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SPIRIT Program opens world for radio students

Radio training last week at 2WEB – Pheobe Bevan, organiser Irene Ulman, podcaster Boe Skuthorpe, Trae Wilson, Kruz Ryan, Shaunee Elwood, Addison Lollback, Jyelen McKellar and organiser Bruce Turnbull. Photo TWH

2WEB’s Noni Kuhner (behind), Samara Kelly and Siara Kelly, organiser Bruce Turnbull, Kruz Ryan, Savannah Bates, podcaster Boe Skuthorpe (at rear), Trae Wilson and Karen Vincent. Photo Irene Ulman

Bourke’s budding communicators had a chance to tell their story over the airwaves last week as part of the SPIRIT program, in partnership with 2WEB.

2WEB Education Officer Noni Kuhner took the students through their paces, teaching them the craft of storytelling for podcasting, compiling news bulletins, and delivering on air content for programs.

The four-day workshop and training was part of the SPIRIT program developed by Gold Walkley Award winner Allan Clarke, who grew up in Bourke and attended Bourke High School before pursuing his own highly successful career in journalism.

He founded the program to give indigenous children the opportunity to pursue their own goals in media, whether in print, broadcasting, or digital media.

As a broadcaster with a strong commitment to education, 2WEB was the ideal fit for a role in the program and has seen many students trained into great radio jobs over the decades.

Noni has been the dedicated educator for this year’s intake and said the workshops gave the kids a growing sense of confidence.

“The SPIRIT program allows the kids to come in and get behind the microphone to experience different aspects of broadcasting,” Noni said.

“They learnt about recording their own programs, putting together news bulletins and this time we worked on storytelling for podcasts.

“We ran the workshops from Monday to Thursday, with Tuesday off because of the power outage, and we had about ten students all from Bourke High School.

“It was really good to see them come out of their shell, because at first they were really shy and didn’t want to chat, so we worked on building confidence and what they came out with was fantastic.

“There were a whole lot of stories and discussions, everything from deaths in custody, all the way through to traditional stories of the Dreamtime, living in Bourke and their aspirations when they grow up.

“It was good to see a variety of perspectives – one wanted to be a writer, another wanted to be a doctor, one wanted to travel the world – and those perspectives are important and what we want to foster.

“It can be hard in a small community to see those opportunities and there is an old saying that if you can’t see that you can’t be it, so looking at all those possibilities was fantastic, to show them that you can do anything.

“Coming from Dubbo, I faced a similar challenge, that element of feeling so removed from the city and it’s so hard to formulate a dream, so to see these kids thinking outside the box and seeing opportunities that they can pursue is really heartening,” Noni said.

These radio workshops were funded by the Community Media Training Organisation and were postponed several times due to COVID restrictions.

The workshops were also supported by Bourke High School and 2WEB.


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