Corresponding with the birth of the United Nations radio in 1946, today marks the second annual World Radio Day celebration.
Roebourne-based Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation media centre manager Kate Wilson said radio was a fantastic medium because it was always on.
“Unlike other mediums that require your undivided attention, you can tune in to the radio while you potter around the garden or tinker with your car,” she said.
The purpose of the day is to pay homage to radio, enhance networking among broadcasters and promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves.
Widely recognised as a low-cost medium, radio is well suited to reaching remote communities and vulnerable people, offering a platform for informative entertainment and debate.
Tom Price’s community station Gumala Radio use the airwaves as a means of preserving indigenous languages and culture, broadcasting in their native tongues and incorporating traditional stories and songs in its programming.
Discussing health, social and cultural issues and playing music created within its community, Roebourne’s Ngaarda radio is a local favourite.
“Having local indigenous presenters discussing local indigenous issues make listeners more receptive to the content being broadcast,” Ms Wilson said.
Spirit 1260 Karratha’s breakfast announcer Pablo Newton Farley used his position to support the local community.
“While entertainment segments like ‘Pablo versus Rourke’ seemed light-hearted and fun, we interacted with a wide range of local sporting clubs and promoted them to our listeners,” he said.
“Plus our reach means we have the power to raise awareness aboutimportant issues along with much needed funds simply by having a conversation or putting ourselves out there a little — like shaving my hair on air to raise money for Leukaemia.”
Along with its community benefits, radio is the chosen form of emergency communication and disaster relief due its ability to provide instantaneous, up-to-the minute information.
ABC North West journalist Gian De Poloni said radio was a powerful medium because it always transcended modern technology.
“It will always be around in some form and people can always rely on it,” he said.
“As presenters we have the ability to keep the public informed about any given situation as it unfolds — in the Pilbara, this means providing the latest cyclone messages and updates.”
Presenters’ reasons for being involved with radio were as diverse as the medium itself. John (Tadam) Lockyer, who has been Gumula Radio’s broadcaster for a decade said he had always been passionate about community radio, but particularly enjoyed outdoor broadcasts.
“They provide an opportunity for the whole community to come together and be entertained and educated and to soak up some cultural knowledge about the Pilbara and about being traditional owners,” he said.
“They can also represent a bit of a reconciliation bridge, bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities together.”
Newton Farley said radio appealed to him because of its flexible and interactive nature.
“Unlike television and print, radio audiences have the ability to call the station and have their say on the issues of the day,” he said.
“As a presenter I have the ability to reach a lot of people, while still maintaining the intimacy of a personal conversation.Newton Farley said he believed he had the best job in the world.