Mia Armitage is at the forefront of creating news and current affairs programs at BayFM. Leading up to Radiothon she spoke with The Echo about her role at BayFM and why our community broadcaster is so damn important!
Mia, tell me how long you have been involved with BayFM.
Since mid-way through 2017.
What do you love about community radio?
So many things. The freedom to create content we believe matters and connect directly with our community. The people who are attracted to working in the sector, as they are all so passionate, driven, and dedicated. I am constantly inspired and supported.
How important is it to have community broadcasters when it comes to news and current affairs? How do you tell stories differently?
We consider ourselves part of the community and have direct links with people affected by the sort of issues and events traditional media consider newsworthy. We share their voices regularly and try to share their concerns with people who have more influence and power in society. I think that link between so-called ‘ordinary’ people and powerbrokers is crucial for a thriving democracy.
How do you source your stories?
Stories are sourced from anywhere and everywhere. We share and follow up on local stories reported by regional colleagues from all sectors of the media and investigate our own leads, whether they come from people in the community, council agendas, meetings, minutes and reports, other government reports, inquiries, observations, social media, events, police reports… you name it, we’re curious. But sources are always vetted and must comply with journalistic codes of ethics.
What story are you proudest of that you broke or got to air?
I was very humbled to receive an award for a documentary I put together in 2018 about a trip I undertook to Bowen, where anti-Adani protesters were camped out. This was before the big Bob Brown-led convoy this year. It was quite an adventure for me but my mission was to find out what people ‘up north’ really thought of Adani and the protesters. I found they were very guarded and the topic was a touchy one. The people were divided. But this wasn’t what the dominant press was reporting – its message was that everyone was pro-Adani and anti-protester. I was proud to help cut through the spin by getting out there and speaking to residents, shopkeepers, people on the street, instead of one or two politicians with possible agendas. But I was most proud to give those people a chance to be heard because it took bravery on their part to speak out. (Bowen isn’t like Byron where everyone likes to have their say!)