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Byron Shire
February 6, 2023

Bay FM welcomes new president

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2022 Bay FM President Ange Kent
PIC: Mia Armitage

One of the biggest volunteer organisations on the Northern Rivers has welcomed a new president.

Members at a recent Bay FM Community Radio annual general meeting endorsed long-time station volunteer Ange Kent for the position unopposed.

Ms Kent takes over from acting president Hudson Birden and heads up an eleven-seat board that this year attracted enough interest for nominations to trigger a ballot draw at the AGM.

Renewed volunteer love for Bay FM keeps community radio thriving

The enthusiasm of members to help foster the station through a pandemic recovery period with dynamic cultural, political and economic changes at play on the Northern Rivers suggests a positive culture at the station, where a passion to serve the community appears more infectious than COVID-19.

There have been times in the past when the station was unable to fulfil positions on the board and finances were dire but members at the 2021 AGM heard old and new volunteers had used the pandemic period as an opportunity to pool resources and maximise opportunities.

The station was part of a Community Broadcasting Association of Australia pilot program for new radio station websites, for example, and was able to draw on volunteer marketing industry expertise to help renew the station’s online presence.

The pandemic declaration also coincided with a new uploading and playout system created by station technician George Ridal that ended up becoming a key mechanism for volunteer presenters to stay on air and help Bay FM stay connected with its community rather than rely constantly on automated playlists.

Bay FM Community Radio marked its thirtieth birthday during the pandemic with many presenters producing their shows from makeshift home studios.

Members at the 2021 AGM heard despite the many challenges associated with the pandemic, the station’s finances were in the black thanks to continued community support from listeners and sponsors. 

Live and local: Bay FM gigs, iconic discotheque to make a comeback

‘2022 is going to be an exciting year for Bay FM,’ said President Ange Kent.

‘We’re launching a major fundraising campaign in the first quarter to raise much needed funds to build new studios, the Bay FM Discotheque is coming back and we’re planning some music gigs and outside broadcasts,’ she said.

After ‘many years’ spent in the tourism industry, Ms Kent said she ‘fell into radio’ when she moved to Brunswick Heads ten years ago and hasn’t looked back.

The formerly dedicated punk music lover launched The Garage on Thursday nights in 2013 but has since handed that mic over to Robert Blackwell, known on-air as Milk.

In 2020 Ms Kent started focusing on the local music scene through a new Friday afternoon show called Northern Rivers Music Box that has helped reignite Bay FM’s role in supporting regional music of all genres.

She said she’d been involved with the station’s management committee for the past four years and was inspired to stand for president after witnessing the board’s unflinching dedication to community media in some of the most testing times of the station’s history.

‘We have a committed and talented management committee which made my decision to stand as president a lot easier,’ Ange Kent said.

Ms Kent is supported by an executive board of Vice President Hudson Birden, Treasurer Patrick Campbell and Secretary Mia Armitage.

General board members for 2022 are Anurag Chakradhar; Jeferson Franke; Renata Guerra; Nick Mercer; Nick Richardson; Philip Shine; and Victoria Sullivan.

Bay FM can be heard via 99.9 on FM radios or via bayfm.org.

Anyone interested in volunteering for or donating to Bay FM can email [email protected]

*as stated in the article, Mia Armitage is a Bay FM member

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