This report takes us to a little piece of paradise in the top end of Australia
The town of Warruwi, located 5 Km off the coast of the Northern Territory on the tiny Goulburn Island, has 300 inhabitants.
Maung is the main language, and 90% of the population are Cook Islanders.
Despite the remoteness and size of Goulburn Island, it does have its own radio station on 106.1 FM, which is now being upgraded as part of network wide improvements.
FM 106.1 is part of the TEABBA community radio network (Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association), a group of 29 RIBS (Remote Indigenous Broadcast Stations) spread across the Northern Territory.
The station recently hired musician Darren Narul from local band B2M as a presenter. The band that draws its name from the two largest Tiwi islands, Bathurst and Melville and was formed in 2004 by Darren’s brother-in-law, Jeffrey Simon from the Tiwi Islands (see one of their latest songs below).
Speaking about the station in 2016, NT state parliamentarian Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu (MLA for Arafura) said it is important because it “promotes local traditional songs, languages, stories and [makes] the community aware of up and coming meetings… and promotes local events such as festivals.”
The TEABBA network was formed in 1989 by Top End community members who recognised the need to encourage and assist the development of local broadcasting and information services at all remote communities, using the newly installed broadcasting equipment provided by the government under the then BRACS project (now known as RIBS).
TEABBA airs regular programs from both its Darwin hub studio and also from remote stations like Warruwi. Programs from remote community stations in the network used to be brought into Darwin for rebroadcast by using dial-up program lines. The old analog dial-up modems have now given way to the latest digital devices that can deliver broadcast quality programs over a regular phone line as part of the network’s upgrading process.
Part of the massive infrastructure upgrade across the network involves bringing the Internet to locations which have no access, or very limited access. At the same time, mono transmitters are being upgraded to stereo.
The Darwin hub uses Zetta and GSelector for automation and music scheduling.
Aquira is slated to be online by the end of the year to add commercial integration. When the project is complete, logs will be created in Darwin with GSelector, and will be replicated out to the station in each market, which already has Zetta installed.
Once Aquira comes online, commercials and community service announcements will be scheduled which target each market’s local issues. Two of the indigenous communities, Warruwi and Beswick, have already gone live, with the remainder to follow soon.
“Zetta makes it easy for these RIB sites to broadcast over the entire TEABBA network. Stations currently build a ‘MiniLog’ for the time that they are broadcasting to the network,” according to the RCS installation team. Each of the 29 stations usually broadcasts 2-3 hours a week to the entire Northern Territory.
TEABBA is not the first indigenous broadcaster in Australia to use Zetta, GSelector and Aquira. They decided to go with RCS based on the excellent user feedback from their indigenous partner stations, CAAMA Radio (8KIN – Northern Territory), Kool N Deadly (3KND – Melbourne) and BlackStar (QRAM – Queensland). Together, these stations broadcast to over half of Australia.
Building the log… in paradise!
Disclosure: RCS is one of our advertisers. Photos and technical information courtesy of the RCS installation team.