TEABBA is QRAM’s sister network and the premier Aboriginal Radio broadcaster in the Northern Territory. A significant milestone was achieved on this year, when TEABBA celebrated 30 years of broadcasting to Top End Aboriginal communities and towns. The anniversary recognises their start up on the 10th of October in 1989. A large audience of well-wishers, included TEABBA board members, remote radio broadcasters, past and present TEABBA staff, interstate visitors, public servants and guests were treated to a night of entertainment and food.
MC for the night was Kelly Baylis. Kelly, well known to listeners in remote communities, began a 25-year working career at aged 14 at TEABBA.
The evening began with a welcome to country by Jeannine McClellan, from Larrakia Nation.
TEABBA General Manager Don Baylis thanked everyone involved for the support that TEABBA has received by the various Commonwealth Departments for their oversight and funding contributions. Don and office manager Robin Regattieri thanked the staff for their commitment, for spending long hours away from home on the roads, maintaining and training broadcasters in some of the remotest locations in the country.
The TEABBA story, so far is one of commitment, passion, pride, struggle, adversity, inspiration and resilience. Beginning from its roots as a fledgling Radio station, they began broadcasting on the call sign “Radio Rum Jungle” from Bachelor, situated 100 km south of Darwin.
From these very humble beginnings, and as the demand on services increased, Radio Rum Jungle out grew its modest accommodation and a decision was made to relocate to Darwin. The move gave better access to organisations, enhanced communication connectivity for its growing satellite network and extended training facilities. The move to Darwin was popular with the communities, as TEABBA became “the head office” and go to place when people were in town keeping connected to country.
TEABBA has now begun an extensive upgrade to its systems, as it rolls out the “Black Star,Wide Area Network Model”, or Black Star WAN, the scaleable and replicable system developed by Queensland Remote Aboriginal Media. has been fully tested in operation at Black Star for the past six years.
Jim Remedio and Gerry Pyne from QRAM were able to tell the TEABAA audience of QRAM’s experience and what they can look forward to. Since installing the system, there had been a marked improvement in maintenance with the need for travel vastly reduced It is rare now for stations to be off air, really only in some major storm events. The ability to switch between the Black Star WAN and satellite delivery ensures a complete 24-hour service, with consistent news and weather coverage.
WAN services have advantages over satellite broadcasting. Rather than all 34 stations with the same message, remote communities can be messaged individually, a huge advantage.
On completion the TEABBA network will be connected by broadband on its own WAN, linking together 34 remote communities and towns, including four sites in the Greater Darwin Area and a new site at Pine Creek township on the Stuart Highway south of Darwin.