RADIO OUTREACH Issue 17 - 4 August 2002
'NO SHOW' BY 2BLU EXECUTIVE AT FUNDRAISER
Friday night was the first fundraising activity 2BLU has mounted for a considerable time. The event was organised by program coordinator, Al Goodie to assist the Winter Magic Festival to pay its debts.
Sharmelle, winner of the first prize at the Winter Magic Busking comp, headed the 2BLU line up. Unfortunately, her performance was marred by a particularly poor sound system, but her legion of friends and supporters gave her an enthusiastic ovation nonetheless.
The back room at Gearins had been double booked for the night, which was something of a boon for those who turned up - we heard two additional bands (fortunately with a different and excellent sound system). Sydney band, Artamus, featuring singer and songwriter Amber Kenny - a former Katoomba local - was the highlight of the evening. (We hear on the grapevine that the band will appear soon at one of the Solla Sollew gigs at Gearins.)
In essence, it was the Friends of Community Radio who turned up on the night. There was no sign of anyone from 2BLUs executive. Bob Kemnitz, the non-executive member of management and Winter Magic Festival apparatchik was on the door but Bob tends to be as much in the dark about goes on at 2BLU as the ordinary members.
We look forward to eventually hearing Sharmelle in happier circumstances.
2BLU JAZZ PROGRAM ON COMRADSAT
The ComRadSat national satellite network has recently accepted a program devised and presented by Barry O'Sullivan from 2BLU (as we reported in Issue 3). Barry has provided details for an update.
A Jazz Hour is heard at 5.00-6.00 pm each Sunday on 2BLU following Jazz on Sunday, which Barry has been presenting consistently along with an assortment of other music specials for the past five years.
A Jazz Hour, now in its fifth week, has already featured music recorded locally at Leuras Hillcrest Coachman as well as a large number of excellent recordings from all over Australia including Kaaren Enkellar and Tony and Coral Theil. A Jazz Hour is broadcast nationally each Tuesday at 3.06-4.00 am and is downloaded by several community stations and replayed at various times as a 'filler' where no live presenter or other Jazz program is available for broadcasting.
Barry says that his program not only raises the profile of local music and musicians but also the profile of 2BLU FM and is the only music program to be accepted by the CBAA from the station and one of only two shows that have been accepted in the long history of the station.
Incidentally, the other program from 2BLU networked on the Community Radio Satellite service was Mike Bothams Crosscurrents a one-hour magazine format with contemporary Christian music and two religious news bulletins that was broadcast weekly for five years. Mikes gospel Album Show and Writers Block are heard on 2BLU on Saturday mornings.
Also, last year the satellite service broadcast programs produced for the radio section of the Noise Media Festival by some of 2BLUs young presenters. Well over 100 stations broadcast the series of three programs produced by Brian and James highlighting young and emerging local bands and Monicas program about Louisiana, which was selected for the Best of Noise section of the festival.
This time we have a perspective on youth participation in community radio, fairly apt since young people continue to find themselves unwelcome and under threat at 2BLU.
Until recently 4CCR in Cairns, North Queensland had about ten volunteers under the age of 25 but within a matter of a few months that number grew to 80 out of a total of approximately 200 members. This rapid change came about when management adopted an open access policy designed to bridge the generational divide. The station trained and allocated a programming band to year 11 and 12 high school students, as well as some university students. The demand was overwhelming and since then the 4.00-6.00 pm drive time slot has been the province of young people.
Students learn a range of skills including journalism, interviewing, how to navigate the music library, as well as production and presentation techniques. They walk away with a thorough grounding in media skills. From the stations perspective, the initiative has brought more advantages than just giving it new energy. Having young presenters has attracted a whole range of new listeners, and with them, sponsorship opportunities. www.cbonline.org.auIssue 16 28 July 2002
FUNDRAISER GOING AHEAD DESPITE POOR PUBLICITY
We have been assured that despite the meagre publicity, the presentation night for the winners of the Winter Magic Busking Competition is going ahead. The night is organised by 2BLUs Al Goodie as a fundraiser for the Winter Magic Festival Insurance Fund.
It is likely that some members of the management committee may attend providing an good opportunity for us to get answers to some of the questions management has been dodging for the past months about what is happening at 2BLU and to discuss some of the increasingly serious issues facing the station.
Sharmelle Peterson, who won the Busking competition, is an excellent young singer as those who saw her in the Busking Competition or heard her performing live to air on Francis and Colins programs on 2BLU will be aware. Colin and James did a great job of running the competition on Winter Magic day and the Gearins manager, Phil Sparrow, will be making the presentation to Sharmelle of the $1000 prize he donated. There are several supporting bands.
Everyone involved deserves support so come along (and have your questions ready). It is this Friday night, 2 August in the back room at the Gearin. $5.00 at the door.
MEET & GREET THE CBAA NATIONAL COMMITTEE
Annie Zee attended a recent function presented by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia to meet the peak bodys National Committee. She reports:
Since becoming involved in radio a few or more years ago (but that's another story), I've met some extremely interesting people; sometimes only on the phone, sometimes meeting them personally eventually. I always find it fascinating to meet new people; although we have the same basic body shapes & brains, we are SOOOOOoooo different, aren't we?
Anyway, to cut a long story short, or at least short-er, I went along to a "meet & greet" the National Committee of the CBAA, on Saturday, 20 July, at the CBAA offices, in Alexandria. (I was invited through my connection with CMAGS, which ran the seminar at the AFTRS school recently, that was featured in this newsletter a few weeks back.) In case you don't know it, the Nat. Comm. is also voluntary, chosen from the ranks of community radio, from all over Australia. (I keep being astounded at the amount of work that some people put into community radio, & indeed other voluntary groups.) The Nat. Comm. were having a meeting, hence the "meet & greet" afterwards.
