Wednesday, March 29, 2017  
 
 
       
Radio Redfern & Koori Radio
     
   
       

National Archives Australia
Black Theatre [1972-] 1974-1977


Radio Redfern 1981-1991


Koori Radio [1993-] 2008 >

     
   
       

RadioRedfern_1988_400.jpg
27 Cope St, Redfern

In 1981 Maureen Watson and son, Tiga Bayles, Redfern residents for nearly two decades, started broadcasting on Radio Skid Row and 2SER. It grew from ten minutes to ten hours to 40 hours.

 

In 1984 they set up Radio Redfern in Cope Street, next to the Black Theatre, so that Redfern people could become more involved.

 

In 1988 Radio Redfern played a pivotal role in informing and educating the public about Aboriginal perspective and responses to the Commonwealth Games, and the bicentennary year. This inspired people to work towards setting up Koori Radio to provide Sydney's Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community with a permanent voice.

 

In 1990  or 1991, the building was bulldozed at the same time as the demolition of the Black Theatre building. A decade of radio broadcasting in Redfern was brought to an end. [story to come]

 

In 1993 Cathy Craigie and Matthew Cooke established a community based media, arts and information service - Gadigal Information Service They started broadcasting on Radio Skid Row, and leased the upper level of a terrace house on the corner of Cleveland and Edwards Streets. Close to the Block, it remained an important drop-in and information centre.

 

In 2001 Gadigal Information Service was given a Sydney-wide broadcasting licence, after six years hard work. 93.7FM on a 50kW transmitter. Koori Radio. 2LND. Live n' deadly. In 2003 they switched to a 500kW transmitter and were broadcasting full-time. When the Chippendale terrace was sold, they moved temporarily to Marrickville's old hospital premises in Lilydale Street.

 

In 2008 the ILC renovated the Black Theatre site and leased it to local Aboriginal organisations. It was ready fo business in early September. Koori Radio has returned to Redfern !!!

     
   
    Links - Radio Redfern 1981 - 1991?  
     
   
    Links - Koori Radio 1993 - now  
     
   
    Radio Redfern  

Tiga Bayles: It was 1980, '81. My mother, Maureen Watson, came back from a conference in Alice Springs, where she saw CAAMA Radio. Came back talking about this Aboriginal radio station, or these Aboriginal people that were working in radio—we were in Redfern at the time. She came back talking about radio and how it was important and we should be looking at it down in Sydney, in Redfern. She said, come on, let's go in here. We'll talk to the manager of 2SER. So we went in there. She got 10 minutes a week for starters. It was just a 10-minute little filler, but there was an empty spot, I suppose, in their programming. And within a month-and-a-half, two months, we learned how to panel ourselves. It wasn't good enough just sitting there being talking heads, we wanted to panel and press the buttons and do it ourselves. From there, within three months or so we said we want more than 10 minutes, so we expanded that time to one hour a week and did that quite regularly. Mum started it out, and because she travelled a lot, I filled in when she was away.

 

So it really all started out there at 2SER back in the early 80s. And it expanded from there where I did a three-hour music program from midnight until 3am. That was a black music show, and did that for about five years or so. But our biggest problem down there, Donna, was the Kooris. Like it was difficult to get Kooris to leave the community of Redfern, even though Broadway's only a 10-minute walk. About '83, '84 Skid Row got a licence. The very first allocation by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal of community licenses in Sydney. There were nine licences issued in '83, '84. And Radio Skid Row got one of those licences, and they were based in the Wentworth building of Sydney University, down in the basement. And they stepped up and said, there's 10 hours a week for you Kooris—straight up, ten hours. We almost fell over in shock, thinking however could we manage ten hours a week? But it was good. It was good, because it put the pressure on us then to get more people involved. But again, ten minutes walk up to Newtown there, to King Street from Redfern—it was still difficult to get our people out.

 

But we grew that, from '83, '84, that ten hours grew to 40 hours a week, and a real partnership thing. I was elected as chair of the Skid Row station at some point—'85 or so. We ended up with our own studios in about '84—twelve months or two years or so of being on air, and having the difficulty of bringing Aboriginal people from Redfern into either one of these studios. And the reason they didn't want to go there, it wasn't our place, it wasn't our environment, it wasn't our community. We weren't in control. It wasn't our place. So we thought, well, let's take radio back into Redfern. Let's put studios in Redfern. And that's how Radio Redfern was born, really. It emerged, was established, as a result of just bringing radio into the community, and that's how we got the name of Radio Redfern. People in the community just dropped in and talk and chat, and cuppa tea—it was a real hub, especially for visitors. But for the local community—visitors when they come to town looking for an organisation or a family member or somebody, or a friend—they'd come to the station.

excerpt from Indigenous Media ABC 2RN
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/learning/lifelong/stories/s1174633.htm

     
   
    Wayne Costelloe  

artlink header.gif Vol 10 Nos 1&2 1992 - reprinted with permission

 

Radio Redfern  -  The Koori voice in Sydney


Wayne Costelloe     

           

Located in an old terrace house in Cope Street, Redfern, is the voice of the Aboriginal community in Sydney. The terrace house is not unlike any other in the inner city. However with the Koori colours on one wall and the music of Koori bands blasting out from speakers up on the balcony, the house is fairly outstanding.

