Image Description: Image shows three broadcasters, a male in the Radio Adelaide Studios wearing a green shirt in front of a microphone, a female in the 4ZZZ Studios wearing a black singlet in front of a microphone and a male in the 2RPH studios wearing a chequered button down shirt in front of a microphone, wearing dark glasses. 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".
What is Audio Ability?
Funded by the Department of Social Services and co-ordinated by the CMTO, Audio Ability is a project that will mentor, train and assign work placement for people living with disability in community media and creative industries across Australia.
Through a 16-week blended learning course comprising virtual workshops, in-person training, online self-paced modules and mentoring, Audio Ability aims to enhance the vocational skills, experience, confidence and voice of participants with disability in community broadcasting. Additionally, the project will assist participating stations to develop their capacity for inclusion, as well as creating accessible resources which will be beneficial to the wider sector.
In the spirit of ‘nothing about us without us’, Audio Ability is being developed in consultation with reference groups consisting of community radio station volunteers living with disability, training co-ordinators, station managers and other representatives. These groups’ invaluable input helps shape Audio Ability, providing direction for the development of resources and mentoring methodologies, as well as evaluating the ongoing delivery of this program.
By October 2022, Audio Ability’s program will be delivered to 20 participants living with a disability, with priority given to candidates who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander, or from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. Settlement Services International will serve as collaborators for the recruitment of Audio Ability.
Meet the reference group
Aaron Newton is 25 years old and is vision impaired. He loves politics and working on his show ‘Music Hitz’ at Penrith community radio station WowFm
Why does Aaron love community radio?
“I love community radio as it gives everyone a chance to come together"
Image Description: Aaron Newton sits in a radio studio behind a presenter microphone. He's wearing a blue shirt that shows the ASL sign for each letter in the alphabet. He has short black hair and is wearing a pair of over-ear headphones.
Annabelle Behan is 27 and uses she/her pronouns. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and continues to volunteer as a paralegal. Annabelle is a volunteer with Only Human, a disability rights and social justice focused show on 4ZZZ community radio in Meanjin/Brisbane. She has Bipolar Disorder and is very passionate about mental health advocacy. Annabelle loves electronic music, house music and disco, and is also a very enthusiastic beginner DJ!
Why does Annabelle love community radio?
“I love the camaraderie of the station, and the buzz after a great interview. I'm enjoying the challenge of research and writing stories. Only Human is special because it's hosted by volunteers who are disabled people, and gives us powerful opportunities to tell our stories and stories about our community.”
Image Description: Annabelle Behan sits in a radio studio behind a presenter microphone. Behind her is assorted signage. She wears a white shirt, has long brown hair, and smiles at the camera.
Carmen Flowers is a producer/presenter of Sandigan, a Filipino-Australian community radio program on 2RDJ 88.1 FM. She is a retired Biomedical Scientist in the field of molecular biology and oncology with Australian National University in Canberra. Carmen is currently living in Sydney but had enjoyed immensely living and working with Australian Aid Development Bureau (with her late husband George) in a number of developing countries in Middle and East Africa, East Timor, Indonesia and South East Asia from the late 70s to the early 90s. Carmen is married with 2 children and 7 grandchildren.
Why does Carmen love community radio?
“There is power in spoken words. In the scheme of things, Community radio I find has a big role to play in reaching out to people and giving them respite from the day to day existence of a mundane world - especially those who are recently arrived migrants feeling so estranged, desolate, isolated and lonely. “
Image Description: Carmen Flowers sits in a food court, she has black hair, wears a green shawl, has her arms folded and looks at the camera.
Connor Reeve has autism, ADHD, and dyspraxia. He love music, video games and movies. Connor has a beautiful mixed breed Border Collie called Luna. He lives in Yarraman (at the moment) and has a hard but fun life.
Why does Connor love community radio?
“The people you meet and the friendships you come out with.”
Image Description: Connor Reeve leans against an armchair, his arms resting across his chest. Behind him is his dog, Luna, who rests a paw on Connor's shoulder. Connor is wearing a grey singlet, is wearing a necklace of keys, and has short black hair. He looks at the camera.
Emma Ramsay (she/her) is a community media worker with experience in project coordination and training support. She is a musician and has worked in creative fields as a curator, performer, writer and event producer. She is committed to disability justice and working with the challenges of ableism at work and in everyday life.
Why does Emma love community radio?
“To listen, and create community radio is an enriching experience. Locally and even further reaching, it connects and grows our sense of collective duty, care and continuity in each other's lives.”
Image Description: Emma Ramsay sits in a home office, with a laptop and various photos pinned to the wall behind her. She is wearing a colourful patchwork jacket, headphones around her neck, and has frizzy brown hair. She turns from her chair to look at the camera.
Francis Szacsvay is a former broadcaster at Triple H FM, Hornsby Community Radio.
