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93.7 FM – a voice for Koori people

Koori Radio is highly regarded in the industry as a strong and independent source of news, arts and information for Sydney’s Indigenous community reports Ellice Mol in the December 2007 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

Gayle “Ruby” Caldwell has volunteered at Koori Radio for over three years. She programs a show called Ruby’s Roundup every Wednesday evening from six till eight. Gayle has a lot to contribute to the show, sharing her knowledge of music. “I play a lot of ’70s and ’80s black music because that’s the era I grew up in,” she says. “I call out community announcements for things that are happening in the Koori community all over NSW, talking about Aboriginal performers, and I do a little bit of political stuff.”

Gayle has been tuning into Koori Radio over the years as well as some commercial Sydney stations. Gayle frst took an interest in Koori Radio because it provided a link to the Koori community. “I thought Koori Radio was a great place for Koori people, I guess it was their way of connecting,” she says. “They had a voice that they could listen to that represented us and our way of life and our music. Koori Radio represented a place of familiarity.”

Koori Radio is located at the old Marrickville Hospital in Lillydale Street. The station is planning on moving to a new building in Redfern during July next year. “I think they’ve finally got the financial backing to move into a more upgraded facility,” Gayle says. She is excited about the move. “We’ve actually seen a model of the new floor plan, it’s going to be great. We’re going to have our own conference room, brand new studio, new offices, and there’s actually going to be an outdoor area.”

Gayle says she continues to volunteer her time because of the wonderful support she gets from the community. “That’s the enjoyment I get, when we get feedback from the public, and also from my fellow workers. Everyone’s really supportive and encouraging towards each other because everyone is there for the same reason, because they love it. Although the radio industry continues to stimulate Gayle she enjoys the satisfaction of giving something back rather than indulging in self-promotion. “For me it’s not really about getting a profile or anything,” she says. “I just love it because I feel like I’m giving back and I’m part of a community organisation that is such a huge wonderful vehicle and a voice for our people.”

Through volunteering at the station Gayle has become an experienced presenter and continues to develop her skills. “I’m a bit shy with talking on air, but it’s been a great training ground, learning to build your confidence,” she says. “It’s another skill I’ve got, that I can put on my CV.” Gayle also works full time for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

Another positive feature of Gayle’s on-air experience is that she has been asked to DJ at events outside the radio station. “A lot of people love ’70s and ’80s music so I’ve been given the opportunity to DJ at a few events, which has been nice.”

Koori Radio has a strong community and Indigenous focus. Gayle says Koori Radio is a significant resource for many Indigenous populations including African and islander peoples. “I guess we cater mainly to other Indigenous nations,” she says. Koori Radio can be found on the 93.7 FM frequency.

Gayle says the station is always on the lookout for volunteers. “They can express an interest via the Gadigal website,” she says. “Or they can speak to Brad Cook the manager there who is always willing to train people.”

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2007