Radio Rum Jungle, TEABBA and how Aboriginal Student Radio lead to a big bruise on my hand in 2019

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One of many murals on the old Radio Rum Jungle campus; Photo by Rafal Alumairy, Batchelor 2019

This mural was one of many in a place that had evidence of vibrancy and youth everywhere. The space of community radio seems to take on the spirit of its people. Why would you want to hang out anywhere else?

I was visiting the Batchelor Institute to research Radio Rum Jungle. On my lunch break I went for a walk, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a “RADIO” sign.

I exerted some effort to enter the closed grounds, which involved a robust metal gate falling on my hand and the discovery of some bat colonies. I’m really glad my hand took one for the team though because what I’d stumbled on is the abandoned old campus of Radio Rum Jungle.

Radio Rum Jungle is a pioneering Aboriginal radio station based in Batchelor NT (about 2 hrs out of Darwin).

It’s the same place where TEABBA or the Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association began in the early 80s (a big community radio network now based in Darwin, it broadcasts to 29 remote communities in the Top End). Recently RRJ has returned to its home on TEABBA, Batchelor students are now taking over the broadcast all day every Thursday, YEEEESSSSS, tune in on the app or online!

I will have much more to say about this as my research develops, but the successes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in media are friggin amazing and an absolute pleasure to learn about.

I write on this topic as a non Indigenous person because it overlaps with my interest in youth radio, and its history is relevant to youth radio history. It’s unfortunate that no one has ever written a substantial history of RRJ before, but it’s an honour to contribute my research and I hope my modest contribution is a building block to a more thorough history by RRJ, its related communities, and its talented students and alumni.

….. I CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK!!!!!!!!!

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I got interviewed by Arcane Radio Trivia!

You could hardly choose a more appropriate blog to interview me. A very groovy American named Jose asked asked some fantastic, insightful questions about the project and it was a pleasure to be interviewed by a fellow enthusiast. Here’s a link to the interview, and I’d encourage any of my weird radio cohorts to explore the rest of the blog, it’s bloody fantastic!

⬇️⬇️⬇️ LINK TO INTERVIEW ⬇️⬇️⬇️

http://ow.ly/yIK750Djk76

⬆️⬆️⬆️ LINK TO INTERVIEW ⬆️⬆️⬆️

Episode 1 Wrap – The Student Radio History Show

Thank you to everyone so much for tuning in, your feedback and your support for Episode 1 of the Student Radio History Show!

 Episode 1 discusses the pioneering PIRATE RADIO STATIONS of the early 70s in Melbourne, Victoria, and their influence on the radio projects of the future. Like a lot else in the early 70s, these stations were heavily political, and created as protests against the devastating Vietnam War. As Australia’s boldest pirate radio project, the influence of these pirates lived past the Vietnam War and influenced the creation of radical radio 3CR Community Radio and 4ZZZ 

For the majority of the show, I was so nervous I thought I’d die at any moment, and all the positive feedback has swelled my heart today like the Grinch at the end of that one movie.

The show will be podcasted post-haste, and should be available by the end of the week – I will post the link here and on studentradiohistory.com.au once it’s ready to go! The podcast will also include information on 3PR The People’s Radio at Monash University, which was not included in the live broadcast, as well as some extra interview audio.

Thank you to SYN for the platform. Thanks again to Juliet Fox and 3CR Community Radio, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia for use of their audio and archival material, legends!

IMAGE 1 – My very own bit of student radio history, my DIY sign for the show last night, now officially archival material, torn at the corners in my haste to get out on time!

IMAGE 2 – The Age, 28 September 1971. Michael Matteson, Michael Hamel-Green, Tony Dalton and John Scott at the draft sanctuary at Melbourne University.

OUR FIRST INTERVIEW! Student Radio History on ArtSmitten SYN!

Interview with @artsmittensyn @synmedia available here

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ http://ow.ly/AMbA50xjvSs

Great time thank you for having me! A small nervous breakdown prior to the interview was soothed by the gun Executive Producers, and the media blitz officially begins! If you’re a clever media person wanting some amazing content HMU for an interview about the project. The project is totally independent and totally self-published. Get some youth in your life! 🎙️🤘

#studentradio #youthmedia #communityradio #radio #media #attractiveyoungpeople #synmedia #podcast

The Territory FM story

College Capers 1983, DCC student newspaper

1983, Northern Territory. When Darwin Radio was cool 😎

This is a short history of 8TOP or TOP FM. For southerners, TOP refers to the Top End, which is where Darwin is in the Northern Territory, and is also slang for groovy af radio 🎙 Now called Territory FM, 8TOP was started by Darwin Community College in 1980 (now Charles Darwin University). During that decade, TOP FM had a lot of hep cats and cool kids broadcasting alternative shows on campus.

But the station made a series of programming decisions that led to a complete alienation of students today. 👵🏻👴🏻 In 1992 The Big Spit student newspaper asks “When is a community radio station not a community radio station? When it broadcasts John Laws, 2UE news and horse racing for most of the day.”

These questionable program decisions stacked up in all corners of TOP FM over the years. In correlation, student involvement rapidly reduced from passionate volunteers, to students only completing required components of the journalism course, to virtually no student or youth involvement today. 👎

In 1993, the University and TOP FM added insult to injury. Journalism students had already found themselves disenfranchised as the journalism course was set to be discontinued in 1994. While these students were still studying, works began for parts of the journalism department to be demolished for construction on new TAB studios for TOP FM. This unabashed embrace of corporate content over original youth content never ended. Today, Territory openly broadcasts a “commercial format”. The station management insist they have to go commercial in order to survive financially. Much of the responsibility for this lies at the feet of the university, who shifted gears for 8TOP in the 90s to increase the focus on “sponsorship” and “self-sufficiency”, apparently institutional code words for selling out! 💰💰💰

The move into commercial and politically conservative formatting is clearly a concern for community broadcasters. One wonders, what’s the point of having a community broadcaster if it doesn’t provide diverse, original, alternative content?

But to what extent can we be critical of the struggling station for these decisions to “survive”? It’s easy to criticise, but what other choice was there? Is it our responsibility in bigger cities to support less resourced stations, despite our own financial concerns? Is there a point to community radio if it isn’t alternative? And is alternative content inherently associated with young people? 🤔

If you’re interested in these questions, find out more when A History of Student Radio in Australia is released in 2020, documenting this part of Australian history for the first time. 📻💃🏾🕺🏽🎉

#studentradio #studentmedia #communityradio #independentmusic #alternativemusic #journalism #independentjournalism #radio #broadcasting #independentpublishing #independentscholarship #communityhistory #youthradio #youthmedia #youtharts #studentunion #charlesdarwinuniversity