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Making airwaves

Koori Radio is thriving in its new home in Redfern, offering better services and opportunities for indigenous youngsters. Having previously broadcasted out of the old Marrickville hospital site, the station now boasts several community-focused programs reports Peach Emmett in City News of 26 October 2008.

The Radio Training program is one of many projects instigated by Brad Cooke the general manager of the Gadigal Information Service Aboriginal Corporation which incorporates Koori Radio.

"Seventy-five per cent of our people are young people," Cooke says. "We want to set things in place to give our kids a confident and great start."

Through ties to local schools with large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, the program aims to offer broadcasting training and experience.

Funded primarily by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Koori radio hopes the funding will continue.

Radio Training Coordinator Jodie Treweek has been running the program since its inception.

"I love working with youth, teenagers," says Treeweek. "This is a stepping stone to lead them in the right direction. It's a chance to show them, this is the right path."

At the moment the program is only funded to run one program a term, which is far beneath the demand. "I've already got schools booked into the next year," says Treweek. "The response has been really great."

The program has had a great response from nearby schools with all participants have graduating. The intention is to offer a Certificate II in radio broadcasting so that the program is offering vocational training to individuals who participate.

Cooke believes finding funding sources is the key to make the station reach its full pontential.

"In 2003 we had two fulltime employees, and now we have seven. All the funding we get goes right back into staffing the services," says Cooke.

Koori Radio offers prime time radio to the young people that participate in the program, which is unique to the station.

Daniel Conifer, 17, is midway through his HSC yet still manages to find time to host his own show on Saturday mornings.

Daniel spent two years volunteering at the station and learning the trade through Koori Radio, and believes the program is a fantastic experience for young people.

"To give young Koori kids the opportunity to get hands on experience give them a chance to Flourish and prosper; to become fine young leaders in our community."

Yet he still recalls the old office, the hospital. "I'm glad you never saw the old premises," he says.

Cooke says he is continuing to work on funding to provide better opportunities for young people.

"When the kids come into my office to thank me, it's an emotional experience for me," he says.