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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

RFS volunteers are invited to join the disco at Bay FM tonight

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Bay FM are inviting volunteer fire-fighters to join them for a bit of disco fun tonight. Photo supplied.

Bay FM celebrates respect and invites firerys to the dancefloor

Mia Armitage

Volunteer fire-fighters are invited to swap protective boots for dance shoes and get their boogie on as guests of honour at Bay FM’s summer disco fundraiser this Saturday.

Byron’s only community radio station has been serving the shire for nearly 30 years and with more than a hundred members, is one of the biggest volunteer organisations on the Northern Rivers.

Many members have been either directly or indirectly impacted by bushfire in the region or have loved ones living in affected areas.

Station Manager Philip Shine said members wanted to express gratitude and respect for volunteer firefighters who continued to work in extraordinarily difficult conditions on and around Mt Nardi and elsewhere in NSW, with the RFS predicting the Mt Nardi fire to burn at least until Christmas unless there is significant rain.

Community media crucial for sharing local information

‘Our presenters have been working hard to keep listeners up to date with developments on the fires in and close to the Byron shire,’ said Mr Shine, ‘during the recent seven-day state emergency, that included daily check-ins with the RFS Northern Rivers Zone Incident Team’.

Mr Shine paid special tribute to RFS NRZIT Public Liaison Officer Angela Daley, who he said made regular time to share crucial updates and advice with Bay FM’s Community Newsroom.

But even before the Mt Nardi fire started, Mr Shine said, Bay FM presenters began to focus on natural disaster emergency preparation by airing extended interviews with guests from the RFS, Red Cross and the SES.

‘Our main priority as a community radio station is to serve the needs and interests of our community,’ said Mr Shine.

‘While fostering the local culture is key, sharing vital local information is a basic function of community media that Bay FM embraces wholeheartedly, whether through fire updates, community service announcements or interviews with local experts.’

Celebrating regional artists, businesses, community groups… and awards

The station supports local artists from comedians to musicians, poets, authors, filmmakers and other visual creators; independent journalists; businesses in the shire; community groups and non-profit organisations.

Outside broadcasts and exclusive live recordings feature on-air regularly, a reflection of the station’s position in one of Australia’s most creative and politically-engaged regional hubs.

Bay FM has won several awards over the years including two in the recently announced 2019 Community Broadcasting Association of Australia awards: Excellence in Journalism and Excellence in Outside Broadcasting.

But like most community groups and services, the station faces increasing operational costs without government support and relies heavily on sponsors, subscribers and donors to maintain its presence.

That time Mandy Nolan… when it’s live and local, it pays to be there

The Bay FM discothèque fundraisers, held twice a year, have become star events for people across the region wanting to take advantage of a fun night out without having to worry about getting home.

Tickets can include bus pick-up and drop-off from as far as Lismore and as nearby as Suffolk Park and Ocean Shores.

Past events have featured themes around ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s music and patrons have relished the chance to dress in costume and dance the night away to music curated by local DJs.

At this year’s winter discothèque fundraiser, local comedian and Echonetdaily writer Mandy Nolan sent the dancefloor into a frenzy with her explosive debut DJ performance inspired by the late Aussie rock star, Chrissy Amphlett.

Ms Nolan’s somewhat raunchy gig was censored from social media due to music copyrights, proving it really does pay to be there when it comes to live and local events.

Respect: more than a little bit

Bay FM’s summer Christmas Discothèque for 2019 takes on a slightly different angle and is a tribute dance party celebrating some of the greatest and most iconic black singers and musicians from yesteryear and today.

‘It’s a gathering to thank and pay respect to the black community of the planet for all the music they’ve given us,’ said organiser Beaver Farrand.

The theme could be seen as tapping into a zeitgeist where overdue recognition of black history and culture is becoming more common.

Recent examples include the #blacklivesmatter movement; the Uluru Statement from the Heart; last week’s Walkely Award-winning The Killing Times project, which maps Australian massacres of indigenous people and Stan Grant film The Australian Dream, focused on indigenous Australian of the Year award recipient and football star Adam Goodes; and recent popular TV productions, whether documentary or dramatic, celebrating the musical contributions of Whitney Houston, Quincey Jones, Muddy Waters, Etta James and Beyoncé to name a few.

‘We focus on the human value of respect: something we all need and something we should all give,’ Mr Farrand said.

But the recent bushfires have given Bay FM another excuse to express respect.

‘On this occasion we would also like to thank and give our respect to the members of the Rural Fire Service by inviting them to our discothèque as guests, along with their partners,’ said Mr Farrand.

‘As a community radio station we’d like them to attend for free, come along, enjoy the music and maybe even dance up a storm – or just some rain, that’d be more than welcome!’

RSVP for Bay FM’s RESPECT Christmas Discothèque

If you’re a member of the RFS and would like to RSVP for the Bay FM Christmas Discothèque Fundraiser, please contact the station directly on 02 6680 7999.

Anyone else wanting to kick up their heels in respect this Saturday night, or who would like to find out how else they can support Bay FM, is also invited to call the same number.

*Mia Armitage is a Bay FM member.

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