An­niver­sary for RTRFM

Stirling Times - - Front Page - Sara Fitz­patrick

FORTY years on air is a huge achieve­ment for Mt Law­ley community ra­dio sta­tion RTRFM.

For its small, hard­work­ing staff – in­clud­ing break­fast pre­sen­ter Caitlin Nien­aber known to love a good tune, an im­promptu dance and a strong cup of tea – it’s a time to re­flect on the past and com­mu­ni­cate to all Perth peo­ple that 92.1FM is re­silient, cru­cial and wor­thy of a good lis­ten.

“Of­ten non-profit places like this don’t get the chance to stop and go: ‘Hey, we’re ac­tu­ally do­ing good work here,’ be­cause it is a con­stant tread­mill and a bat­tle to stay go­ing,” Nien­aber said.

The lo­cal stal­wart took to the air in 1977 at UWA and moved to its cur­rent Beau­fort Street lo­ca­tion in 2005.

Fund­ing has been an on­go­ing is­sue for RTRFM – tak­ing its name from a play on “aRTy Ra­dio”– which re­lies largely on lis­tener do­na­tions.

It re­cently re­ceived $120,000 from the State Govern­ment, as promised by Mark McGowan in the last elec­tion.

“We were quite a dif­fer­ent sound­ing sta­tion when we started – I think our goal was orig­i­nally ed­u­ca­tional, ty­ing in to the univer­sity,” Nien­aber said.

“It has evolved so much over the years: we were play­ing a lot of clas­si­cal mu­sic back then and there were a lot of peo­ple at the uni who got in­volved.

“There was punk stuff and reg­gae hap­pen­ing and then in the ’90s there was a big push for elec­tronic mu­sic and dance to play a part.”

Nien­aber – ob­sessed with mu­sic and ra­dio since her teens – started as a vol­un­teer at the sta­tion in 2009.

“I re­ally love my job, meet­ing so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple just try­ing things out, be­ing cre­ative and start­ing projects just for the hell of it and of­ten times they don’t get a lot of recog­ni­tion and of­ten it costs them money rather than there be­ing any money in it for them,” she said.

“I like that I can be part of a plat­form that gives le­git­i­macy to those peo­ple and cham­pi­ons them. That is re­ally pow­er­ful and that should be en­cour­aged be­cause the world out there is hard enough: it’s lovely to be able to celebrate art and mu­sic and community.

“In my job I get to see how much hav­ing the com­pan­ion­ship of ra­dio, par­tic­u­larly early in the morn­ing, means to peo­ple.”

The team has spent a year or­gan­is­ing cel­e­bra­tory con­cert, The Big 40.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d474644

RTR FM gen­eral man­ager Stu MacLeod with break­fast pre­sen­ter and pro­ducer Caitlin Nien­aber.

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