Lochie Baillie of Distinctive Options (DO) in Sunbury is delighted to host a show on the local community radio station, Sunbury Radio, every Friday morning.
The DO Show airs weekly and is a dynamic, musical segment filled with interviews, news, weather, shout-outs and songs, all curated and presented by attendees of DO, an organization that supports people with disabilities. .
“I love Sunbury Radio so much. They’re amazing people, they’re all great employees at radio – they’re just unreal,” says Lochie.
“I love doing this program so much. It helps me to speak clearly and kindly.
“[I like] talk about songs and music, of all kinds, from Guy Sebastian to One Direction [and more].”
The radio show began about two years ago, when a former Distinctive Options disability support worker approached the station to explore the idea.
That’s when Steve Tyers, a Sunbury Radio volunteer and technician, got involved.
“I thought there was an opportunity to get these guys on the air,” Steve says.
“We are part of the community and they are part of the community, they are entitled to it like anyone else.”
DO Disability Support Worker Tamara Collins is now helping with the program and says all the presenters “absolutely love Steve”.
“They can’t wait to see him, which is really great, and he taught them radio, it’s such a great opportunity for them,” says Tamara.
About every four Fridays, contestants take a break and go out to get their interviews for their upcoming shows.
They chat with some interesting locals – Sunbury MP Josh Bull even made an appearance.
“It was fantastic to sit down with Jess, Lochlan and Robert recently, who asked important and hard-hitting questions about our local community and my role as an MP,” says Josh.
“I was extremely honored to have been asked to appear on the show.
“Listening to the experiences of people with disabilities and coming forward are fundamental to making Victoria the most inclusive and accessible state.”
All attendees try their hand at presenting, with one of the presenters also using the control panel and microphones on his own.
From production to interview to announcement, they learn the tricks of the trade.
Participant Jessica Opie says it was great to meet fascinating people as they put on their shows, as well as “listen to different music”.
Corrine Morgan is also front and center on the program and says she enjoys presenting the weather, “like Livinia [Nixon]“, the weather presenter of Channel 9.
“I make my own songs, my own shouts,” says Corrine.
“Sometimes I do Imagine Dragons, sometimes I do One Direction…or U2.”
The team 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 through Zoom, I was recording the programs, putting their songs together, putting it all together and then putting it together,” says Steve.
The role of community radio in facilitating opportunities such as the DO Show cannot be understated – it is on these often volunteer-run stations that the most diverse and integral voices receive their first chance to diffusion.
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) describes community radio as “an essential part of the Australian media landscape”.
“Over four hundred and fifty radio stations carry over 500 services across Australia and play an important role in giving a voice to communities that are underserved by other broadcasting sectors,” says the CBAA.
Hume’s adviser, Jarrod Bell, who grew up in Sunbury, has been involved on and off with the station for more than 10 years and says community radio is “a great way to develop new skills, build confidence and to introduce people to the world of the media”.
“It is, for many communities, a lifeline to the outside world, especially in times of emergency,” said Cr Bell.
“The fact that the DO team is participating is fantastic.”
Tamara says programs like the DO Show are crucial because people with disabilities have so much to offer, and it gives the community an opportunity to better understand that.
“It’s just fantastic to see them living their own dreams too,” says Tamara.
“Like being on the radio, how fun…they can share information about their own city, where they live and things to come.
“When it comes to personal development for them, that’s really important.”
Lochie says community radio and the opportunity to do the show is “really special”.
Corrine says, “It also makes us feel special.”