Young people @3KND tell me how to make AYPMR an inclusive place for them

“Gen Y standing awkwardly next to Gen Z” would be a good name for the book! – @3KNDradio Melbourne’s Indigenous Radio Station

Me – My name is Rafal Alumairy, I’m an Arabic woman. I was born in Libya, my family is from Iraq, I moved to Australia when I was four and I grew up with Western and Islamic culture.

It was fantastic visiting 3KND Kool ‘N’ Deadly last Thursday to speak to the groovy young people there to ask their advice.

The station manager G-MAN explained that it was polite to introduce myself when I speak to Indigenous people and explain what my roots are, in the manner I did above. This felt amazingly natural although it may take getting used to – it feels wonderful to acknowledge my own identity and I’ll be doing that from now on.

The Zoomers at 3KND were very generous with their time and ideas, and their insightful comments are still going around in my head. A number of things came out of the meeting which I will post about in the near future. I’m really pleased to welcome these radio young people to the Facebook group. I hope that I live up to my promise of making the group not just safe, but a good time and a valuable resource – I’m bloody optimistic!

Over the next few weeks I will be reaching out to other Indigenous radio stations with the same intention. If they are willing to give me their time, I’ll be asking the young people there what their opinions are about young people in radio and how to create an inclusive student radio future.
As I’ve expressed a million times before, I don’t think there is a point to having this group exist if it does not represent and stand up for ALL young people in radio.
If you are a young Indigenous person in radio and you have any ideas, want to join the admin team or join the group and see what it’s about, feel free to reach out to me anytime.

[Photo: February 2021 @ 3KND, taken by Gerry GMAN Lyons, Station manager] Left to Right: Hailey, Rafal, Isaac, Elijah
[Photo: February 2021 @ 3KND, taken by Gerry GMAN Lyons, Station manager] Left to Right: Rafal, Elijah, Hailey, Isaac

Isaac is 20, he runs Midday Rush 12pm-2pm Weekdays 

Elijah is 23 and runs the Rock Show 10pm-Midnight Thursday

Hailey is 20, she’s the receptionist for the station and presents Turnt Up “the freshest, deadliest and slickest Indigenous artists” Fridays 10pm-Midnight

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


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!!!!!!!!!


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