A lot has changed over the last few months in the media landscape.
Many regional newspapers have now disappeared, and the ABC is being subjected to severe funding cuts by a conservative government clearly in the pocket of Rupert Murdoch and other big business.
As such, community radio has never been more important.
‘We were an essential service during the  fires’ says Bay FM president Nyck Jeanes. ‘There was a point when the ABC transmitter was down, and we had to present the necessary information.’
As the COVID-19 dust settles and after months of operating remotely, Bay FM is back in business at HQ, kicking off with a whole new program.
Bay FM president Nyck Jeanes, and station manager Philip Shine, have been the driving force behind the station’s adaptation to remote programming.
‘We closed March 23 and have operated a remote service of 69 programs – 40 contributing from homes. Some send a playlist through to our production manager, others include voice work. It’s been a pretty good service considering the conditions’, said Philip.
‘We lost about 14 shows during the pandemic,’ says Philip, who also laments the loss of income to Bay FM from their annual fundraising activities.
Nyck agreed that this had some impact, and was appreciative of the Byron Community Centre for their rent reduction.
‘Like many organisations, we have been struggling financially – it’s a tough period, because we didn’t get our winter disco.
‘We would like to acknowledge the local businesses who have remained sponsors during this time. We have had a couple of wonderful philanthropists gift us as well.’
Philip is confident about Bay FM’s future.
‘We will survive. It will be difficult for the next 12 months – as all our fundraising has been via gigs. We are going to have to reinvent ourselves.’
The station did receive a $20,000 business assistance package from the NSW government which has assisted with their survival.
And reinvention is in the air at Bay FM, with new programs coming on board, and new protocols for operating a COVID-19 safe workplace.
‘We are opening July 6, with different studio usage,’ says Philip.
‘Usually, we only use one studio, but now we alternate one studio to the next. There will be no live guests.’
Other safe practices include each presenter being given their own washable foam sock to use on the microphone.
As long time presenter of North Coast Positive, Nyck is excited about the upcoming season for the much loved community station.
‘This is the most changed and most significant program we’ve had. It’s pretty exciting. We have some really exiting shows.
‘While the much loved Arts Canvass with Karena Wynn Moylan, Danny Salfield’s Sandpit and the Jazz show remains… there are some new specialist programs, including classical music on Sunday with Robyn Rodriguez and a Sunday Jazz program.
‘We have a lot of specialist presenters.
‘It is about learning as a listener,’ says Philip, ‘a lot of our presenters have a lot of knowledge about the music they present’.
Bay FM – your community radio – would love your support.
And they’d love you to listen to their new programs. You can look at new programs, find out how to become a sponsor, and get involved on www.bayfm.org or check them out on Facebook or Instagram.