One of the interesting but not much talked about areas of radio in Australia is remote broadcasting – and the genuine challenges it provides to the people who work in it.
People like AFTRS graduate Sarah Ndiaye, who took up a three month contract to work with NG Media.
Sarah tells radioInfo that this indigenous owned media organisation broadcasts to 15 Ngaanyatjarra communities in the Western Desert region of WA, covering an area of over 250,000 square kilometres.
Sarah’s role is to assist while NGM makes the transition from broadcasting local shows – from just a few stations in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands for 4-6 hours a day (and otherwise playing CAAMA) – to linking the satellite stations to one frequency, having 24/7 streaming on their website and broadcasting through the digital station 916.
NGM is now broadcasting 24hrs a day but there is still much work being done on creating more content.
NGM radio co-ordinator Alana Mahoney has been working for a long time to get a project happening in the local schools, and recently, NGM had the first school group come and broadcast from their studio.
Sarah Ndiaye says “Radio and other media work offer real job opportunities especially in Wingellina – and there are so few relevant jobs on the lands that it should have traction with the kids. Their literacy levels aren’t great but they love technology, they love music and while in English are often very shy, on air they can speak either in language or English. In writing out talk breaks they can develop their literacy, by timing out utilise their maths and overall the process will hopefully build confidence.
Having the increased hrs to fill creates opportunities for documenting traditional stories and playing them in the evenings. Radio Ngm can also distribute valuable health and safety information, community news and other relevant content in language and English as the area is not serviced by any other media outlet in a meaningful way. I’ve started a news/community info audio notice board just in the last week and people are really excited about it. I will train someone up so it can continue once I have moved on as that is one of the biggest challenges faced in any remote community, the high turn over of staff.
The technical challenges have been huge. With the extreme weather conditions and vast distances making repairs and keeping equipment functioning massive issues ”.
To find out more about this remote broadcaster, visit the NG Media website www.ngmedia.org.au