Pigeon Radio Australia (PRA), we’re told, is the only radio program in the world devoted to pigeon racing.
Although it’s clocked up seven years on-air, the program has been unable to find a permanent home – which one would think could be problematic for a show about homing birds.
According to Ivan Fonti, executive producer of PRA, “We started at Sunbury community radio which then employed a manager and he basically kicked all the programs off as he had plans to format the station like an FM commercial station.”
That statement seems to support a recent, controversial opinion piece by Brad Smart: Community Stations: Embracing the Concept of ‘MORE’.
After Sunbury, the show moved to 88.9 WYN FM, Werribee. Ivan continues, “Now moving to 88.3 Southern FM as WYN FM has already lost 30 presenters due to refusing to open the station due to COVID restrictions. WYN FM is still closed.”
Still, the show must go on. And it does, broadcasting, live, every Monday at 7pm, online at www.pigeonmedia.com.au. It is then replayed on a Wednesday morning from 9am to 11am on community radio 88.3 Southern FM. “This will move to an evening slot as soon as a place becomes available,” says Ivan.
Perhaps the aforementioned “Sunbury manager” was unaware that 2WS – now WSFM – soon after it opened in 1978, had its own pigeon racing show that broadcast the release of the pigeons with live commentary from Nick Brent. Brent, a passionate pigeon fancier, was on the WS sales team… and a great salesman, able to talk the boss into putting the show to air.
Of course, the show was scheduled at ‘sparrows’ fart’ on weekends and only paid the equivalent of bird seed in sponsorship. If I recall correctly, it was $12.50 a week, but that was all Nick could afford.
Nonetheless, with the popularity of pigeon racing at the time, it probably doubled the quarter hour audience for the timeslot.
Interest in the sport has surged since the recent sale of a single bird called New Kim in Antwerp, Belgium for an astonishing 1.6 million Euro (about AUS $2.6 mil.)
The good news for PRA is that while they may still be “couch surfing” on community stations, they’ve found a home online plus they’ve just launched a podcast to call their own.
Ivan Fonti says, Pigeon Radio Australia is extremely popular worldwide, averaging thousands of listeners every Monday night, via live-streaming. The Podcasts have just been launched via PODBEAN and are fast gaining popularity. https://pigeonradioaust.podbean.com/