Listeners on the Atherton Tablelands have a new radio service to listen to now that QRAM has added Black Star Tablelands 96.7FM to its stable of radio services across regional and remote Queensland.
Black Star Tablelands 96.7 FM is the first radio service in the Atherton Tablelands that has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as its primary audience. The service covers the major centres of Mareeba, Yungaburra, Malanda, Atherton, Tolga and Dimbulah as well as the Lotus Glen correctional centre, and other small towns across the Tablelands.
Black Star Tablelands 96.7 is a new step for QRAM, building on its network of remote radio services for audiences in remote communities, now united under the Black Star banner and programming. Since developing Black Star, our services have noticed a big increase in listeners, and are popular for their combination of music of broad appeal, news and local weather, and social and economic campaigns. This popularity has led to a demand for QRAM to roll out the service in larger populated regional areas.
Radio services are an important part of the Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap, a commitment by all Australian governments to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, with 6 key targets in life expectancy, health, education and employment. Radio provides an effective communication tool as part of the strategies in these area.
As the drift away from communities to larger centres puts pressure on agencies for social and economic services, so too does it increase the need for radio services in these places, so the Government’s Closing the Gap programs reach audiences of Indigenous people wherever they live.
QRAM has been consistently approached by agencies, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations and people on the Tablelands to set up a service similar to the remote communities. Using a formula that has been successful in other places in the network, QRAM applied for a temporary licence for the region. We received wonderful assistance from Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) who were very helpful working with QRAM’s young Indigenous staff to assist in the establishment of new services on the Tablelands and Yarrabah.
Black Star Tablelands 96.7 is located on a temporary QRAM RADCOM site in Ball Road, Malanda, on a frequency of 96.7Fm and 150 watts power. As the service develops over the next 12 months, QRAM will source funds to relocate the service to the Bones Knob site near Atherton and also increase the power to 2kw. Then the service will reach all of the Tablelands without any fade out of signal caused by the hilly Tablelands geography.