Ears throughout the Tamar Valley are well served by the dedicated volunteer team of Tamar FM, who for 20 years now have been broadcasting music, community information and a sense of connectedness on the local airwaves.
Tamar FM President Kevin Ellis said that it’s about more than just music.
“For those people that haven’t got a family, or people that visit, it [Tamar FM] becomes their best friend, and the fact that they can ring in perhaps on Sunday morning for the country show and have a song played especially for them, it makes them feel loved, in a way.”
Mr Ellis has been involved in the station for 20 years, and has been president of the organisation on 3 separate occasions, demonstrating a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for local radio, and is thankful to everyone who has helped along the way.
“We’ve had some wonderful assistance, people have helped raise money that have helped build our stations, and all those volunteers, it’s been a wonderful thing.”
Tamar FM has two unique properties in how it operates, which they are quite proud of. Firstly, they are self-sufficient when it comes to funding, unlike many other community radio stations which rely on government or community Grants, Tamar FM operates a regular monthly market which is its main fundraiser, and also has some sponsorship from local businesses. In addition to this, Tamar FM is broadcast live around 9-10 hours of the day, unlike many other radio stations, including commercial ones, which broadcast mainly pre-recorded shows with a lineup of hundreds of ads.
Peter Button, a long-time volunteer at Tamar FM said that his experience at the station has broadened his knowledge of music, and has helped him to learn a lot about the technical side.
“I enjoy the technical side of things, so I’ve learned a fair bit about I.T. since I’ve been here, I knew a fair bit before but working with it everyday, all day, it’s certainly broadened my knowledge of that”
“I’ve met different lots of people over the years, and some have stayed and some sort of move on to different things.”
“We’ve certainly had a real cross-section of volunteers over the years and that’s been good” added Mr. Button.
Tamar FM are currently looking for more volunteers, with Mr. Button stating that it helps to have a bit of a technical background, but added that if you haven’t got general computer skills, you could still volunteer.
“Like everything nowadays, everything’s computer based. If you haven’t got those general computer skills, we can certainly take people and train them and help them along the way.”
Julie and Steve Fraser, both volunteering as co-managers of Tamar FM also emphasized the need for more volunteers, adding that the team are incredibly dedicated and it’s important to find volunteers who are team players.
“We’re not so much worried if your skills aren’t there, as long as you can get on with people.” Said Julie.
For Julie and Steve, after deciding to leave their home in Adelaide, a search for a new home around Australia lead them to George Town, and it was only a matter of time before they got involved with Tamar FM.
“It’s a great little town, it really is” added Steve, “All your day-to-day things are here and you’ve got a superb road up to Launceston if anything is not available here.”
Tamar FM will be celebrating it’s 20th birthday on the 29th of August, and invite the community to drop in and say G’day, take a look around the museum, and maybe learn about opportunities to volunteer at Tamar FM. Find out more at tamarfm.net