How I learnt about Community Radio and how to make podcasts

Recently I completed the Audio Ability course:, one of the many courses designed and delivered by the Community Media Training Organisation (CMTO). 

What is it?  

It’s a 16-week blended learning course comprising virtual workshops, face to face training with a mentor and online self-paced modules. The course aims to enhance the vocational skills, experience, confidence and voice of participants with disability in community broadcasting. As well as introducing them to the skills and processes required to create a radio program.  

My mentor 

All participants are matched with a mentor experienced in radio production and that’s how I met the amazing Jack Missen. Jack, based at SYN media in Melbourne, produced the radio show ‘Get Cereal’, a weekday breakfast program. He also worked in an advisory panel to help create a disability action plan from the perspective of his lived experience. This led to the development of policies and procedures for creating greater accessibility for people with disabilities at the radio station. 

The first contact with Jack was organised by CMTO via a phone call. He called me at the agreed time a week before the course induction. My first impressions of Jack were good. This dude was punctual and passionate about community radio.  And he could talk so I knew that I was going to learn a lot. 

The radio station sessions begin 

Every Sunday for the duration of the course, I met Jack in the city and together we walked to the SYN Media studio. He showed me everything that goes on behind the scenes starting with the heart of the station, the panel. Jack explained the workings of this challenging piece of technology as he turned knobs and buttons and raised and lowered faders while red and green lights blinked and flickered.

The panel – not a friend of mine

After that was done, I knew I’d never become friends with the panel so unsurprisingly a career as a solo radio announcer was out of the question. Jack proceeded to impress me further with his knowledge about the rest of the studio equipment. These gadgets were a little less daunting than the panel. However, you can’t produce a live to air show without being able to operate all this equipment simultaneously with just a flick of a switch, a push of the hand, or a scratch of the head.  

At the end of the first in- studio session, Jack asked, “Any questions?”

“Just one. Where’s the coffee? machine?” and Jack happily took me to his top-pick for coffee near the station.

The online component 

The online course taught me a lot about planning a show, using a run sheet and interviewing. I was able to put these new skills into practice during the weekly studio sessions. Jack gave me the opportunity to write my own plan for my own (pretend) show, create a run sheet and do an interview with him. It was a laugh a minute! Or more! 

Even though learning about community radio broadcasting was so much fun, I hadn’t forgotten my original reason for enrolling in the course. My goal was to create podcasts out of my blogs to make them more accessible to the blind and vision impaired community. Even though the course was specifically designed for growth and knowledge in community broadcasting, the skills I have acquired have taught me everything I need to know about podcasting. And now I’m on the way to podcasting my blog.

Footnote

Audio ability is one of the best courses I have attended. Thank you to the CMTO for giving me the opportunity to learn something useful that will keep on giving. In particular, thanks so much to Heli, Lachlan, Ugur and those involved behind the scenes for creating such a great course. Also, thank you to all the participants with similar interests who came together to learn, have fun and share on the online platform. 

And I can’t forget Jack. Thank you so much. 

My blogs – and now podcasts – can be found at www.pinholecentral.com

Click on the link below to hear a Recording of an interview with Jack Missen at the studios of SYN Media.

Photo is of Jack Missen at SYN media in Melbourne, Australia.

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