Image description: A collage of five photos of diverse broadcasters. Logo reads "Audio Ability" in large aqua green text with a squiggly circular symbol to the right. Below in smaller black text reads "Accessible Training & Mentorships". In the corner there is text that reads "2022 mentors" .

As part of Audio Ability we wanted to engage mentors who were passionate about and experienced in radio as well as being people who were neurodiverse, have access needs or people with disability. We felt no one was better suited to lead participants through their journey with community radio than people with lived experience of disability.

Read on to meet some of the fantastic mentors we have on board for the project:

Jarad McLoughlin

Photo of a man wearing a green shirt and glasses speaking into a microphone
Photo of a man wearing a green shirt and glasses speaking into a microphone

Tell us about yourself and your experience in community radio/broadcasting.

If I can describe myself, quite simply I'm a forward-thinking, prolific, outspoken disability/LGBTQIA+ advocate, activist, consultant, advisor, freelance journalist and radio broadcaster who doesn’t refrain from speaking out on sociopolitical issues.

Diagnosed with Autism at 5 years old and living with other cognitive and sensory impairments since birth, I graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Media degree, majoring in journalism in April 2018.

In September 2013, I became a volunteer at Radio Adelaide 101.5 FM, which is Australia’s oldest community radio station. Over the past 9 years, I’ve taken on a litany of roles at the station, including serving as Executive Producer and Presenter for De-Stigmatised and getting elected onto the Educational Broadcasters Adelaide Board.

Can you tell us what excites you about being a mentor in Audio Ability Training Program?

Joining Audio Ability as one of its inaugural mentors, I see this initiative interchanging how the community radio broadcasting sector and the Australian media industry as a whole perceives people with disabilities as potential future presenters, producers, journalists, sound mixers/editors, technicians, managers and board members.

I believe this program is as a very unique opportunity to revolutionise how Australia’s disability community can have their voices heard and their lived experiences amplified on the airwaves, through mentoring and training the next generation, of both young and mature aspiring disabled community radio practitioners.

Becoming a mentor has given me a renewed sense of purpose and motivation in dissembling society’s misconceptions and inadequacies about what a disabled person can or can’t do with their life. To pursue a career in radio broadcasting, no matter if it’s in the community or commercial sector is a remarkable ambitious goal to strive for.

Tell us about yourself and your experience in community radio/broadcasting

Grace is an emerging musical writer and producer, who’s most recent scripted musical podcast Twinemies(finalist of 3 CBAA awards and funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation) charted top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, America, Japan, Singapore and Austria. Her work has been on the front page of Apple’s New and Noteworthy, top of Spotify’s Fictional Faves banner, and featured in BroadwayWorld. Some of the highlights of her past year have included winning the Virgin Australia Commercial Pitch Competition twice over, being a judge at the Australian Podcast Awards, and being a featured writer and panellist at the Byron Bay Writers Festival, the National Young Writers Festival, and Enqueer Writers Festival. She works full time at Fremantle in development, and works as a Tutor for Bus Stop Film’s Accessible Film Studies program for adults with intellectual disabilities at AFTRS on Sundays.

Grace Anderson

Photo of a person with long brown hair who is wearing glasses and a floral shirt and looking at the camera.
Photo of a person with long brown hair who is wearing glasses and a floral shirt and looking at the camera.

Charitha Dissanayake

Photo of a person in glasses sitting in a recording studio. He has headphones around his neck and is looking at the camera.
Photo of a person in glasses sitting in a recording studio. He has headphones around his neck and is looking at the camera.

Tell us about yourself and your experience in community radio/broadcasting.

I teach communication subject at the University of Melbourne.

My PhD research was about ‘Developing a new radio program model for the ethnic listeners in Australia’. My publications include ‘Your Radio: My Voice’- a book on ethnic listeners interests in Australia.

I have been serving as a broadcaster in Australia for over two decades and presently the president of 3MDR Radio station, Victoria.

I have awarded with national level awards, including the best ethnic radio program award. I'm a grant accessor at Community Broadcasting Foundation.

Also a podcaster for two Australian Government project, ‘Speak My Language’ and ‘Multicultural News Service’.

Can you tell us what excites you about being a mentor in Audio Ability Training Program?

Mentoring is an exclusive relationship with another practioner in the same industry, which shares both their experiences in a cordial manner. Most of the time mentor and mentee discuss in an informal manner.

Tell us about yourself and your experience in community radio/broadcasting.

Gemma Purves has been involved with community radio for almost 10 years, starting off as a volunteer at Eastside Radio. Since then she has worked across community, commercial and public broadcasters as a journalist, station manager, committee member and board director.

Before joining the community radio sector she spent several years working in financial services in London and a media analyst. She is currently the communications and content manager for 2RPH and is working on completing her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Over the years she has presented a variety of shows, from covering the graveyard shift, to Drive, Arts and local politics. She currently presents a weekly new releases music show on Eastside Radio called The New Thing.

Can you tell us what excites you about being a mentor in Audio Ability Training Program?

From the first moment she got behind the microphone Gemma knew this was the place for her. Since her first radio show almost 10 years ago, she has taken a great deal of delight in helping others acquire the skills to confidently participate in community radio.

Gemma strongly believes in the original ethos of community radio which was to provide a space for those who weren’t represented in the mainstream or national media. Whether this means giving a musician their first radio airplay or supporting minority groups and marginalised communities to share their stories on the radio.

There is so much potential and talent out there and the Audio Ability training program is a great way to help pay it forward and support the next generation of community radio presenters and journalists.

Gemma Purves

Photo of a person wearing a black t-shirt, sitting in front of a microphone and looking toward the camera
Photo of a person wearing a black t-shirt, sitting in front of a microphone and looking toward the camera

Glen Burns

A close-up photo of the head of a person smiling at the camera
A close-up photo of the head of a person smiling at the camera

Tell us about yourself and your experience in community radio/broadcasting.

I joined my local station 20 years ago and have been lucky to experience all aspects of Community Broadcasting, from presenting programs, building digital platforms and being part of the station's board.

Professionally I work as a Product Manager to help create new digital experiences. I currently work at the A-leagues, and previously worked for Nine, Optus and Foxtel.

Can you tell us what excites you about being a mentor in Audio Ability Training Program?

I am excited to share my knowledge and experience with others within the sector and to make a difference in their broadcasting!

Tell us about yourself and your experience in community radio/broadcasting.

Jack has been a radio lover for many years. He has been an Executive Producer for SYN Media as well as a Talks (interviews) manager. He currently sits on the SYN Media Board as the Secretary. He is also an Executive Producer with Southern FM. Jack has been legally blind since birth which has given him a greater understanding of the challenges that face the vision impaired community in accessing the community media sector. This was reinforced by his employment with Vision Australia Radio. Away from producing radio, he is also passionate about training people in understanding radio and sharing the appreciation he has built after being in the industry for eight years.

Jack Missen

A black and white photo of a person in a radio studio. They are wearing head phones and have their hands on the panel and are looking toward the camera.
A black and white photo of a person in a radio studio. They are wearing head phones and have their hands on the panel and are looking toward the camera.
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