At the get-together were people from all over the country; people from different aspects of community radio, as well as community TV. David Melzer, the President of the NC, was very interesting to talk to, as was Lane Blume & others that I was lucky enough to meet. There were also a few 2BLU people, which is what will probably interest the readers of this newsletter more. I met Maureen Miller, Al Goodie, John Franks and a couple of others whose names I didn't remember. Sometimes I'm remarkably unobservant! I'm told since then, that Daniel Soler was there, but alas, didn't see him, either. Have spoken to Daniel only on the phone some time back.
It was interesting to meet the 2BLU people because I already know Tom Lovett (through our common interest in folk & associated music), Louisiana the Crazy Cajun (again through music, Cajun & bluegrass ). Ken Quinnell I met recently at the "Get Wicked On The Mic" seminar held at the Australian Film Television and Radio School, although we had met by email, before that. Both Stan & I met Brian Mackellar when we went to guest on Louisianas program, one time when Lou had to go to hospital. I'd known Harry Stewart when he was presenting at both 2BLU & Hawkesbury Radio; a lovely person who tragically lost his partner, Jenny, to illness.
A friend of mine has just begun a program at 2BLU. Graeme Robinson is alternating with Don Allen, on Saturday nights, with a bluegrass and country program, "Late Night Radio Bluegrass & Country", 10.00 pm till midnight. Graeme used to join me on "Good Morning Country", as practice for him. Speaking of "Good Morning Country", it's a part of 2BLU's regular programming from the CBAA satellite sustaining service, from 5 to 9 am each weekday morning, although BLU takes it only until 7 am. A country music-based breakfast program, that also has many rural segments like Rural Commerce Report, Livestock Roundup, & Rural Outlook. The music generally runs the whole gamut of CM, from old classics right through to contemporary CM, to even a touch of folk & bluegrass! There are 5 presenters, of which I'm one (Tuesday). The others are Peter Stapleton, Jeff Dunn, Bob Spence & Bill Beerens.
Another part of the CBAA sustaining service that 2BLU is currently taking, is on Friday morning, 2.00 to 3.00 am, Bluegrass With A Touch Of Spice, hosted by yours truly, Annie Zee.
My home station is Hawkesbury Radio, where I present The Blue Side, soft acoustic blues & roots, etc, from 10 pm to midnight Friday, with Bluegrass With A Touch Of Spice from midnight Friday to 3 am Saturday.
The minutes of the last 2BL management meeting have been put up on the station's noticeboard and they make interesting reading. First the specific date of the meeting is missing - they are headed "July". This is either a mistake or mangement discussed arrangements for the Winter Magic OB and Busking Compitition after they happened! The minutes are more like those of an organising sub-committee for the Winter Magic day. Management, such as it is, at 2BLU is increasingly done behind closed doors and off the record. Committee meetings deal mostly with trivialities. Major decisions are not given the legal endorsement of being minuted in the station's records. We note that Bob Kemnitz suggested that the committee have a regular meeting date and time but this has already been ingored. Good try, Bob, better luck next time!
Although several readers have written to say that comparing 2BLU with other community radio stations is a discouraging, even depressing experience, we thought this item about the way community news is handled in Taree might provide a bit of inspiration for the future, might awaken in some that sense that improvement at 2BLU is actually possible.
2BOB-FM is Tarees community radio station. Every weekday morning from 5.00 am for the past eleven years Eric Quinn, the stations chairman, country music presenter, breakfast presenter and news director, puts together a local news bulletin to follow National Radio News at seven. The bulletin is re-run at eight oclock and the stories provide the basis for more in depth interviews on the station's Midday Magazine program. A local year 10 student assists Eric one day a week, but most of the time hes on his own in the newsroom. Eric is a retired schoolteacher who has a commitment to the local community that is shared by his station and a determination not to waste his retirement years in stagnation. www.cbonline.org.au
Issue 15 24 July 2002
SOUNDSCAPES IN THE MOUNTAINS
Phil Williams is a 2BLU presenter with an interest in the increasingly popular and fascinating art of creating soundscapes. Phil plays soundscapes created by audio artists from the Blue Mountains and across Australia from time to time on his program Flotation Tank, Saturdays, 2.00-4.00 pm.
The term soundscape, as coined I believe by R. Murray Shaffer author of The Tuning of the World, describes the audible aspects of an environment, as landscape describes the visual. The term is more often used however in broad relation to Sound Art or Experimental Music. Since Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry began composing with tape machines instead of instruments in the late 1940s the relationship between music and sound has been under question.
You could say that the aim of sound artists is to encourage their audience to listen intently, and to continue listening after the performance/recording is finished. The displacement of recording is put to use to create new sounds, severed not only from instruments but from any source, any action - sounds are used and processed for specific qualities of pure sound, and arranged to create a sense of space, an emotional response, a soundscape.
My involvement with soundscapes began during my first year of study in Fine Arts in 1996, but it was not until three years later that I had the opportunity to further explore the production of soundscapes, and since then it has become my main medium of artistic expression, utilising DATs, minidiscs, reel to reels and computer software to record, arrange and produce what I can only describe as abstract, evocative soundscapes.
