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I was working in a gloomy hotel when I discovered community radio. I would stare at a print of a lone daisy in an office for eight hours a day, occasionally napping on the floor and eating a lot of 7/11 sandwiches. I listened to music, but there was something missing – that feeling that you’re sharing something with someone, that someone else is hearing what you’re hearing, and not just the guests who would ask me to turn a WEDIDIT Soundcloud set down. There was this archaic radio in the office, dusty and with more buttons missing than should be possible, and one day I thought ‘Just what is going on Triple J these days?’ But I couldn’t quite get the dial right with all the dust on it and I landed, instead, on Triple R.

According to the statistics, over 4.4 million people across Australia are listening to community stations each week. It’s a bit surprising, really, considering that it’s so easy to hit a site like Spotify, or the thousands of podcasts online, but there’s still something that it’s offering that you can’t quite get from the world of digital. It’s not only based around music, but has ties to ethnic communities and religion, as well as music, art and culture you would never hear on mainstream radio. It helps too, that all of the radio hosts have that articulate and soothing Attenborough-voice, unlike the online stations that yell stuff like “Biiiig uppp! Purple Drank! #hashtag! Misc DJ on the ones-and-twos.” It’s so easy online to skip tracks and flick between channels, but there’s something very meaningful about listening to something carefully selected by a music-obsessed volunteer just down the road.

So after discovering so much wonderful music and so many odd, brilliant radio personalities, it now saddens me to know that community radio is at risk after losing out on the latest national budget. While the government says it’s committed to media diversity and have argued that they’ve increased funding to the likes of SBS and Triple J Unearthed, that doesn’t help the stations that are focused on local content, music and art. Now that community radio is facing a nearly 40% shortfall in funding, stations might be at risk of closing if they can’t get the support to switch from analog broadcasting to digital.

In the meantime, there’s some brilliant local radio shows here in Melbourne and it’s definitely worth sending an angry e-mail or two for their survival. So next time you’re stuck in the office, bored of your iTunes and tired of your Soundcloud stream, check out these shows, for the sounds of local and international music that are played and researched out of nothing else, than the love of it.



Ennio Styles and Cashmere Cat

After starting Stylin’ in 2001, Ennio Styles has curated over ten years of “soul, science and spirit” on his Triple R show. His eclectic playlists and passionate approach to music have drawn him a worldwide audience and support from BBC tastemaker Giles Peterson. He’s had an awe-inspiring collection of guests on his show, everyone from Q-Tip to Outkast to Roy Ayers to Hudson Mowhawk and even has a sound bite of Snoop Dog (Lion?) promoting his show. Alongside his international selects, he gives up-and-coming Australian artists a platform, and sometimes laughs at his own jokes, which is terribly endearing.

Stylin’ is on every Friday from 12-2pm, making it a perfect afternoon listen on Triple R.

If you don’t live in Melbourne, you can stream Triple R online.



Featuring the latest in electronic music from across the globe, Melbourne DJ Edd Fisher’s Tomorrowland is a worthy listen. Not only is it both strange and wonderful to hear the sounds of Burial coming out of your radio at 9.00 am, but also I love to imagine a grandma cruising to the local shops and really getting down to some experimental Detroit techno. What’s undeniably addictive about Tomorrowland is how it perfectly blends the most cutting-edge electronic music both from Australia and international artists alongside rich vinyl-only sets and classic soul and Motown.

After recently celebrating its hundredth show, catch Tomorrowland every Tuesday 9-11am on PBS106.7FM.

If you don’t live in Melbourne, you can stream PBS online.

Strange Holiday


It’s almost impossible to mention this Sunday afternoon show without mentioning Andras Fox’s own music and his work as the duo Fox + Sui. It’s easy to imagine that his carefully crafted shows are of music that has inspired his own productions. You’re are likely to hear just about anything, from a compilation of sounds of the Earth (did you know that NASA actually makes records of that?) to blues records and weird disco. All this, along with Fox’s own blissful and soulful beats. The common thread is that the playlists are suitable for “leisure, romance and travel”, but what’s incredible about it is that I can almost guarantee that you wouldn’t have much of it before.

They probably invented Shazaam after listening to Strange Holiday on Sunday from 4-6pm on Triple R 102.7FM and check out Andras Fox’s Bandcamp here.

If you don’t live in Melbourne, you can stream Triple R online.

Breaking And Entering


Focused on the sounds of the new and next, presenters Simon Winkler and Lauren Taylor curate three hours worth of the latest sounds from across the globe. Skipping between genres in minutes, from punk-funk to dancehall to electronica to local bands, they review albums and interview artists on the fly, and is a perfect place to not only listen to new music but to discover more about the artists too. With the likes of Grimes and Flying Lotus being previous guests on the show Breaking And Entering is my music-journalism-crush.

Listen to Breaking And Entering on Monday nights from 4-7pm on Triple R 102.7FM.

If you don’t live in Melbourne, you can stream Triple R online.

While this list is a small taste of what community radio has to offer and all the shows are broadcast in Melbourne, there are hundreds of stations just like this across Australia. FBI Radio in Sydney and 4ZZZ in Brisbane, amongst many more, have all played a vital part in making local music what it is today. Head to the Commit to Community Radio campaign website to learn what you can do help keep stations up and running. 

Keep up with ‘Ears Up’ here.