Putting the soul back into Sydney
Sydney is about to hear black voices and black music on the radio permanently. The city's first permanent Indigenous station will be on air, at 93.7 FM, by the end of June - it's call sign 2LND (Too Live N Deadly!).
When it comes to media, we at Gadigal Information Service Aboriginal Corporation (Koori Radio's parent company) believe that only Indigenous people can truly represent the interests of Indigenous people.
If there's a single message that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have tried to communicate to the world, it's that we know what's best for us.
That message has stayed the same in our quest for self-determination across all areas of our lives - housing, health, education, justice and cultural maintenance. We'll keep sending it until the message gets through.
Can Sydney handle the taste of Black Australia coming at them Live and Deadly? For a long time the mainstream media has largely ignored, misrepresented or stereotyped us. A permanent radio license for Sydney's Indigenous community is well overdue. There's a network around the country of more than 100 Indigenous BRACS (Broadcast for Remote Aboriginal Community Service) stations, 20 community radio stations, a National Indigenous Radio Service and several regional networks like CAAMA, TEAABA and PACKAM.
In Sydney, Koori Radio has taken years of struggle to establish. But with more than 40,000 Indigenous people in Sydney, and estimates that by 2011 the population will be close to 100,000, it's about to service the largest concentration of Indigenous people in Australia. Radio is an appropriate medium for us. It can reflect our oral traditions, passing on knowledge through storytelling and songs, and maintain a sense of community for Indigenous people in Sydney, many of whom have come from all over the country to find work, education or medical attention.
At Koori Radio we also aim to reinforce our diverse cultures. We'll keep our listeners in touch with events happening in the black community from arts, to sports to protest action. We aim to inform, involve and entertain our people.
If you're tuning in for the music, you'll hear on Koori Radio the best of black and Indigenous music from around the world. Non-Indigenous listeners will also get to hear our perspectives on Indigenous issues. Hopefully Koori Radio will stimulate some debate!
It was Radio Redfern that set the scene for Indigenous broadcasting in Sydney. Then in 1993 Cathy Craigie and Matthew Cooke started broadcasting weekly on Radio Skid Row, using their personal record collections. Out of their own pockets they paid the incorporation fees for Gadigal (named after the traditional owners of the inner city area) and shortly afterwards secured funding for two staff and some operational expenses. They leased premises and began to pursue the dream of having an Indigenous radio service that was not just a narrowcast around the inner city.
Koori Radio went to air as an aspirant station for a community radio license, broadcasting three months