It can be the community’s voice when times are tough: helping to spread the word about fire, flood or any fear that affects the rural community of the Yass Valley and its surrounds.
It can also be the stepping stone for a career move – or just a way to increase self-confidence. Whatever its volunteers get out of it, it is the local community that benefits from having its own voice.
But now it’s time for its audience to lend YassFM a helping hand.
The station, which started with a test broadcast in 1999, was born the year earlier when a public meeting was held to gauge what sort of interest there’d be in a community radio station.
Currently operating from a temporary studio at Victoria Park, near the Hume Tennis Club, the station is gearing up for what it hopes will be its final move – to a new studio next to the Yass Valley Community Centre. But it needs your help to get there.
YassFM board member Jacquie Tewes said that as its current lease runs out in September, it was now becoming urgent for the station to fit out its new home – but it would come at a cost.
“That’s why we’ve launched this big fundraising campaign,” she said. “Without this new studio, YassFM cannot continue to deliver services to the community.
“Once completed, it will be a beautiful building which promotes community volunteering, provides local radio presenter and media opportunities and allows for community radio education, training and development.”
YassFM broadcasts across the Yass Valley, from the centre of town out as far as Jugiong, Wee Jasper, Harden and from the north of Canberra to the west of Goulburn.
While the station has secured a NSW Government grant of $50,000 for the shell of the studio, an additional $40,000 is needed to create the foundation, internal fitout, electricals and plumbing.
Ms Tewes said the community could show its support for the station in a variety of ways, ranging from designing a new T-shirt logo to becoming a sponsor on the honour board to a crowd-funding campaign launched next month, which will include a radiothon, studio tours and a garage sale.
Ms Tewes said a community radio station was vital for a community like Yass – and ensuring it could broadcast at all times, with the latest equipment, was equally as crucial.
“ABC Radio is the official broadcaster in times of emergency,” she said. “But we work with them at those times, because no one knows the local area like locals do. What we do is share that information, but put it into a local context.”
YassFM has about 20 volunteers, but more people are needed to help it raise the funds needed to outfit the new studio with the best equipment possible.
“About 95 percent of our volunteers are broadcasters,” she said. “But there are people behind the scenes too that make it all possible. Many of them are professional people who share their skills with others. People who do the technical side of things, others who put the radio schedules together – we couldn’t function without all of these people.”
Then she said, were the people who made the music magic happen. From programs titled ‘Good Morning Country’ first thing to ‘Overnight Classics’ – with everything from classical to retro music in between.
“What we would like to see is the Yass community show its support for community radio by taking part in some of the fundraising activities,” Ms Tewes said. “Whether it’s buying a raffle ticket, entering the T-shirt design competition, promoting their business on air or just celebrate with us over the June long weekend, we would like to invite everyone to become involved.”
One of the key fundraisers is the YassFM T-shirt design competition where businesses can win a $300 voucher or a cash prize of $150. The winning design, which will be featured as part of the fundraising campaign, will be judged by the YassFM board and a local artist. Ms Tewes said it should reflect the community, radio and YassFM and include its slogan, “Your voice in the Valley”.
Entry to the logo contest is free but donations are welcome. More information is available on the website.
For more information on how you can be involved with YassFM, email: [email protected] or call 02 6226 5266.