Radiothon 2021 - on now

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Deeper Read: Q&As With Some Of Triple R’s Off-Air Volunteers

17 May 2021

Did you know it’s National Volunteer Week? This is always a very special time of year for Triple R, as the station relies on the hard work of over 800 volunteers – but the past year has seen many volunteers needing to go remote or put their work on hold. We catch up with four off-air volunteers from among Triple R’s ranks to discover how they’ve stayed connected with the station from afar.

Nenagh Off-Air Volunteer Q&A

NENAGH // FRONT DESK VOLUNTEER

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’ve been volunteering at Triple R for coming up to four (!) years. I love listening to and looking for music from a variety of genres, and RRR is the perfect place for that interest and to hang with other people who like doing the same thing!

Some other things about me: I’m currently studying to be a library assistant (which has kept me busy during lockdown); I like watching movies, DJing, playing Xbox, and my cat Sabrina.

What inspired you to start volunteering with Triple R? When I started making little radio shows on student radio when I was 18, I fell in love with the fun and connectedness of radio. I volunteered at a couple of other community stations for a few years and then eventually applied to help out at Triple R. I was a long-time listener and thought that being able to have something to do at this station would be the coolest (it is!) and that I’d learn a lot (I have).

What does your role entail? I’m a front desk volunteer, which means I mostly answer your calls and help you out with any questions I can answer. I also join and renew new or existing subscribers; I type up the playlists from the shows that were on the day or night before and put them on the website; I help out with on-air giveaways; and I listen to [Receptionist] Zoran’s jokes!

Have you been able to continue volunteering remotely? I didn’t do much remotely for Triple R during 2020, which was sad – I really missed it! Recently, I have been helping out at home by typing up playlists for the website.

What do you miss the most about coming into the station? There is a lot. I often describe my weekly shift at Triple R to friends and family as “one of the highlights of my week”. Everyone in the office is super-friendly and interesting and everyone cares about community radio – something I also care a lot about.

I love doing whatever task I’m working on at the front desk while great music is being played on the airwaves from the other room – and getting to see first-hand the connection subscribers have to the shows, presenters and the station.

How have you stayed connected to what you love during the pandemic? I went on walks most days during lockdown listening to a mix, radio show or album. I made a few mixes and worked on making music, too – although it was nice just to mostly be a listener for a few months and not have the concern of choosing songs for the purpose of playing them somewhere.

Any special memories of listening to Triple R in lockdown? I often listen to the radio in the car, but I hadn’t driven in a while as I had nowhere to go... But when I finally did, I switched on Triple R and listened to On The Blower one Friday and had a smile reminiscing about my own time at Triple R.

Favourite artists or records to listen to while remote volunteering? “For You I Try” by Acopia. A beautiful debut release by a Melbourne band with big Portishead energy.

I’ve also been re-listening to the Sky Girl compilation by Julien Dechery and DJ Sundae that came out a few years ago on Efficient Space. My boyfriend recently got it on wax, so we’ve been listening to it a lot at his house.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experiences of being a Triple R volunteer? I’m super-grateful to everyone in the office who has taken the time to show me new skills here and there, and made me feel welcome. I can’t wait to get back!

Winatan Kidane Off-Air Volunteer Q&A

WINTANA // SOCIAL MEDIA VOLUNTEER

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m a podcast presenter, curator and coffee lover!

I’m a big advocate for representation and I’ve always understood that storytelling for the culture is a must! So, in 2019, I created the Bittersweet platform with my co-host Rahel to have our own space to talk about identity, culture, relationships and everything in between.

What inspired you to start volunteering with Triple R? As a podcaster, a lot of the work I do is centred in audio production. Naturally, I wanted to be around

a community of people that have similar interests, so I decided to join Triple R to meet more people in these spaces.

What does your role entail? My role is to create captivating content for Triple R’s socials.

I mainly focus on interviews. During the lockdown, I listened to interviews featuring a range of guests, from astronauts to business owners, musicians... the variety was endless. My role was to capture the most interesting or thought-provoking piece of audio and turn it into a creative soundbite.

Unlike volunteers who previously did shifts at the station, you started your volunteering experience during lockdown. Tell us a bit about remote volunteering.

In three words, remote volunteering was challenging, unique and fun!

Initially, it was difficult to find the motivation to work around a schedule and be productive from home. I’m so used to having a set workplace, outside of home, and a timetable to follow when it comes to work. But when you’re working from home, the lines are all blurred.

Over time, I definitely found my flow and really started to enjoy it. I was able to get creative with my designs – and for someone who isn’t naturally tech savvy, working from home afforded me the time to teach myself skills that I probably would not have picked up while working in the studio (purely because I would’ve asked everyone around me for help). I also learnt a lot about my working habits, like when I’m most productive and the type of content I prefer creating.

What are you looking forward to doing when you can come into the station to volunteer?

Meeting everyone! As I said earlier, I was interested in volunteering because I wanted to meet like-minded people. I really thrive off my environment and always find inspiration from the conversations I have with people around me. So I’m really excited to start going into the station.

How have you stayed connected to what you love during the pandemic? Through my podcast.

It was definitely a challenge staying consistent during the pandemic, because we usually plan and record our episodes together. But obviously, because of lockdown restrictions, we were forced to do everything via Zoom. However, something I realised during the pandemic (and this is me getting a little philosophical) was the importance of perspective. Although our setup did get a little draining, being able to record was almost therapeutic. To have a space I was able to jump into mentally and physically talk, rant and debate with my friend was almost like an escape from reality.