I have performed in collaboration with Andrew Gadow under the name PA on three occasions on Radio Alice, which is broadcast on 2SER 107.3 FM on Tuesday, 11:30 pm-1:30 am and at Field 2 earlier this year at UWS, as well as various other performances around UWS as a solo performer and in collaboration with other students.
Andrew and I are currently looking into organising a regular night of experimental musics soon in the mountains, so stay tuned.
2BLU RADIO DRAMA GROUP RESURRECTED
Brian Mackellar has joined the newly revived Radio Drama Group at 2BLU Brian is co-presenter of Everything Is Nice on 2BLU on Thursdays 8.00-10.00 pm. We asked him to report on the Groups first meeting.
A meeting of the Radio Drama Group was held on Saturday 13 July in Studio B. This is not a committee, but an informal group of 2BLU members interested in creating radio drama.
It was emphasised that any member can direct, perform, or record works autonomously. Ideally, one person comes forward with a 'creative concept' and acts as 'director' of that project. The director organises performers, technical people, sound effects, music, etc., and has final say creatively and practically during recording. As 'co-ordinator', Betty Chialvo has quality-control responsibilities, ensuring technical quality, and that defamation laws, etc. aren't broken.
For those interested in being trained as panel-operators/sound engineers, John Franks will do this in groups of approximately three. This training will begin when the mixing desk from Studio B returns from being repaired. It is unclear whether this will include training on the AudioDesk audio editing software that runs on the iMac or just the mixing-desk and mini-disc. To book Studio B (for rehearsals, recordings, etc.) write the time in the right-hand column of the signing-in book in the foyer. It is unclear at this stage who to contact to ensure Studio B is unlocked when needed.
The type of projects given preference will be dramas/thrillers, preferably established, easily-understood and most importantly, well read. (This should ensure performer confidence and listener attention). Poetry and short stories are not encouraged, as it is difficult for one performer to sustain the listener's interest. A reader must have a dynamic and versatile voice to do good solo reads. Projects should be 15 minutes maximum, and larger projects can be broken into several 'episodes'. A Radio Drama timeslot will eventually be allocated, however, until then, pieces will be played either at the beginning or end of Betty's program (Entertainment This Week, 11.00 am-2.00 pm, Fridays).
The next meeting of the drama group will probably be Saturday, 3 August. The first project will be recording readings of the poetry of Henry Lawson, to take place Saturday, 10 August. Full marks to Betty and John for getting the Drama Group back up and running. The management committee could learn a thing or two from them: creating a positive energy and warmth amongst members, encouraging people to join 2BLU and to become actively involved, creatively and technically. Open-access is the key. This was emphasised at the meeting. It just remains to be seen whether or not the committee allows it to be put into practice.
The Drama Group has huge potential in the future of 2BLU, not only for the recording of traditional radio drama in the short term, but also further down the track, more contemporary, progressive, and experimental works (especially in the burgeoning areas of soundscape, 'performance-poetry', and sound-art). To become involved in the Radio Drama Group, leave a message for Betty in pigeonhole 6 at 2BLU.
If you would like to know more about soundscapes and soundscape artists here in Australia the Clan Analogue website is a good place to start. Heres why:
Clan Analogue is a collective of electronic sound composers, visual artists, coders, djs, video artists, writers and designers. Clan is a diverse group working in sound design, video, live events, publishing, internet and broadcasting.
The collective was started in Sydney about ten years ago by a small group of people who were interested and active in electronic sound. Largely fuelled by the lack of live venues in Australia for electronic music and a lack of options for releasing recorded material, Clan Analogue was born out of necessity. This small group who were eager to swap tapes of each others compositions at meetings has spawned Australia's longest running and innovative electronic arts and sound collective.
It aims to allow artists to produce work free of the constraints of the commercial music industry by developing self-funded, artist initiated recording and publishing projects. This 'do it yourself' philosophy encourages the direct transmission of the artist's works to the listener. Clan members traverse boundaries between sound, visual and written work as the collective explores both traditional and new media forms.
Clan members maintain web sites throughout Australia that are regularly updated with graphics, audio and animations. Members produce regular radio programmes and live events that maintain a constant presence of original and innovative electronica in the public headspace. www.clananalogue.org/
We received positive responses from many readers to our items about happenings at community radio stations in Hay and Bordertown in recent issues. They were keen to see what a community radio station run by volunteers can achieve with a little bit of imagination and some organisation and planning. We have decided to run series of items along these lines over the next few months under the heading PERSPECTIVE.
2AAA, the community radio station in Wagga, is always on the lookout for ways to bring their community closer together. They see the increasing failure of networked commercial radio to meet community needs as an opportunity to build audience and forge local ties. They recently used a "work for the dole" grant from Mission Employment to build an outside broadcast van. They do OBs from their annual show, TAFE orientation day and, regularly, from local schools. In conjunction with local High Schools they run training in writing, production and prsenting as part of the English curriculum. www.cbonline.org.au
(PS: Last issue we reported that a committee member at HAY-FM was skydiving to raise finds for his station. Ken sent us the following: Did you hear about the 2BLU committee member who went skydiving? He missed the earth!)Issue 14 - 21 July 2002
R A D I O A C T I V E ! Local Music Issue
A close bond usually develops between local radio and local music. In most stations with a commitment to local music, this is between the station itself and the music community. At others, such as 2BLU, it tends to be between individual special music presenters and local musicians from their preferred genre.
The reason this bond is important is because community radio has an important role to play in fostering local culture and local music in particular. Commercial AM and FM networks simply do not get behind, promote, or above all, give air-play and interview time to unsigned bands or to any music outside the mainstream rock and pop genres.
