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‘Sharing the Love’ on community radio

RTRfm 92.1 Radiothon 2017

Volunteer administration worker, Kailyn Crabbe, mans the RTRfm reception desk during Radiothon. 
Image by: Marley Amphlett ©2017

Volunteer administration worker, Kailyn Crabbe, mans the RTRfm reception desk during Radiothon. Image by: Marley Amphlett ©2017

Marley Amphlett

Marley Amphlett

Volunteer administration worker, Kailyn Crabbe, mans the RTRfm reception desk during Radiothon. Image by: Marley Amphlett ©2017

Marley Amphlett, ECU Reporter

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RTRFM 92.1 community radio is celebrating its 40th year on the air in Perth and to help cover the costs of running the station, it has just hosted its latest annual Radiothon.

Radiothon, that ran from 11-20 August, encourages listeners and supporters to ‘Share the love’ by pledging donations either online or by phone, or by becoming a paid-up subscriber to the station.

Primarily run by its 300+ volunteers, the station is based on Beaufort St, Mt Lawley and plays 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The huge variety of music the station plays is organised into a schedule of quirkily named shows, each hosted by a different collective of volunteers.

RTRFM is a not-for profit station and it relies on the support of volunteers and crowd-funding from its 200,000 listeners.

“RTRFM is the oldest FM station in Perth,” according to presenter of the show ‘Siamese Dream’ and board member, James Hall. “I feel it’s really important for a society and culture to have easy access to alternative media.”

Will Backler, Music, Interview/Production Coordinator and host of the ‘Out to Lunch’ segment, emphasizes the importance of Radiothon to RTRFM.

“RTRFM raises roughly one-third of our annual revenue through Radiothon, so it is an extremely important source of funding”

Incentives for donating include the opportunity to win prizes such as function packages, dinners and passes to events and films in Perth.

Notable donors to Radiothon include WA Premier Mark McGowan who announced on Thursday 17 August, that the State Government will pledge $120,000 to the station.

The community station is also known for lending its support to local talent. It has helped launch the careers of award winning Perth acts such as Eskimo Joe, Jebediah and most recently, Grammy award nominees Tame Impala.

“[These acts] were all played on RTRFM before anywhere else, which is really important, we play local artists that no other station plays” said Hall.

Ash Hosken aka Diger Rokwell, has volunteered his services at the station for over 8 years. He has been responsible for presenting ‘Golden Apples of the Sun’ and ‘El Ritmo’ shows.

A musician himself, Hosken has been supported by RTRFM. His psychedelic hip-hop has been played at the station for over a decade and he attributes the longevity of RTRfm to the “generous donations from the public.

He added: “Radiothon is vital in keeping the station running and on the air.”

Tom Mathieson, ex-volunteer and musician, attributes his success to RTRFM. “Basically if it weren’t for RTRFM no one outside of a small circle would’ve heard my music back in the early days. They’ve been supportive of myself and my friend’s music from day dot.

“I’ve found many of my favourite artists locally and internationally through hearing them on that station. I learned a lot from the tastes and knowledge of its presenters over the years. ” he said.

Volunteer and activist, Karun Cowper, is part of the diverse collective helping to run the station.

Cowper is one of five presenters of the ‘Indymedia’ show.

‘Indymedia’ in conjunction with RTRFM assists in educating listeners about social justice.

Members from the Indymedia collective recently hosted a live-stream from the ‘Justice for Elijah’ campaign in the Perth CBD.

“I’ve been engaged with activism and the show is an extension of that. An opportunity to speak with campaigners and be in touch with a wide range of issues,” said Cowper.

RTRFM is far from the only station in Perth that requires a passionate collective of people to help with the upkeep.

Jeremy Garlett, host of Noongar Radio says: “Volunteering for a worthy cause sends a special message. It’s a beautiful thing to have time and to share it with someone” says the former policeman and father of six.

Garlett has worked in radio both commercially and voluntarily for many years.. “There’s a lot of freedom in volunteering” says Garlett. “It opens up the lotus of compassion, it’s compassion to learn and to teach.”

Marley Amphlett
Volunteer Tyler Cunningham and Noongar Radio 100.9fm presenter Jeremy Garlett. Image by Marley Amphlett © 2017





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‘Sharing the Love’ on community radio