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Byron Shire
December 7, 2021

Interview with Bay FM’s Vanessa Hill Song

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On the Beach drives you home, ‘in a dune buggy with Neil’ every Tuesday, 4–6pm.

BayFM is a vital part of our local media landscape.   Over the years the station has provided a voice to songs and stories of our region and, in the process, helped create the resounding voice of ‘Byron’. A little station like this doesn’t stay operational without your support. This August is Radiothon and they are asking people to subscribe. The targets this year to be viable are at least 20 per cent higher than previous years, so they really need the local community to dig deep! Why not find out a little more about your local community radio? I spoke with Vanessa Hill, who has a regular program; maybe she might inspire you to get one too!

How did you get involved with BayFM?

I was born and raised in the Shire so I grew up listening to BayFM. After uni I moved to Melbourne and hosted a radio show on PBS 106.7FM and when I returned home in 2016 I thought it was about time I volunteered at my local radio station.

What do you love about being involved in community radio?

BayFM is an awesome community radio station to be involved with. There’s a great vibe at the station and everyone is very supportive of each other. Volunteering at BayFM has given me so many amazing opportunities, including doing interviews with some of my favourite artists at Splendour, Bluesfest, and Mullum Music Festival.

Creative freedom is very important to me and I love that I can play whatever music my heart and ears desire on my radio show. Sharing my love of music with listeners and hearing their positive feedback is a beautiful thing too. What is truly special about community radio is that it runs on love and passion. Every presenter at BayFM is a volunteer and so all the programs are coming from a place of genuine passion and love. I know that it’s my immense love and passion for what I do that has seen me volunteer over 600 hours on air over the past six years on community radio. I feel very honoured and grateful to do a show on BayFM and to share the airwaves with so many inspiring people.

Why do you think it’s important? 

In these precarious times independent media are crucial! Mainstream media don’t really cater for my needs and I don’t feel they cater for the needs of the community either. Made by the community for the community, BayFM plays a vital role in providing local news and events, enabling community participation and providing recreational activities.

One of the main reasons I started supporting community radio was because I couldn’t bear to listen to the music on commercial radio. Listening to the same songs on repeat 24/7 is hell for me. I don’t want to offend anyone who loves the mainstream top 40 pop; I’m happy for you because you get to hear it everywhere you go, all the time. But for people like me who are perhaps a little more ‘alternative’ commercial radio really doesn’t serve us. I mean it has absolutely no diversity. What I love about BayFM is we have such a broad range of shows. BayFM caters to everyone’s unique musical tastes and it does so with authenticity and integrity.

What role do you think a community radio like BayFM plays?

Community radio stations like BayFM play a very important role in our media landscape, catering to the needs of the community and reflecting an open, inclusive, unbiased society that celebrates different cultures, musical tastes, and opinions, and thus helps promote a healthy democracy.

How can people get involved and support?

I think the best way to show your support is to subscribe to BayFM. Subscription keeps our station alive and our independent voice on air. I subscribed to BayFM before I started volunteering at the station because I believe community radio is super important not just for me individually but for the collective. We are here to serve you and I hope that you will help us continue to do so by showing us your support.

Tell me about your show.

Named after Neil Young’s album and title track, On the Beach surfs through eras and genres, with a focus on variations of rock music. Featuring 60s/70s vibes and the best of recent times.

On the Beach drives you home, ‘in a dune buggy with Neil’ every Tuesday, 4–6pm. Connect with me on FB and Insta: @onthebeachradio. For more information or to subscribe now go to bayfm.org.au

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


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