Gerry Terati Lyons, aka The Gman, has pulled the pin and is moving on from his long tenure as the Radio Manager at CAAMA in Alice Springs. QRAM acknowledges his outstanding work in our industry, his respect for culture and understanding of life in remote communities.
As the CAAMA Radio Manager before him, I had the good fortune to work with Gerry when he was a volunteer at CAAMA. I was impressed by his enthusiasm, his loyalty to the company and his work ethic.
Gerry was also a volunteer at community radio station 8CCC in Alice Springs, before he was engaged permanently as Program Manager and drive time announcer at CAAMA.
Gerry was able to build up a huge following of listeners, which grew substantially when he moved to the breakfast spot. Every morning he opened his mike with that bright and happy voice and that huge energy. His call sign would go out to all of the remote communities, with a personalised message to each community.
From when Gerry was appointed Radio Manager at CAAMA, he maintained the solid focus on staff development and training we’d built up over the previous 5 years. Under Gerry, CAAMA Radio had the most qualified radio staff in its history. A very successful partnership with Radio Adelaide saw around 30 trainees successfully completing Certificates II, III and IV in Media and gave Indigenous broadcasters the opportunity to move on to careers as broadcasters on ABC, SBS and other Indigenous radio stations.
Gerry’s achievements were many during his time at CAAMA. Besides managing CAAMA Radio, he also had responsibility for managing the CAAMA Remote Broadcasting Network of rural towns – Coober Pedy, Ceduna, Tennant Creek, Elliot, Katherine and 13 Remote Indigenous (RIBS) services, and also managing the CAAMA technical department. The workload was huge, and many others would suffer burnout, but not Gman – his appetite for hard work is legendary.
The remote services are situated in faraway places like Lake Nash or Alpurrurulam, situated 700 km east of Tennant Creek on the Queensland NT border and a round road trip of 2,151 Kilometre from Alice Springs. Keeping them connected is sometimes a logistical nightmare.
During his time at CAAMA he was also on the road in the CAAMA outside broadcast unit, taking the radio station to the people at remote locations such as the Garma festival, Barunga festival, Ceduna Oyster festival – a 3,376 Kilometre round trip – and the Coober Pedy Easter festival, just to name a few. He also was seen at places like Mutijulu, Uluru and Kalkarindji – a 3,296 kilometre round trip – doing outside broadcasts at community and sporting events. Gerry also co-ordinated live broadcasts at the Tamworth country music festival every year – a 10 day road trip – where he is well-respected by all in the country music industry. Throw in local community events, managing a team and seeking funding through grants and special projects and you begin to get the picture that the work load is more than a simple radio managers job.
And, oh, did I mention he was also the breakfast announcer – a role where all of his warmth and sociability is on full display.
This is a man who was dedicated to CAAMA, much beyond what is usually considered normal company loyalty.
I’m sure there are plenty of organisations out there keen to recruit someone with his people skills, with his integrity and positive attitude.
Jim Remedio, QRAM Director.
Jim was Radio Manager of CAAMA Radio from 2004 – 2010 and former chair of peak bodies NIMAA and AICA