local community radio stations to meet the passionate people who run them – sometimes for the first time in person!
The team – who included our CEO Jo Curtin, Dean Linguey from the Grants Support Team and Board member Margaret Cassidy – loved learning about the stations, their audiences and the needs and interests of their local communities.
“It was really wonderful to hear firsthand about their stations and communities, as well as some of the challenges they are facing. This helps us better to understand the real and diverse needs of stations and how we can support them through our grants” – Jo Curtin
Dean agreed saying that every station is operating under completely different circumstances, with different audiences, locations, demographics, and governance structures.
“As a Grants Support Team member, visiting stations adds to my understanding of the sector and stations in the real world. It keeps me focussed on the impacts of my work, particularly when I’m developing grant policies and processes.” – Dean Linguey
The station visits were also a rare opportunity – particularly since the pandemic has severely restricted travel in the last 18 months – to see the difference CBF funding makes to regional stations and their communities.
The team travelled through sugarcane fields, along the magnificent northern NSW coastline, and into the rivers and valleys of the hinterland to visit:
- 88.9 FM Richmond Valley Radio’s studio in Coraki and the newly installed solar panels at their transmission site
- 92.9 River FM in Lismore where we’ve supported transmission costs, Indigenous programming, and a salary subsidy for their station manager
- COW FM in Casino, the ‘Beef Capital’ which received COVID-19 Crisis Grant to manage the impacts of the pandemic last year
- Paradise FM 101.9 in Ballina also received COVID-19 Crisis grant support along with past transmission, studio equipment and strategic planning support
- Bay FM in Byron Bay which has received CBF support in recent years for news and current affairs programming, and podcast production.
“It was wonderful being able to see these stations in person – all so different in character – and talk to the dedicated people who run them and find out more about the unique communities they serve.” – Jo Curtin