When a team of locals made the decision to build a community radio station in the Queensland town of Dalby, they did it for the passion of music with the help of the incredible community who made it all happen.
Unlike internet radio, 4ddd is a stand alone brick and mortar radio station requiring a whole lot of love in having the station run 24 hours a day and serving the local community.
Weather its a business or non-profit venture, for any project or dream to be able to turn an idea into reality requires a team effort, and many businesses themselves seem to lack the inclusive culture to make projects successful and can learn a lot a 'community' culture and it's values.
Community radio is regarded high within Australia and it's thanks to these stations who support their local musicians/artists as well as other indie music from abroad.
In my interview with with breakfast announcer, Warren Kearney, (a musician himself) I asked many questions in how they run 4ddd and what it takes from volunteers to the supporting sponsors to make it all happen around the clock.
MT/Tracey: Hello Mandy and Warren at Radio 4ddd, thank you for your time. Can you explain a bit about how 4ddd began and how long it’s been running?
Warren Kearney : 4ddd Community Radio has been on air since about 1994. It took a lot of time and energy by a lot of people to actually make it all happen and took a few years for it all to come to fruition. We are all volunteer run and have an enthusiastic group of people who either help behind the scenes or actually present shows on air.
MT: How many listeners do you have in your community?
Warren Kearney: We are actually a community of approximately 14,000 people and we are the only live to air Radio Station in the town of Dalby. Our signal goes out to a few smaller towns around us and it would be hard to say how many people actually listen to us. Sometimes you wonder and then someone will say to you when you’re out and about, “Oh great music by the way Wazza” and this happens a lot. So perhaps a quarter of our population at a guess.
MT: Community Radio is such an important part of the radio and music industry as well as our local communities and is very prominent in Australia. Can you tell us the average number of hours most people spend their time volunteering to help keep the station running?
Warren Kearney: Well my wife and I am on air between us approximately 12 hours a week, but this in on the higher side and then we have people who come in and do their show once a week and it might be two hours long. On average I would say four hours.
MT: What kind of music do you play?
Warren Kearney: I play a mixture of Country, Rock and Blues. I interview four new Australian artists each week and my show includes a huge amount of these artists and also I play a lot of local artists from Dalby and surrounding areas.
MT: I’ve noticed that you are also dedicated to sport and games. What do you actually do for the sports and games segments or are they shows?
Warren Kearney: We have two announcers “The Sports Boys” who have a show on Saturday Mornings. They are very popular and they also do race reports and usually have a short spot on the morning of days like Melbourne Cup Day and our local race days. We are looking to have Football games on air in the new future.
MT: Your weekly schedule resembles an impressive tight run ship 7 days a week. What are the hours of when 4ddd is on air?
Warren Kearney: 4ddd is a 24 hour Radio Station and some of these are General playlists, but from 6am in the morning we have Presenters on air and these run through to approximately 10pm at night.
MT: How many volunteers are there to help run and DJ on 4ddd?
Warren Kearney: There would be approximately twenty of us here at 4ddd who make it all work.
MT: Who selects the music for your shows?
Warren Kearney: Each of the individual Presenters choses their own songs, within the Genre that they have chosen for their show.
MT: I’ve noticed you have a full page on the 4ddd website dedicated to the local musicians in which music you play. I’m so gobsmacked at seeing this, its fantastic. What is the local community’s views and feelings about playing their own?
Warren Kearney: We have a very vibrant live music scene in Dalby and surrounds and have a lot of really talented artists. Their music is very important to them and to us as well and we enjoy playing it. Being a musician and singer myself, I know how important Radio air time is to an musician and I am very conscious of this when deciding who I play each show.
MT: Other than playing music, I’ve seen you support the schools in the Western Downs region. What do you do to involve the school community?
Warren Kearney: We air all local Community Announcements and a big part of this is of course our schools. If they are having a fundraisier, we sometimes are able to do a Outside Broadcast at the event and this is appreciated.
MT: How much does it cost to run such a large community station?
Warren Kearney: How long is a piece of string? I am of the understanding that our costs would be in the ball park of $1200 a month.
MT: Before 4ddd, did any of the DJ’s have DJ’s experience prior?
We do have a couple who have come to us with experience, but as we do free training for anyone who is interested in being Presenter, it is not really required. Most people take to it like a duck to water and really love it.
MT: Does everyone have other paying jobs?
Warren Kearney: Yes, everyone does as we are all volunteers.
MT: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Warren Kearney: It is a really is a pleasure to be on air at 4ddd and both my wife and I really enjoy it. As I said previously, as I have been a full time musician for most of life, I really know how important Radio is to both the listeners and those of us who provide the music. Best job in the world for someone who loves music. How can you beat playing music all day.
Links to 4ddd