On entering the building, past the first room,

is the reception area. Here hangs an Aboriginal

flag, surrounded by a Rainbow Serpent, which

snakes across the walls and ceiling. There are

oiher traditional designs and motifs which flood

this room and one can be overwhelmed with a

sense of being in a sacred cave.

Up at the end of a narrow staircase is the

mixing room where the reel tapes are recorded.

Koori music is the predominant occupant on

these reels and each volunteer DJ makes up their

own mixes. These reels then go into the library on

the ground floor and are for the general use of the

announcers whilst on their shift. An elaborate

registry system is in place to easily locate

particular songs when and if they are required for

airplay.

       In the back room, next to the kitchen, is the

broadcasting room. What was once presumably

a bedroom is now converted, with all the

trappings of a radio station, There is the console to

air, three revox reels, one cassette deck, two

turntables, one cartridge and three microphones.

There is also the facility to conduct telephone

interviews.

       These resources leave Radio Redfern open

for growth and development in its role. As was

mentioned earlier, Radio Redfern is the voice of

the Aboriginal community in Sydney and its role

takes the form of communitv announcements, ie

rallies, services etc,, catering for the musical taste

of the listeners (the audience wants to hear Koori

bands), and finally, being seen as a positive and

constructive move towards maintaining and

supporting the culture of our people.

       An example of the influence of Radio

Redfern is how the community was rallied to

attend a protest march in support of the inquiry

into the death of David Gundy and black deaths

in custody. A further example is the calling

together of the clans for a football match.

       Radio Redfern is 88.9 FM on the dial and

currently holds approximately forty hours of

airtime, which is a vast improvement of 15

minutes per reel hosted by the enigmatic

Maureen Watson circa 1982/3. In those early

days 'Radio', (as it is affectionatelv known to local

Kooris), was affiliated with 2SER. However,

Radio Skid Row is the current umbrella group.

This is an FM community radio which has a

broadcasting licence and sells airtime to various

communlty groups.

       Tiga Bayles who hosted Radio Skid Row

gradually built it up from 30 minutes per week to

its present airtime. The Public Broadcasting

Foundation and the Department of Aboriginal

Affairs contribute money to Radio to assist in

general administration and broadcasting costs.

       All the announcers with Radio Redfern are

voluntary, as I am. My association with Radio

came about as a result of a friend in Redfern

thinking, "You would be good as an announcer

and there need to be more Kooris doing shifts". I

had no previous experience in this sort of thing so

I had to think about it. In the end I took it on and,

in one easy lesson from a seasoned announcer

and now good friend, I launched into radio

broadcasting.

       I was pretty much thrown in the deep end

having to do a four hour shift every Saturday

from 12 midday to 4pm. I was left with a four

hour shift after one announcer finished to be with

his expecting wife. However, I loved having this

much time and space to experiment in. So I did

community announcements, held live

interviews, a live didgeridoo performance and

had a feature which I called Koori Three Pack of

songs every thirty minutes or so and attracted an

appreciative audience.

       At present I am down to a two hour shift

which is good news because that means more

Koori people are doing shifts which in turn

means a greater community involvement by the

very target group catered for. The doors of Radio

Redfern are open to the public, giving that

freedom for people off the street to come in and

say hi to friends and family over the airwaves, or

to make requests, dedications or announcements.

This is indicative of the sharing and openness

that remains part of our culture. True community

radio.

     The music library is quite comprehensive

with at least all of the known contemporary

Aboriginal music present and accounted for.

There are also a few reels of traditional music.

Included in the library is a vast range of country

and western music from Australia and the

United States, this style being a great part in the

lives of our people across the country. Many of

the announcers, including myself, bring in our

own music, which in itself presents varying styles

of tastes, and the listening audience is exposed to

more than a few styles.

       Many of the bands and artists featured on

Radio Redfern take time out to come in and be

interviewed live whilst they are doing a stint in

Sydney, They also perform at The Settlement, the

Aboriginal Community Centre in Edward Street,

Chippendale, which makes it a special night.

       Radio Redfern has a bright future and its role

will increase significantly in the broadcasting

arena that is Sydney. The competitive edge that

Radio has is that it is Aboriginal operated. In an

environment where the status of Aboriginal

people is improving through art and music,

this is unique and important.

ARTLINK  61 VOL10NOS1&2

http://www.artlink.com.au/articles.cfm?id=887

     
   
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Does anyone have a photo of the building in Cleveland / Edward Street with the mural on the outside wall?

WHITE AUSTRALIA HAS A BLACK HISTORY

photo from http://www.gadigal.org

     
   
    November 2016  

Cathie Craigie was interviewed on 2SER's The Chat
     
   
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