Lochie Baillie from Distinctive Options (DO) in Sunbury is thrilled to present a show on the local community radio station, Sunbury Radio, every Friday morning.
The DO Show airs weekly, and is a vibrant, music-packed segment filled with interviews, news, the weather, shout outs and songs, all curated and presented by participants of DO, an organisation supporting people with disability.
“I love Sunbury Radio so much. They are amazing people, they are all amazing staff on the radio – they are just unreal,” Lochie says.
“I love doing this program so much. It helps me to speak clearly and nicely.
“[I like] talking about the songs and the music, all different sorts, from Guy Sebastian to One Direction [and more].”
The radio program started about two years ago, when a former Distinctive Options disability support worker got in touch with the station to explore the idea.
It was then that Steve Tyers, a Sunbury Radio volunteer and technician, got involved.
“I thought here’s an opportunity to get these guys on air,” Steve says.
“We’re a part of the community and they’re a part of the community, they are entitled to it just like anyone else.”
DO disability support worker Tamara Collins now helps with the program, and says all the presenters “absolutely love Steve”.
“They can’t wait to see him, which is really great, and he’s been teaching them about the radio, it’s such a great opportunity for them,” Tamara says.
About every fourth Friday, the participants take a break and go out to get their interviews for their upcoming shows.
They chat to interesting locals – Sunbury MP Josh Bull even made an appearance.
“It was fantastic to sit down with Jess, Lochlan and Robert recently who asked some important, hard-hitting questions about our local community and my role as the member of parliament,” Josh says.
“I was extremely honoured to be asked to be a guest on the show.
“Listening to the experiences of people with disability and showing up are a fundamental part of making Victoria the most inclusive and accessible state.”
All the participants have a go at presenting, with one of the presenters also operating the control panel and the microphones on their own.
From producing, to interviewing, to back announcing – they’re learning the ropes of it all.
Participant Jessica Opie says it’s been great to meet compelling people as they put their shows together, as well as “listening to different music”.
Corrine Morgan also fronts the program, and says she loves presenting the weather, “like Livinia [Nixon]”, the Channel 9 weather presenter.
“I do my own songs, my own shout outs,” Corrine says.
“Sometimes I do Imagine Dragons, sometimes I do One Direction … or U2.”
The crew even had to navigate presenting their show remotely during the pandemic – Steve says it was a lot of hard work.
“It’s better when it’s live. During COVID-19 we did it via Zoom, I’d record the programs, collect their songs, put it all together and then put it up,” Steve says.
The role of community radio in facilitating opportunities like the DO Show can’t be understated – it is on these often volunteer-run stations where the most diverse and integral voices are given their first shot at broadcasting.
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) describes community radio as “a vital part of the Australian media landscape”.
“Four hundred and fifty plus radio stations broadcast more than 500 services across Australia, and play an important role in providing a voice for communities that aren’t adequately serviced by other broadcasting sectors,” CBAA says.
Hume councillor Jarrod Bell, who grew up in Sunbury, has been involved with the station on and off for over 10 years, and says community radio is a “great way to build new skills, develop confidence and introduce people to world of media”.
“It is, for many communities, a lifeline to outside world, especially during an emergency,” Cr Bell said.
“That the DO crew is taking part is fantastic.”
Tamara says programs like the DO Show are crucial because people with a disability have so much to offer, and it gives the community an opportunity to better understand that.
“It’s just fantastic to see them living out their own dreams as well,” Tamara says.
“Like being on radio, how fun is it … they’re able to share information about their own town, where they live and upcoming things.
“As far as personal development for them, it’s really important.”
Lochie says community radio, and the opportunity to do the show, is “really special”.
Corrine says, “it makes us feel special too”.