In our 2013 training course, we first met Sticks from Pormpuraaw. Trying out the option of a career in radio, he was taking to the medium like a duck to water, as we described in this story from May 2013.
Four years later Sticks is still the voice of Pormpuraaw’s Black Star service on 106.1fm.
Beyond the value of holding a consistent job, it’s an important role in a small community. Sticks is the conduit for important information coming in to the community and back out from the community to the wider region through the Black Star network.
Part of working in the media is the need to keep updating skills, particularly in relation to technology change. Just this week, the QRAM team rolled out the Zetta playout system in the Pormpuraaw studio, and pictured below is Sticks on the right with QRAM Network Co-ordinator Sai Matianavora learning to use this latest tech update.
These skills are not remote area or Indigenous-specific; they are transferable to mainstream settings. Zetta is increasingly the playout system of choice for major radio networks. Just last month the Southern Cross network announced they will be rolling Zetta out across their network, which includes the MMM and Hit Network stations nationally.
QRAM /BlackStar has been playing a pioneering and development role as an early adopter in Australia. QRAM has worked closely with the developers RCS since first installing a trial Zetta system at Normanton in April 2015. This helps us and RCS to ensure it can handle the unique challenges that a complex remote network places upon a playout system. QRAM Manager and Technician Gerry Pyne is part of RCS’s beta testing team, so stations around the world are benefitting from the attention and innovation of the QRAM team.