This is why the enthusiastic volunteer presenters on community radio with their passion and belief in what they select to play and providing accesses to listeners with an interest in their particular style of music are invaluable.
Community radio is usually the only effective medium for new, emerging and unsigned musicians to promote their independently produced CDs on air. It offers a chance for musicians to discuss aspects of performance and recording and an opportunity to promote their work, especially their upcoming gigs.
Community radio also offers a relaxed and informal studio atmosphere, which helps musicians feel at ease when discussing their work and performing on air. There are no hard-hitting interviewing techniques or high-pressure time restraints.
On community radio - particularly on the special music programs of a station like 2BLU - a musician is reaching hundreds of local people and many of them are aficionados of the particular style of music they play.
So, the special music presenters on community radio, unlike their commercial counterparts, can, and will, promote and support local music. They provide them with an opportunity to be heard by a wider audience, and they give encouragement to music-makers who often have no other options to promote their work.
www.amrap.org PROMOTES LOCAL MUSIC
If you are a special music presenter and you have not yet looked at the AMRAP website, then it's about time you did. It is a mine of extremely useful information about new Australian music.
As well as information about the AMRAP organization and the services it offerers both musicians and community radio stations, you will find details of their newly distributed CDs, which are in the 2BLU music library. Most are also reviewed in detail on the site.
There is an e-mail newsletter you can subscribe to, an FAQ page, heaps of useful links and resources and an extremely pertinent feature - the Recommended Listening page. You can register with AMRAP to list Australian tracks that you believe to be of exceptional interest. Of course, Ken and James are already listing their favourite tracks - sm*rt b*st*rds!
There are not many community radio presenters making recommendations at the moment - it has only been operating for a few weeks - but it is building rapidly. It is simply a matter of selecting your preferred genre of music and entering details of your program and contact information. By registering you also receive the AMRAP members newsletter, which contains more information than the general AMRAP newsletter. And, it's also good publicity for your program, of course. Check it out. www.amrap.com
Incidentally, the music library at 2BLU which houses the newly distributed AMRAP CD along with those sent directly by local musicians will hopefully become somewhat more accessible now John Grinter has taken over as office coordinator. John is in the office Monday-Friday, 9.00-11.00 am. To arrange to borrow CDs, drop in to see him during these times, or call and leave a message for him on the office number - 4782 9286.
RANDOM GROOVE AND LOCAL MUSIC
On 2BLU on Mondays, 8.00-10.00 pm Francis Dutton presents Random Groove, a program that has had many local musicians as guests over the years. Francis writes:
Random Groove has a proud history of featuring local artists on the program. In fact by far the largest portion of our Australian content is of local origin. Back in 1997 it was Al Meadows and his combo Three Left Feet. Al was on the program again earlier this year with Al Ward and Jim Jarvis. Jim's also been on the show with his wife Mina & fiddle-playing daughter Bethany.
More recently we've been promoting the various artists associated with the Solla Sollew gigs at the Gearin Hotel. Alstee, Ben Gilholme from Blackbored Bear, Halitus & Tim Malfroy. Tim and I share a passion for the music recorded by Alan Lomax in the 1940s in the American Deep South, and I hope to have him back on the show soon doing some of his new stuff.
Speaking of Alan Lomax (who died on Friday, aged 87), coming up on the July 29, Gypsy music fan Nigel Glassey and I will be doing a tribute to Lomax's European sojourns. Nigel plays with various Gypsy Music outfits, and he's promised to see if he can organize one of his colleagues to accompany him live on the show.
The great thing is I've never felt I was compromising the dauntingly high standards we have at Random Groove by having local musicians on the show - quite the reverse. I sometimes imagine a future where people are impressed by the fact that we had some of these musicians on the show at the start of their careers!
LOCAL MUSIC EMPIRE EXPANDS
Brian and James have had great success in building up their program Everything Is Nice (2BLU, Thursday, 8.00-10.00 pm) and their Nice Noize Demo Comp and WYSIWYG nights. Rumour has it, are about to take over the monthly Solla Sollew gigs at the Gearin Hotel (you read it first in Radio Outreach). This is great news for local musicians who will benefit from the exposure. However, the question remains - How do they do it? Brian and James write:
The Nice Noize Demo Competition is fast approaching its closing date, which is the end of this month. Already we have been besieged with entries and they just keep coming in. So, if you haven't already sent your demo in then now is the time. We have received entries from all over Sydney this year as well as the Blue Mountains, as the Nice Noize Demo Competition builds as one of the best demo competitions around. So please, for any presenters out there, plug it to death. There is only 10 days left.
Every Tuesday night is WYSIWYG, which is an open mic night that has a cosy atmosphere and where you can see some of the best musicians in the mountains 'up close and personal'. Now in its 5th week it is slowly gaining momentum. There's simple vegetarian food, no smoking, log fire and tea and coffee. And for those who like a drink, you can get drinks form the bar. This week we gave a special guest - lower mountains musician Aiden Roberts. Aiden was musical director of the stage musical of David Bowie's life last year and a previous winner of our Nice Noize Demo Competition. He is one of the Mountain's more creative and hardworking musicians so come along this Tuesday night at 7.00 pm. You never know who may drop in!
STUDIO COMPUTER AND ACCESS TO NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSIC
Ken Quinnell attended the training session last Sunday at 2BLU to see the Maximation software demonstrated.
The session was not as well attended as I had anticipated. The software developer, Maxwell, conducted the session in a spirited, lucid and concise way. Maximation is much more poerful, user-friendly and stable than the previous shareware program that 2BLU was using but, for presenters, it is similiar enough in its basics to pick up readily.
