RTRFM’s annual Radiothon begins tomorrow, asking listeners to donate what they can to support one of Perth’s oldest and most popular community radio stations.
The theme of this year’s Radiothon is ‘Still Here With You,’ highlighting the perseverance of local radio amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
RTRFM broadcasts on 92.1FM, as well as online, and attracts roughly 322,000 listeners each month, while 5.8 million people tune in to community radio each week across Australia.
Whilst COVID-19 has had devastating effects across many sectors, the music and arts communities have been very badly hit.
RTRFM general manager Simon Miraudo says after two years of snap lockdowns, bands have been reliant on the station to get their music played, as the option to play gigs totally disappeared.
“For us to keep doing that, we need to keep the lights on, and there are hard costs that come with running a radio station,” he says.
Taylah Strano, host of RTR’s morning show Breakfast with Taylah, says community radio is important for myriad reasons.
“Whether it’s joining community radio as a listener, or as an actual part of the machine … it’s an important act of resistance to defy things like being told what billionaires want you to be told,” Ms Strano says.
She says she saw the opportunity to get actual on-air experience while she was still studying, and worked her way up to hosting her own show.
She says local radio is important for students and musicians to legitimise their practice.
“It’s also a community that’s forged on a love for appreciation of local arts, music or local matters.
“It’s about giving a platform for those who are overlooked by the more commercial operations,” says Ms Strano.
Prizes are up for grabs for donors, including surfboards, paid night outs and guitars.
Curtis McEntee, a salesman at Mt Lawley guitar store The Rock Inn, says they’ve donated accessory packs with strings and tuners, as well as a new Hofner bass guitar and amp.
He says having a local radio station creates a crucial rung on the ladder for people trying to have a career in music.
“Our connection with RTRFM obviously leads to the shop as we sell instruments and also offer services of helping fix peoples gear, so the two are kind of married in that regard,” Mr McEntee says.
“I just think they’re essential. I don’t know what we’d do without RTRFM.”
Radiothon runs from August 13 to August 22.