Why does Francis love community radio?
“Sharing your knowledge of the local community, engaging with the community and local business. All in a non commercial environment.”
Image Description: Francis Szacsvay stands in a park. He wears a white polo shirt, short black hair, and has his left hand in his pocket. He smiles at the camera.
Helen Gwilliam has been a volunteer broadcaster, trainer and, more recently, an elected committee member at 3CR Community Radio since 2008. Her broadcast experience includes three years as a producer/presenter of the Friday Breakfast show, two years as a producer/presenter of the national syndicated Earth Matters show, and 10 years as a coordinator, producer and presenter of 3CR’s annual 12-hour broadcast celebrating International Day of People with Disability.
Since 2011, Helen has been a member of 3CR’s volunteer training team, delivering sessions in the general radio training course for 3CR broadcasters as well as tailored training and mentoring for broadcasters with disability.
Helen recently joined Vision Australia Radio as Regional Radio Coordinator, working with volunteer delivering radio for communities with vision impairment and print disabilities across Victoria and southern New South Wales.
Why does Helen love community radio?
“You can talk to anybody about anything on community radio! It's the most diverse and interesting media sector, led by and for community members and organisations.”
Image Description: Helen Gwilliam wears a black shirt and glasses. She has light brown hair, and smiles at the camera.
Jarad McLoughlin (he/him) is a forward-thinking and outspoken disability and LGBTQIA+ advocate, activist, consultant, freelance journalist and radio broadcaster who resides in Oaklands Park in South Australia. Diagnosed with Autism when he was 5 years old and living with other cognitive and sensory impairments, Jarad graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Media degree, majoring in journalism in April 2018.
Since September 2013, Jarad has volunteered at Radio Adelaide 101.5 FM, which is Australia’s oldest community radio station, where he has involved himself in a variety of practical and technical roles including serving as Executive Producer and Presenter for De-Stigmatised and Packed Lunch. Jarad was also elected onto the Educational Broadcasters Adelaide (EBA) Board in March 2021, where he sits on the Programming Committee. And just recently in February 2021, he joined Fresh 92.7 FM as News Reporter on their flagship current affairs program, Wavelength.
Why does Jarad love community radio?
“It gives a platform for creatives and artists to develop and hone their broadcasting skills in voice presentation, content production and technical management, either from inside or outside of an on-air studio booth. I also love that it provides opportunities for disadvantaged communities e.g. disability somewhere to share their lived experiences.”
Image Description: Jarad McLoughlin sits in front of a radio studio control panel, talking into a presenter microphone. He wears a green shirt, glasses, and headphones. The orange wall behind him has Radio Adelaide branding.
Lana Zilla (they / them) is an Autistic, Queer and non binary artist living on Tharawal land in South West Sydney.
Why does Lana love community radio?
“Community. Connection. Collaboration.”
Image Description: Lana Zilla stands against a gradient coloured background, looking at the camera. They have long, blond hair, a gold nose ring, and wear a dark grey shirt.
Maria Eftekharhashtroudi is a producer-presenter of Radio Rizal on 2BACR 100.9 FM and Sandigan Radio 88.1 FM 2RDJ. Through her work, Maria promotes news awareness, harmony and cohesion, peace, women & youth empowerment as well as promoting the well-being of seniors through news broadcast and video news shown also in print NewsMagazines, social media and broadcast news.
Why does Maria love community radio?
“Radio broadcasting promotes awareness in news and updates, multiculturalism & cohesion. It connects people and places. It can promote peace and understanding between cultures by simply respecting the differences and similarities. It is a tool towards society’s harmony, cultural diversity on global, federal, national and community level aimed towards harmonious coexistence.”
Image Description: Maria Eftekharhashtroudi has her glasses on her head, is wearing lipstick, a black jacket and large earrings. She smiles at the camera.
Melaine Robinson lives with progressive vision and hearing loss as well as a beautiful guide dog and although they do not define her, they have helped her to have a great insight into the merits of accessing solid outreach services.
In 2021, Melaine won the CBAA National Features and Documentary Series award for her radio feature ‘Rideability’, which highlights the important role horses play in animal-assisted therapies, and the power of the bonds between animals and humans.
Melaine says of her ambitions with her work in Community Radio:
“I want my listeners to walk away feeling uplifted & informed. I want my talks to move people because they include people. I want to be a solid, dependable source of real, tangible, interesting information.”
Why does Melaine love community radio?
“Community radio gives us the opportunity to share people’s stories; it helps us to inform, engage, and educate others. It’s also a wonderful way to preserve history and share it widely.”
Image Description: Melaine Robinson kneels in a park next to her guide dog. She is wearing a red top with black jeans. She has brown hair, and is smiling at the camera.