Any special memories of listening to Triple R in lockdown? I genuinely enjoyed listening to the interviews I had to create content for. The conversations were so unique, and a refreshing switch-up from the type of content I usually consume.

One of my favourite interviews would have to be the one featuring maestro Mindy Meng Weng on Good Fortune. She speaks about her identity as a Chinese woman, as a maestro and how she started playing the guzheng, an ancient Chinese instrument. Highly recommend checking it out!

Favourite artists or records to listen to while remote volunteering? This one’s hard… SiR’s Chasing Summer album got me through the first half of 2020, H.E.R. and KAYTRANADA.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experiences of being a Triple R volunteer? One thing I appreciate about working with Triple R is the level of autonomy I was given to be as experimental and creative as I wanted to be.

I worked closely with [Content and Communications Coordinator] Mia [Timpano] and I loved how much she encouraged me to be innovative and push past my boundaries.

Janine  Off-Air Volunteer Q&A

JANINE // MEDIA CLIPPINGS ARCHIVE VOLUNTEER

Tell us a bit about yourself. Triple R has been part of my life for about 40 years – yikes! I remember rushing home to listen to Johnny Topper and Stephen Cummings, and taping the best bits. Ever since then, I switched on the radio as soon as I woke up, and only turned Triple R off when I was reading, writing, recording or watching telly. It kept (keeps) me sane, happy and informed.

What inspired you to start volunteering with Triple R? I admit, it took some courage to volunteer – it was like asking Bowie for a date! I was in awe. However, I’d quit my job and moved back to Melbourne; it was time to be brave. I had to wait, but then [Volunteers Co-ordinator] Grace [Kindellan] rang...

What does your role entail? About once a week, I’d pore through a very special portion of Triple R archival material – the scrap books. Anything relating to Triple R, even a gig in a school hall in Frankston, was given a line in the digital archives.

Before lockdown, I’d read newspaper cuttings related to funding crises, controversy over content, rave reviews of Punter To Punter or Lawyers, Guns And Money, and was just approaching 1986 when COVID-19 hit. BAM! I wiped down the keyboard with disinfectant, sanitised my hands, and put the scrapbooks back on the shelf.

Have you been able to continue volunteering remotely at all or have you needed to go on hiatus over COVID? Hiatus (sob).

What do you miss the most about coming into the station? I miss being around people who love music as much as I do. Triple R folk are very enlightened and naturally curious, which leads to some interesting chats in the kitchen. (I miss Grace and [her dog] Lux, too.)

How have you stayed connected to what you love during the pandemic? I really don’t like Zoom (the worst four letter word), but I have zoomed when essential.

Phone conversations, poetry, art and music have kept me connected and distracted. Humble daily highlights, like walking through the park to see what was discounted at the supermarket, were savoured.

Any special memories of listening to Triple R in lockdown? You know, when Triple R megastars first moved from the studio to home broadcasting, the radio that resulted seemed more intimate and authentic. When mistakes were made, I listened even closer, willing them to find the right switch or button. The small fumbles reminded me of 1979, when community radio was a bit rough around the speakers.

Of course, after a couple of weeks, things got smoother, and you could hardly tell that announcers were broadcasting from their lounge room... or Archies Creek. I love them all, and I’m very grateful that radio was deemed an essential service – it’s a lifeline. Thank you, for your perseverance and steadfast community spirit.

JP Off-Air Volunteer Q&A

Photo by Prat Talegaonkar

JP // MUSIC DEPARTMENT VOLUNTEER

Tell us a bit about yourself. Hi! My name is JP Lilipaly, I’m 32 and I work as Artist Relations Manager at Chillhop Music. Here, I work together with our signed artists on developing many exciting projects – video content and artists’ retreats in nature, etc.

I have been volunteering at Triple R for almost a year now and it has been really great!

What inspired you to start volunteering with Triple R? When I arrived in Melbourne in 2019, I wanted to get more involved in the music community that Melbourne is famously known for. Right from the moment I found out about Triple R, I was hooked – always such good music and a really nice atmosphere that resonated with me a lot.

That same week, I signed up as a volunteer!

What does your role entail? I assist Simon Winkler, the Music Coordinator at Triple R, in working through new entries in our Digital Pigeonhole.

Basically, all the new songs that are released digitally are sent in via email – and I make sure that all these songs, including the necessary info, are put in a clear overview for everybody to check at the station.

Have you been able to continue volunteering remotely? Tell us about how you’ve adapted.

Yes, I’ve created a little workspace at home where I also have my studio. Here, I’m able to listen to all the great new music and be comfortable in my living room. But it’s definitely not as fun as being in the station, working with all the great people there!

What do you miss the most about coming into the station? The atmosphere, the people, the afternoon chats over a coffee, and the live performances!

How have you stayed connected to what you love during the pandemic? The pandemic has given me more time and space to develop myself further – reflecting on myself, too. I gained a lot of insight to put my energy into the things I really love, which are creating music and film photography.

Any special memories of listening to Triple R in lockdown? It’s always a nice feeling to hear familiar voices on the radio doing what they love – sharing their knowledge and love for the music with the community.

Favourite artists or records to listen to while remote volunteering? Surprise Chef – groove always on point! Keeps me going steady.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experiences of being a Triple R volunteer? Coming from The Netherlands and arriving in Melbourne, [then] landing at Triple R has been one of the best experiences, for sure.

Right from the start, everybody made me feel right at home and is always supportive. Much love to the Triple R family! Always a VIBE!

Love JP.


These interviews were originally published in the April 2021 edition of Triple R’s triannual subscriber magazine The Trip.