Disability sector Powerd through media platform – CBAA Conference 2023

“People like me were on screen, but it was an overrepresentation of a one-dimensional character which gave us a distinct lack of agency. It never occurred to me that I could have my own voice.”

These were the words of Sam Drummond, “disabled kid from the country”, human rights lawyer, author of recently released memoir Broke and community radio broadcaster at the launch of Powerd Media by Minister Amanda Rishworth at the 2023 CBAA conference. Drummond went on to say:

“Through community radio I found my people and found my voice. It gives you the power to see yourself differently when you have a disability.”

Powerd Media is a disability led media platform building on RPH radio stations or, as the Independent Director and Chair of RPH Australia James Manders said, “telling the full story of the sector.”

With NDIS reforms and what was felt as a lack of communication and trust between stakeholders in the sector, those living with a disability were falling further behind, especially in employment rates.

The first RPH radio reading network station, Melbourne’s 3ZZ. began nearly 50 years ago in 1975. Volunteer run, there are now 19 stations and 10 digital streams representing every state and capital city.

Drummond said though there was a clear gap in the market for a media service run by the sector for the sector, connecting people with the information and services they need and providing sustainable employment outcomes.

To create Powerd Media, featuring screen, audio and podcasts, the NDIS, CBAA, Vision Australia and RPHA all came together, cohesively, to bring it to life. It already has given interns 12 weeks placement at Channel 31, Melbourne’s community television, to create some of the short form media on the website.

There are 4.5 milion Australians with a disability. A further 2.8 million carers and other support. Sam Drummond said the turning point was when he heard wheels behind him and turned to see the late comedian, journalist and disability rights activist Stella Young behind him. She told Drummond she didn’t want to see Government delivering messages to their community. She said:

“I want to see you. What are you going to write, say and achieve this week?”

Powerd Media is the start, creating content, employment opportunities and a truer reflection of our society.

Tags: | | | | | | | | | |