As well as replacing running sheets (eventually) and providing fully automating news crosses it will house a great deal of music. Most of this music will be past Top 40 stuff from USA and Britain but, eventually it will have on it the Australian music from the 2BLU music library and new music from AMRAP delivered over the Playthings Digital Delivery Network. The main problem for presenters is going to be accessing this new music to listen to it before scheduling it in their playlists.
Still, nothing seems likely to happen very quickly. The Playthings DDN roll out has been delayed. There is no one at 2BLU with the requisite computer skills to get it running and get training happening for everyone. An upgraded version and several patches had not been loaded in time for the training session so some features could not be demonstrated.
Some excellent features of the program are that it can be tailored to meet our specific needs and it works in conjunction with Bluegum scheduling and other software (which 2BLU does not have but will need to consider for the future).The documentation is straightforward, well illustrated and thorough. The average presenter needs to be familiar with only a small section of the manual. As they say, it won't happen immediately but it will happen.
SKANKIN' REVIEW FROM AMRAP
On her program Lucinda plays Australian music in the punk and ska genre and she does a great job of promoting local bands. She also runs regular gigs at local venues. Lucinda has produced several compilation CDs of her own, which were marketed under the Salubrious Melodies name. Recently she compiled and produced Skankin' a compilation CD for 2BLU. Here is the review from the AMRAP website:
From the Salubrious Melodies program on 89.1 FM in the Blue Mountains comes a great compilation of 17 Australian punk and ska bands. While Area 7, the Living End and Bodyjar may have risen into limelight in recent years, the scene that they originally sprung from is still as strong as ever. This compilation brings together bands from all over the place, and represents the great variety in the underground punk and ska scene.
The compilation starts with ska, represented by such bands as Little More Than You and Addiction 64. The major highlight is Bagster's track called "8 o'clock", with its infectious brass stabs and deep bass. It's fast passed and loud, contrasting nicely with the following track of laid back ska called "No or Never" by Rubix Cuba, all bouncy guitar, quieting into a slow and reflective bridge before cranking the guitars up.
Like most Australian ska and punk, the lyrics and feel of each track change dramatically between tracks. It's a mixture of anger, angst, cheekiness and carefree. Serious topics are broached, like Commissioner Gordon's "Volvo Drivers", an inner city tale of the salvation of a street girl. At the other end of the spectrum, punkster Neveready give us "3 chord", a brilliantly funny dig at the commercial punk sound of Green Day and Blink 182. Brisbane's Gazoonga Attack cranks the guitars up as the girls sneer and scream their way through their song of freedom, "Cinderella", which is as good as anything that Nitocris ever did.
This is a brilliant introduction to one of Australia's strongest music scenes. For any stations already playing the commercial hits of Area 7, or even Blink 182 and the rest, this is a great place to start if you wish to explore further punk's current grass roots. And those already fan's will be Skakin' into the night!
Reviewed by Garry McKenzie, TUNE!
Reprinted from the www.amrap.org website with permission. July 13, 2002.
SHARMELLE AT 2BLU FUNDRAISER
Sharmelle Peterson is a young singer and songwriter who won first prize in the Winter Mage Festival Busking Comp organised by Colin and James. She was extremely impressive when she performed live to air and chatted to Francis and Colin on Random Groove. She is scheduled to appear at a performance and presentation night at the Gearin Hotel on 2 August. She is also expected to be performing at Brian and James's WYSIWYG gig in the near future. On Sharmelle's website you can listen to her music: www.sharmelle.com
HEY, HEY FOR HAY!
We reported the difficulties at HAY-FM last time. Their crisis meeting during the week elected a new committee. Station manager Airlie Circuitt says theyare already moving towards solving their problems. "One of our new Management Committee members, Rob Nesbit, has offered to sky dive out of a plane to raise funds and has already got over $1000. SkyDiveOz has also donated his plane ride. It's a wonderful effort and an indication about how our listeners feel about us - pretty special isn't it!" she says. Good news for Airlie and everyone at HAY-FM ... 2BLU is next in the queue.
Issue 13 - 15 July 2002
COOL COUNTRY GEARS UP FOR FEDERAL COURT CHALLENGE AFTER COMPLAINT TO ACA LODGED AND AIR-FM TO APPEAL ABA DETERMINATION OF 'VEXATIOUS AND FRIVOLOUS' COMPLAINT
The complaint lodged with the Australian Communications Authority against Cool Country 88.0 FM is hotting up. It is still not confirmed who made the complaint, which is directed at both the Katoomba and Glenbrook transmitters, but 2BLU management has not expressed support for Cool Country in the way that AIR FM has.
Mike Bedford, the proprietor of Cool Country, is an old friend of 2BLU. Mike came to the rescue about three years ago when 2BLU had a serious transmitter problem - indeed he came up to the mountains himself to fix it.
Whoever lodged this complaint made no attempt to discuss the issues with Cool Country beforehand. There is no legal requirement to do this but it is something you would expect from a good citizen.
A Freedom of Information application has failed to determine the identity of the complainant. However, this will undoubtedly become known when discovery occurs for the hearing. Undoubtedly, the complainant will be subpoenaed to appear.
In the meantime, Cool Country's Katoomba transmitter is temporarily shut down while engineers carry out interference testing. At 88.00 MHz on the dial they are extremely close to 2RDJ on 88.1 MHz. It is this close proximity to a more powerful transmission that led to their increase in power. It is needed to drive 2RDJ out of their designated broadcast area. When Katoomba is back on air, Glenbrook will be closed down for testing.