Serna Ladia is a producer/presenter of Sandigan, a Filipino-Australian community radio program on 2RDJ 88.1 FM. She is a member and officer of various organisations like the Multicultural Women’s Reference Group, the Philippine Community Council of New South Wales (PCCNSW) and the Filipino Communities Council of Australia (FILCCA).
Additionally, Serna is the Public Officer and the Past President of Philippine Community Council of New South Wales (PCCNSW), the peak body of Filipino organisations in NSW and the Vice President-Internal of FILCCA, Filipino organisation Australia-wide. She is also a director of Filipino Community Cooperative.
Serna is married, with five children and three grandchildren, and loves her family.
Why does Serna love community radio?
“Community radio is a very inexpensive way to reach lots of people with various types of culture. It is a medium which is open and participatory, a very welcoming one. You learn a lot of things through the radio.”
Image Description: Serna Ladia stands in the middle of a gala event, with tables and bright lights behind her. She is wearing a colourful tangerine jacket, a white pearl necklace, and glasses. She has black hair, and smiles at the camera.
Steve Sparrow is an audio producer and presenter at Reading Radio 4RPH in Brisbane.
He is also a singer-songwriter and accomplished guitarist. His latest album, ‘Paint your Cactus Green’, received considerable airplay nationwide. He is also the owner and operator of Sparrow Sound Studio in Brisbane
Why does Steve love community radio?
“It brings people together and is a very accessible way of getting involved in the radio scene”
Image Description: Steve Sparrow stands on stage behind a microphone, holding an acoustic guitar and singing. He has black hair, dark glasses and a beige t-shirt.
Meet the project team
Kim Stewart completed her Doctorate of Creative Industries in 2019 looking at the experiences of people with disability in community radio. She is also Disability Advocate at Community Radio 4ZZZ 102.1fm and trainer for the Community Media Training Organisation. She co-produces a weekly mental health and social justice radio show, Only Human, with a diverse range of volunteers. She sporadically coordinates the Ability Radio Project (winner of the 2015 Tony Staley Award for Excellence in Community Broadcasting), which facilitates radio training groups for people with cognitive differences. She lives with a chronic pain condition.
Image Description: Kim Stewart has long red hair, glasses and is wearing a black shirt. She is smiling at the camera.
Giordana Caputo is the CEO of the Community Media Training Organisation and Secretary of the CMTO Board. An experienced manager, broadcaster, producer, journalist and trainer, Giordana specialises in the delivery of outside broadcasting and features production training. Giordana has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and delivers training to community broadcasters in NSW. She is the current Executive Producer of the CBAA’s National Features and Documentary Series. She is a member of 2RRR, Eastside Radio, 2SER , FBi Radio and 4ZZZ. Giordana is the former Executive Producer of FBi Radio's All the Best, previously served on the board of Radio Skid Row as Secretary and is a former 2RRR broadcaster. Giordana was a long-term worker and station manager of Brisbane’s 4ZZZ where she managed community development and training projects aimed at empowering and engaging marginalised groups through the media. She earned a degree in Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology and has produced content for a range of media organisations including 2RRR, Think + DO Tank, FBi, CRN, 4ZZZ, SBS Radio, Rave Magazine, The Australian Ballet and Media Monitors Australia.
Image Description: Giordana Caputo has blonde hair, is wearing a plain black shirt, and smiles at the camera against a white brick background.
Register your interest to be a participant
We are excited to kick off Audio Ability in early 2022. We are currently accepting expressions of interest for participants. Whether you are completely new to the world of community radio, or you're already at a station and looking to upskill, Audio Ability is a fantastic opportunity to develop your media skills and knowledge. Plus you'll have the opportunity to get hands-on radio experience and receive personalised mentoring, as well as additional support from the project team.
CMTO is seeking participants who:
- live and operate in NSW, QLD, VIC or SA
- identify as living with disability
- have an interest in developing skills and knowledge in community radio
- ambition to work in the creative industries
- are able to commit to a 16-week program, with flexible hours
- prior community radio experience non-essential
We will be launching an expression of interest form shortly. In the meantime, if you have questions about Audio Ability, please email [email protected]
Register your interest to be a mentor
Mentors are the other half of the puzzle for Audio Ability. We're on the lookout for passionate radio volunteers who are keen to share their knowledge and experience of community radio with one participant to be their assigned mentee. Additionally, you will take part in weekly workshops with the wider group of participants. While training experience is preferred, it is not essential, and every mentor will be supported by the project team throughout the course.
CMTO is seeking radio volunteers or staff who:
- live and operate in NSW, QLD, VIC or SA
- are currently affiliated with a community radio station
- have 3+ years experience in community radio
- are passionate about training others in radio skills
- identify as living with disability
- are adaptable, patient and accommodating, in order to work with those who have different learning needs
- have experience training others in radio (preferred, but not essential)
- are able to commit to a 16-week program, with flexible hours (approximately 3 hrs per week)