While it may be a small town, the people of Wilcannia River Radio have big plans after receiving a COVID-19 emergency grant for $136,000.
Broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Wilcannia River Radio station has always played an important role in delivering information to the community. Since the beginning of COVID-19 they have become the one reliable place locals go to stay informed on the official health advice.
Secured with the assistance of the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), this grant will go a long way in reinvigorating the space and ensuring the vitality of the much loved radio station.
Employment opportunities allowing kids to stay in their hometown
Not only will the money help to fix a number of longstanding maintenance issues, it will also work to generate a number of employment opportunities for the town.
With the planned addition of another studio and upgraded technologies, the new media hub will afford the town’s youth the chance to learn and develop new skills.
Often in small towns, young adults feel the need to move away in search of work. Leaving their families and community can take a big toll on a lot of young people.
Team leader of Wilcannia River Radio, Rob Clayton, says, “I’ve got a 13 year old, a 3 year old and a 6 month old. I don't want them to think moving away is the only option for them to get ahead in life… Why can’t they do it in their own community where they grew up? Why can’t they build their abilities and life skills in their own community?”
New age of tech-savvy kids
Understanding the power of technology and the ability of this next generation who’s digital literacy skills are so advanced, Clayton plans on placing a large focus on the media side of things in the revamp.
“Having the media side of it is one of the biggest sides of it because every single young kid is into TikTok and Facebook - they’re all media related.”
This initiative is funded/supported by the Australian Government.