Incidentally, Mike Bedford reports that Cool Country enjoys good relations with 2RDJ and they work out any problems that occur between themselves. Mike has a background in community radio having helped establish and build up AIR-FM in Penrith.
LPON (Low Power Open Narrowcasting) stations across the country will be watching this case closely, especially if a community station is revealed as the complainant. Community stations lodge a large number of complaints against LPON stations and Cool Country will have strong support in their intention to mount this as a test case.
The case will go first to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and then to the Federal Court. If the court finds the complaint to be vexatious, it will leave the way open for a damages claim against the complainant. There can be no doubting Mike Bedford's determination to see this through.
AIR-FM has also been subjected to a complaint, which has been adjudicated by the authorities. A former disaffected member of a Penrith community station lodged what AIR-FM describes as "a vexatious and frivolous complaint" against them with the ABA.
"The ABA's report published last week is substantially wrong at law," says Brian Wilson of AIR-FM. "As well as appellant action by AIR, the matter of the frivolous complaints against AIR & Cool Country are now being fully investigated by the Minister for Communications.
"The poorly prepared complaint against AIR was written over a year ago by a western Sydney solicitor who is well known to the ABA as a result of his consistent vexatious complaints against a number of stations. A second version of the complaint was signed by the former President of the community station who has since advised he did not fully understand what he was signing.
"AIR has had a number of discussions with the Minister's Advisor and it is expected that resolution can be achieved without the intervention of the Courts. AIR's Katoomba roll out is unaffected by these nuisance complaints," says Brian.
Cool Country is a successful small business, run in an efficient and business-like way. The station's country music format in no way competes with local broadcasters and they have no interest in selling advertising in the local community, broadcasting as they do across the whole of Greater Sydney.
If they are not the originators of the complaint, then there is no reason why 2BLU, like AIR 877 and the Friends of Community Radio, cannot show some solidarity with Cool Country.
If they are the complainants then they should sit down immediately with Cool Country and come to a compromise before 2BLU, not to mention the management committee members themselves, are destroyed by unnecessary and costly legal proceedings.
In the meantime, the forthcoming Annual General Meeting offers the only hope for ordinary members to save what is left of 2BLU and try to get training, publicity, programming, production, sponsorship, fundraising and other key aspects of the station's administration back on track.
(Incidentally, in our original report in Issue 11 we inadvertently said the Cool Country complaint was lodged with the Australian Broadcasting Authority - it is in fact the Australian Communications Authority that has jurisdiction.
Senator Alston's office advises that the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts is considering a move to amalgamate the two bodies.)
E-MAIL FROM GARTH
Guys, just wanted to give you some feedback on your e-zine ... it's awesome. It's informative, concise, humorous and witty. Keep up the great work; hopefully in the not too distant future this will be the publication that will encompass the entire 2BLU group. I look forward to reading it each week and being kept up-to-date ... on ya !!!!! - GARTH McMURTRIE
HAY COMMUNITY STATION IN CRISIS
Community station HAY-FM, in the Western NSW town of Hay, is in a serious crisis for a variety of reasons - massive debt, BAS payment, drought, declining sponsorship, declining membership and lack of volunteers.
Read an interesting interview with the station manager Airlie Circuitt in the AMT On-line Newsletter: Asked if the board (management committee) is the problem she, diplomatically, says, " I think we need a different kind of board to help us through this stage. That's what I'll be hoping happens at the AGM next week." It's easy to commiserate. Read the interview at: www.amt.org.au/news.htm
Next issue of Radio Outreach
Local Music & Radio Drama Special
Radio Outreach welcomes comment, e-mails, articles and feedback for publication. Previous issues of Radio Outreach can be found on our website along with a Guide to Highlight Programs on 2BLU-FM. http://bluemtsmedia.tripod.com
Issue 12 - 10 July 2002
JAIL SENTENCE FOR 2BLU TRAINING CO-ORDINATOR
Reay Andersson was co-opted by the management committee as Training Co-ordinator earlier this year. The following item is reprinted from today's Blue Mountains Gazette:
"Blackheath resident Reay Andersson was sentenced to 12 months jail on two counts of driving while disqualified.
"The 53-year-old chef, who has been in custody before appearing in Katoomba Local Court on June 26, was also fined $1000 for using an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.
"Mr Andersson has been disqualified from driving until December 2009 and has an extensive court history.
"He will be in jail unit June 13, 2003."
Reay was so pleased with the Gazette's coverage of a previous court appearance he came to the 2BLU studio the following day to ensure it was included in the Talking Newspaper. The management committee has not announced a replacement for the training position.
LETTER TO GAZETTE
The following letter appeared in the same issue of the Blue Mountains Gazette under the heading "Amateurish":
"I have been following the reports of a new radio station opening up in Katoomba and I thought I would just put on 2BLU to see what it was doing these days.
"It was Friday afternoon about 6 o'clock and there were two men and a woman on air. You could hear both the men all right but not the woman. It seemed like her microphone was not switched on.
"The program was extremely amateurish and self-indulgent so it is no surprising that we were unable to hear one of the people talking but it went on for ages until I just turned off in disgust.
"This sort of uselessness must be what makes everyone so pleased we are going to get a station that seems to take things a lot more seriously.
- DEL CARTER Katoomba"
Several Friends have reported to us that the presenters involved in this incident were Daniel Soler (President, Fundraising Coordinator and Sponsorship Representative), Maureen Miller (who seems to be a member of a management appointed Program Committee) and Brian Edmonds.
