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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Interview with President of BayFM, Nyck Jeanes

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President of BayFM Nyck Jeanes talks to The Echo about why we need community radio, and how we can best support it!

Nyck, maybe tell me when you first got involved with BayFM?

I was around near the beginning. I do believe it was the wonderful Red Terra (Terrie Wells) who, around 1990, invited me to fill in for a radio show she had on Lismore’s 2NCR. From there I started to connect with those who were beginning to activate for a Byron Shire community station. I was involved in the first broadcasts.

What does BayFM mean to you? Why has it been such a big part of your life?

To be honest it’s a place I love perhaps a little selfishly. I get to be myself. I get to talk to people I am genuinely interested in. If I’m able to offer something to the community of some value it’s very fulfilling. I’ve perhaps been too ‘heart on sleeve’ at times on air – but vulnerability is a strength – and it’s part of the nature and freedom of community broadcasting. My role has really just evolved over time. I keep ‘escaping’ and somehow getting drawn back! Where else can you be yourself, be embedded in community, and seek to do some good works – all for absolutely no money? It’s kind of liberating!

How have you seen it change and evolve with the community?

We are a media organisation so we have to adapt to the currents of the times. It was easier, arguably, in the beginning, wide-eyed perhaps, but incredibly dedicated. People like Sean Latham and many others in the early days really had a vision. Now we have to be street smart and willing to make harder decisions to survive and grow that vision. Not unlike the community at large.

What role do you see community radio occupying? 

I do see us as a little different from other community volunteer organisations, all of which are worthy – because we are a node or hub for all of those networks and orgs too – a central voice, playing a coordinating role, helping to keep the community fabric intact, despite disparate ideas and beliefs. And most of all we are not corporate media so we speak with freer voices and bring perspectives that are ignored or manipulated by the restrictive agendas and old paradigm focus of those media.

How integral is BayFM to this local community; how does it reflect our voice?

We will never reflect everybody’s voice here of course, but given the diversity on air, certainly with music, we do a pretty good job. The magnificent thing about this region is the active engagement of many voices in the many issues that arise. I like to think of Byron Shire as the home of black sheep, creative misfits, wild ideas, and future innovation, and Bay does well representing those qualities. We certainly celebrate diversity and free expression, embrace community values, and support other community organisations, and of course local arts and artists.

As the president, what vision do you have for the future for BAY FM?

We are in deeply uncertain times. For a volunteer media org to be relevant first we have to survive. Next year is our 30th anniversary. Think about that! In this region there are not many businesses or entities of any type that have survived this long. Recently I saw that cute little movie Yesterday, where the protagonist awakes to a world without The Beatles. It’s ostensibly the same world, and yet it’s not. There’s a moment when you realise OMG if there were no Beatles the world would indeed be very different, less diverse, less magic. I feel the same about the Bay if we weren’t here any more. So my vision? Get beyond survive to thrive. Become more professional, consistent, relevant, and inspiring. Feel supported by the wider community, offer positive visions, and celebrate all our successes toward a better world. But be real about the challenges we face and honest about how to meet them.

How is BayFM managing financially? Is it getting tougher to keep operational?

Yes, much tougher. Even as a predominantly volunteer org (apparently the biggest in the Northern Rivers!) it costs us around $400,000 a year to keep running. Broadcasting, and being a hub for a community, is an expensive operation. We rely largely on community support in one way or another. We receive no direct government funding. It is a constant juggle to bring in enough, let alone to finance necessary maintenance and upgrades, or some of the brilliant ideas that arise in the station to better the service we offer.

How can the local community get involved?

As a community member it’s all about engagement for us. We are activating at the moment a deeper social-media presence, so please take part. You can also text in at any time to the on-air studio and be part of conversations, request songs, make comments (0437 341 119). Many people also don’t realise you can listen on demand at bayfm.org to any show or part of a show at any time. Support our great fundraisers, become a volunteer. The vibe in the station these days is really quite exceptional. And as a local business or entrepreneur, and for all organisations and artists, sponsorship is cost effective. But most of all, please SUBSCRIBE!

Tell us about Radiothon! 

During Radiothon (19–30 August) we shine the spotlight on BayFM’s pivotal role in Byron Shire and beyond, showcasing who we are and what we bring to community. A subscription represents BayFM’s second-highest source of annual income and a successful Radiothon is essential to the continuation of the station. Our theme this year is Celebrate the Difference.

As always it is not really about the prizes, but again we thank those wonderful businesses who enable us to offer something back for your subscription. 

First Prize: $5,000 Apple Products Voucher. Second Prize: 2 bicycles from True Wheel Cycles. Third Prize: Custom-made mid-length surfboard from Munro Surfboards with BayFM logo. Plus, during the 12 days of Radiothon, BayFM will be giving away a $99.9 Santos Organics shopping voucher. And for subscribers in the Band/DJ/Artist category – a special draw to win a $500 gift voucher to spend at Still at the Centre art supplies. Business subscribers go into a special draw to win an on-air sponsorship campaign valued at $750.

Please subscribe, listen more, engage, and recognise the value that our own and only radio station brings to this community. 

So tune into 99.9 FM, get involved and subscribe!


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