While most teenagers tune into the radio to catch up on the latest music and news, one West Australian teen is using the power of radio for a very different purpose – to help others navigate the issue of substance abuse.
At just 15 years of age, Corrine Brislin isn’t your typical radio announcer. But in the Western Australian town of Harvey, her regular programs on the Harvey Community Radio station are making waves.
One of Corrine’s three weekly programs, RAADDical, features a regular Q&A with local Police Sergeant Laurie Morley aimed at understanding patterns of negative behaviors within the community and how they can be avoided.
The program, aimed particularly at younger people, looks at a range of issues each week, from drink driving to drug and alcohol abuse – arming teens with the information and skills they need to make the right decisions.
And Corrine’s contribution to her local community doesn’t stop at the airwaves. The community radio program was recently awarded a $1500 grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal with which “RAADDical packs” were created – drug and alcohol awareness resources that has been distributed to listeners and local schools in an attempt to raise the level of preventative awareness in the community.
With support from other Drug Awareness and community groups, Corinne hopes to further develop both her radio program and RAADDical pack initiative in order to empower her generation against a prevailing culture of misunderstanding and complacency towards damaging behaviors.
Corrine hopes to use the power of community radio to further pursue initiatives that will make life better for young people in her community.
For over 23 years 1WAY FM has been providing Christian music and programming to the people of Canberra – and with an estimated 30,000 listeners every month, it’s as popular today as ever.
As Canberra’s only Christian station, 1WAY FM aims not only to provide listeners with family friendly, easy listening music, but also to challenge the community to make a difference.
“As a faith based station we believe we have an obligation to uphold the values and principles that support the wellbeing and safety of our communities,” 1WAY FM General Manager, Colin Webster says.
“Being based in the nation’s capital brings that home all the more and we are blessed to have a voice in Canberra. We believe faith based media makes a difference to the culture of this country.”
But the station’s listeners don’t necessarily identify only as Christian. People from a range of religious groups and views tune in, attracted by the family friendly nature and value base of the content.
“It is estimated that Christian media reaches more Australians more frequently than churches do, with almost half of listeners not describing themselves as Christian. It’s not surprising as we live in community minded world, where generally good moral and ethical values extend beyond the boundaries of faith.”
While the station relies heavily on donations to fund its service, being a community radio station means 1Way FM measures its success in terms of community engagement and support, not just dollars.
“We strive to have an active local presence, supporting and participating with Christian and community organisations, events and activities.
“Although community stations generally have great community support, major expenses such as rental and transmission costs are generally outside our control. Funding core business and still planning for growth is one of those line items that consumes most managers and boards – it is no different in community radio.”
The difference is that for faith-based stations like 1WAY FM, success is not only measured by how they sound, but also how well they connect.
But that’s exactly what Roxby Downs’ only radio station 105.5 Rox FM strives for in all its broadcasts.
Roxby Downs is a relatively young township, established in 1987 for and at the nearby Olympic Dam mine operations. Around 75 per cent of its 4500 residents are transient workers and their families.
But the community itself has a friendly frontier spirit that Rox FM supports in all of its broadcasts, Station Manager Julian Tregenza says.
Julian says because of the transience, everyone is welcomed very quickly. And when they arrive in town, community radio is one of the first things they turn on to hear what’s happening.
“The mining community works long and hard, we just try and make our broadcasts something that’s entertaining and informing for the community,” Julian says. As the only local broadcast media in the community, we try and make it that the community can rely on us for the everything that’s happening, with everything from road closures to lost and found property, we can have something on the radio within minutes.”
Julian says supporting community organisations is another key focus for Rox FM. The station offers free airtime to charity drives and community groups like the Royal Flying Doctors Auxilliary and local sporting teams.
“We promote the profiles of all of these organisations so those new to town can join and that helps give them a sense of community.”
“Last year to raise money for the Community Postie Bash, two presenters – including myself – stripped off and did a two-hour show. There was a big keyhole in the wall so if you made a donation, and if you were old enough, you could make sure we weren’t joking. Our show ended up raising nearly $2000 with all proceeds going to youth and health services in Roxby Downs.
And listeners are quick to engage with broadcasts.
“Listeners are very happy to get on the phone, people will stop you in the supermarket, walking down the street or having a beer in the pub,” Julian says. “People certainly care about their community radio.
“Its very important for people to realise that especially for a place like Roxby Downs, that without funding, the ability to provide broadcasts to such an isolated community is hampered. We have extremely limited resources and there aren’t thousands of businesses that larger communities have to draw on for sponsorship. So without funding, it’s impossible for stations like ours to improve and develop.”
Ensuring Rox FM’s future is vital for the community, says Julian.
“It’s one of those towns that captures your heart very quickly. People are incredibly friendly and even if you don’t know them, everybody will give someone a wave and a ‘G’day’.”