NEW MUSIC FROM AMRAP
Gizzmo - 21 tracks of exceptionally good electronica from 4ZZZ in Brisbane. If you cannot access the 2BLU library copy you can download it from MP3.com.au
Music That Will Floor You - independently produced compilation by TasMusic covering most contemporary genres from "heavy rock edged funk, splashed with a bit of electronica".
OTC Live - a three CD set of contemporary jazz recorded live by Sydney's 2SER's On The Corner (OTC) team over the past four years and broadcast on their program.
These CDs have been received by 2BLU-FM.
JUST ANOTHER PHONE INTERVIEW
Next time you are feeling annoyed at not being permitted to conduct a telephone interview at 2BLU, think about 5TCB-FM, the community station in the tiny township of Bordertown in South Australia. A few weeks ago Grade 5 students from the local primary school interviewed astronauts aboard the International Space Station as it passed above their state. Then you'll feel really pissed off.
Full details and excerpts from this historic 5TCB broadcast are on the station's web-site www.5tcbfm.org.au
SECTOR 30 YEARS OLD
When the first community radio station in Australia was licenced on 29 June 1972 platform shoes, flared trousers, kaftans, and crochet pants suits were the height of fashion. For some great photos of the celebrations at 5UV in Adelaide and a fashion flashback visit the CBAA website at www.cbaa.org.au
5UV's excellent website is www.edu.au/5uv/
We are pleased to report that our website is attracting between 50 and 60 hits each week. On it you'll find all back issues of Radio Outreach and a guide to the Highlight Programs on 2BLU. http://bluemtsmadia.tripod.com
Contributions to Radio Outreach are welcome - let it all hang out, there is no editorial censorship. also, if something special is coming up on your program or you have an event that deserves publiciy, let us know.
Issue 11 - 8 July 2002
COMPLAINT AGAINST COOL COUNTRY LODGED WITH THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING AUTHORITY
A complaint has been lodged with the ABA about Cool Country 88 FM, a low power open narrowcasting station that transmits from Katoomba Street. The station is part of small network of commercial LPON stations covering western Sydney as well as streaming on the Internet.
It is unclear just who lodged the complaint. Since the complaint is, in substance, that Cool Country is exceeding its licensed transmission power, it would appear to come from another broadcaster. Cool Country's licence seems to allow the station to exceed the usual power limits on LPON stations, a situation that possibly arose from its proximity on the dial to a more powerful station that encroaches on its footprint.
AIR 877 has denied it is the complainant and made it clear what they think of this sort of behaviour. AIR condemned the complaint and supported Cool Country. We have not had a response on the issue from 2BLU but our enquiries continue. Let's just hope it doesn't turn out to be the opening salvo in the Katoomba Radio War.
SWITCHED OFF POWER
The Integral Energy program Switched On Power is off air leaving a $100 a week funding gap for 2BLU which sold the airtime. It is not clear whether this is a permanent situation. John Ross, who was the program's originator and presenter, has left the energy provider. Whether Integral will be able to find someone with John's skills, commitment and knowledge as a replacement remains to be seen. The worst-case scenario is that it becomes a mindless PR exercise for Integral.
In the meantime, the satellite service is presenting the Aussie Hour, which is a fillip for 2BU and its increasing failure to meet its 20% Australian music content. Ninety percent of the provision of Australian music is from members of the Friends of Community Radio, who achieve their quota and beyond without proper access to the studio's music library.
NEW MUSIC FROM AMRAP
The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project distributes CDs to community broadcasting station across the country. It is not easy to gain access to this music at 2BLU but it is usually worth the effort. Here are some CDs recently distributed:
Roots of Rhythm is a fine compilation of six Melbourne-based world music groups from Greek, Kurdish, Mauritian, Moroccan, Paraguayan, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean musical cultures.
Radio Underdogs presents 16 emerging rock/pop bands from around the country that were nominated for inclusion by the community radio stations that support them.
Depth Charge is a compilation of the wide range of music supported by 5DDD (or Three D) in Adelaide.
David Brownlee is in the office at 2BLU a couple of mornings each week and if you are a 2BLU presenter he will arrange access - you can leave a message for him on 4782 9286. There is more information about these CD and others on the AMRAP web site www.amrap.org
PETE SEEGER TRIBUTE NIGHT A TRIUMPH
Congratulations to Louisiana for a great night of music and camaraderie last Saturday night - the best that Katoomba has seen for quite a long while. It is rare to see an audience enjoy music so much. Nobody wanted to go home!
The event was quite an organisational effort and the remarkable thing is Louisiana did it all by herself, despite being in hospital for almost two weeks in the lead up to the event. Well done, Louisiana. And we can hardly wait for the Woody Guthrie Tribute Night!
Issue 10 - 7 July 2002
In this issue: Friends Meeting Hears Full and Frank Revelation of AIR 877 FM's Present Operations and Future Vision; Sister City Emergency Radio Coverage; Manual of Broadcast Journalism; REPORT OF MEETING - Wither AIR-FM?
FRIENDS MEETING HEARS FULL & FRANK REVELATION OF AIR 877 FM'S PRESENT OPERATIONS AND FUTURE VISION
Our meeting last night to hear Brian Wilson, Liaison Director, AIR 877 FM, speak was extremely well attended and the discussion proved to be lively and stimulating.
Brian gave us an outline of the general approach to broadcasting taken by AIR and the legislative restrictions on its service. He made clarified how AIR and 2BLU can complement each other's service to provide real choice for listeners.
