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December 17, 2015

Save Radio Adelaide. Please.

A lot has been said about Radio Adelaide, but until now it hasn't been said by Anthony Nocera. The Radio Adelaide volunteer and CityMag contributor talks about the indefinable things that would be lost if the station is allowed to fade away.

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  • Words: Anthony Nocera
  • Pictures: Lauren Bezzina

Radio Adelaide is in trouble. Its building has been sold by The University of Adelaide and its future is uncertain.


Anthony and Jenny Nguyen present The Range on Radio Adelaide every Tuesday from 4pm – 5.30pm.

There’s been a lot of media releases and media spin, but what’s been absent from the conversation – both in its public and private contexts – is the voice of the station. The voices of the 400 people from every corner of the Adelaide community that make up the station. For a station that has always been about people, the conversation has been weirdly devoid of their voices. So I’m lending mine.

The city is different at 2am on a Tuesday night, or Wednesday morning if you want to get technical. I don’t. It’s dead, though, the city.

As I walked along North Terrace I got the feeling I was the only one out, and there is this weird quiet about it that is suddenly shattered by a random guy shouting, ‘Oi, you walk like a girl, faggot!’ but even then he’s far away and it’s not too concerning because you remind yourself that this is real life and not that video on street harassment you watched in year 9 before you went on that whole year level trip to Canberra that ended badly. The video and the trip ended badly.

But this isn’t about that.

In 2014, I was given the opportunity to be part of the Adelaide University Union’s Student Radio program on Radio Adelaide. Every Tuesday from Midnight to 1am for a whole year I’d host The Midnight Herald with my best friend Jacqui, and sometimes some other people. It was fun, it was exciting and it was like nothing I’d ever done before.

We labelled ourselves a satirical news show and we might have been that, but the show turned into a space where we talked about things that mattered to us. We talked about being gay (me), feminism (Jacqui), politics (both of us, but also neither of us), sex (both of us, even though neither of us was having any), student politics (which shouldn’t matter to anyone). We made fun of everyone and made fools of ourselves.

We dedicated the song Short Dick Man by 20 Fingers to the Young Liberal Students on campus who came on our show earlier in the year and called the queer community a “cultural fringe group”. We broke stories – both in the journalistic sense and in the very literal sense of breaking them and doing a bad job of it. But it was funny and it was fun and we learnt how to be better.

I’m not sure if The Midnight Herald was good or if it was bad, even though it was fun. But, what I definitely do know – and listening back to The Midnight Herald has shown me that I don’t really know a lot – is that for one hour every week I felt like I had a voice.

I upset people, I made them laugh, I talked to people who hadn’t been talked to before and people listened. I know they listened because they messaged me about it and talked to me on the street or in my classes when I didn’t skip them on a Wednesday because I was too tired to go.

For the first time at university and, I daresay, my life I felt like I was a part of something bigger than me and that I was making a difference – even if it was small. I was part of a community and my contribution mattered to the people working within it. It felt great. I was given the opportunity to leave Radio Adelaide, but I couldn’t imagine a week without it. I still volunteer there today, although I get to host a show during the day now.

So I’m getting more sleep, but I wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t.

Before starting university, we’re always told about the culture of the place and how bustling and alive it is. About how we’ll find ourselves there. Blame the government or corporatisation or a combination of the two, but it’s not like that at all. It’s kind of dull and it was until I found Radio Adelaide.

It’s the only institution making the University what it is meant to be. And it should stay … no matter the cost.

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