AIR is "commercialising" and moving away from the traditional model of community broadcasting where presenters "own" their individual programs and reject engagement with the community and with the station as a whole.
Our report on the meeting appears is later in this issue.
SISTER CITY EMERGENCY RADIO COVERAGE
At our meeting last night, there was a great deal of interest in the failure of the media and the Rural Fire Service's media communications unit to identify and meet the needs of the local community in terms of information about the crisis. It is interesting to compare the experience of Flagstaff, Arizona, our sister city in America. The state has been engulfed by out=of-control bushfires and the public radio station in flagstaff has been doing a great job of covering the disaster. The station is KNAU and its website not only has a great deal of text information, it has RealAudio streaming of their coverage, including archives. www.knauradio.com
MANUAL FOR BROADCAST JOURNALISM
"The Australian Broadcast Journalism Manual" by Gail Phillips and Mia Lindgren appeared a few weeks ago, published by Oxford University Press. The book approaches broadcast journalism via the thoughts and experiences of practising journalists in radio and television and on the web.
The authors take radio as the starting point to introduce to the basic skills required for news, features, and live talk-radio production. They then move on to show how these skills can be adapted to television and online broadcast news production.
The book is intended as a comprehensive text that is suitable for both introductory and advanced courses of study. It is also suitable for those who simply wish to acquire an understanding of the subject. The companion CD contains examples of the work of practising journalists.
Gail Phillips is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies and Head of the School of Media Communication & Culture at Murdoch University and Mia Lindgren is Lecturer in Radio and Television, Media Studies program, Murdoch University. Both have extensive experience as working journalists.
Postscript: By far the best overall guide to radio presentation and production is "Making Radio" by Steve Ahern who is Head of Radio at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.
Our guest, Brian Wilson who is Liaison director of AIR877, told how the station had grown from a aspirant community radio station into a low power open narrowcasting licence-holder and acknowledged the contribution of past volunteers in building the station. The station is in the processes of "commercialising" - its members will become shareholders. The station is intending to broadcast across the region - the Hawkesbury, Penrith and the Mountains.
He reviewed the history of broadcasting in the mountains - the transformation of the commercial station 2KA, which broadcast from a studio in Katoomba Street, into a Penrith-based station and subsequently into station ONE-FM and finally 96.1 aimed at the youth market Sydney-wide.
The Australian Broadcasting Authority's decision to shrink the number of licences in the Mountains, despite its rapidly growing population was discussed.
Brian spoke about AIR's close links with the University of Western Sydney's School of Journalism and their success in launching careers for many graduates in broadcast journalism.
Brian pointed out that three networks control mainstream commercial radio in Sydney and networking considerations therefore constrain the information the community gets.
The example used was the Christmas bushfires when AIR provided coverage to other stations that they tailored to national, state and Sydney-wide needs. At the local level they were able to report on what was happening at specific locations.
He said that in just the past few weeks the Sate Emergency Services and Rural Fire Service have realised their media communications model is in need of a complete overhaul, which has meant completely inverting their model so the information needs of local communities that are under immediate threat take priority over generalised national coverage.
In terms of its overall broadcasting performance, Brian reiterated that AIR is greatly restricted in the service it can provide and so will not be going into head-to-head competition with community station like WOW-FM, 2BLU or Hawkesbury Radio. He said that a strong community radio sector is needed to fill the areas AIR cannot.
He was critical of the "them and us" mentality that has gripped some in community radio stations and emphasised that during the Christmas bushfires AIR made their coverage freely available to community radio stations and would do so in any future emergencies.
There was considerable discussion of this, which centred on the ability of community stations to actually provide accurate, responsible and balanced coverage and the ever-present danger of misrepresenting situations and creating panic or unnecessary concern in the community.
AIR's specific aim is to make 877 Katoomba a local information service. Its role by and large is to fill the local area's needs in terms of information in a way that community stations are not doing.
The demographic for AIR is to service people in the 35 plus age groups. This is a restriction of their LPON licence. There was debate about this. While AIR's target audience is the 35 plusers there is strong youth participation in the provision of news coverage and other aspects of station operations.
The two things Brian wanted everyone to take away were, first, AIR is a commercial radio station and, second, AIR doesn't seek to directly compete with local community stations. In fact, quite the opposite - AIR values the diversity of services and believes it is only through that diversity that the region flourishes.
The Katoomba station will be brought on in two stages - the initial stage will be to establish the service by relaying the Penrith service with input from the Blue Mountains. Once the station is established, a studio in Katoomba will be installed in Katoomba. Plans are under way to set up another station at Springwood to provide coverage across the region.
Brian sees the new station as a boon for local business and tourism. Long-term plans are to provide specific services for individual business premises. This means that a café that wants, say, light jazz can have that formatted specifically with the news and community service material from the regular broadcast dropped in.
Brian said that the major change in AIR's on-air activities was to overcome the individual program format - the idea that each presenter owns their timeslots regardless of the needs of the audience and the community (a model still promoted by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia). He described how AIR refers on to community stations program proposals that do not fill their needs.
Brian outlined the AIR program, as it exists at present and how it may change in the future. They are not developing niche markets as community stations do - not meeting the same sort of commitment to diversity and providing an alternative that, at their best, community stations do.
In terms of a timeline for commencement of the Katoomba service, Brian said their original estimate of a few weeks has proved too optimistic. There are many multiple-choice variables for them to work through. Negotiations are well advanced for establishing a new transmitter site.