For the past four decades, beloved WA community radio station RTRFM has helped build the local music scene into the world-renowned force it is today.
The station’s annual 10-day fundraising drive, Radiothon, kicks off this Friday, August 11, and is not only an integral event to ensure the station’s future (30% of its annual operating income is raised during this time), but also a chance to celebrate the state’s thriving talent.
“We encourage people to become part of RTRFM by subscribing, which involves contributing a small financial contribution keep our 300+ volunteer broadcasters delivering unique, world-class quality content directly to your ears,” RTRFM Music Coordinator and Wednesday Out to Lunch presenter Will Backler told The Music.
This year the station reaches a massive milestone, first hitting WA airwaves as 6UMA in 1977, and there has been a stack of memorable moments since, as Backler recalls.
“Insert clichéd ‘too many to choose from’ answer here, as every Radiothon is a 10-day celebration packed with good memories. However, to pin down one right now, I'd go back to before I was even a presenter at the station.
“The first time I subscribed to Rok Riley's iconic Friday Full Frequency and she gave me my own personal thank you rap on-air - as she does with all subscribers. That was one of the warmest, most touching moments I've ever had in radio, or life, for that matter.”
Likewise, Tuesday Out To Lunch presenter Mark Neal recalls the buzzing atmosphere during his first Radiothon. “It was pretty special to have people calling in and sharing the love,” Neal tells. “It's a huge amount of money that keeps the station alive,” he adds. “Radio stations need money to pay power bills and keep the radio signal alive so people like me can come volunteer our time and hang out each week listening to tunes and introducing you to great music.”
Here’s Neal and Backler’s local band picks leading into Radiothon:
GRIEVOUS BODILY CALM
“Up-and-coming hip hop influenced jazz lords - each band member has exceptional chops, but they are definitely greater than the sum of their parts as they create evolving, blissful grooves. While we wait for them to jump in the studio, you have to catch these guys live to enjoy their amazing sounds (which luckily for you, you can at this year's Radiothon Party!).”
“World class garage post-punk right at our doorstep, channelling dark, desolate, undeniably Australian landscapes through their tones. Their album A New State has been one of the most popular Local Feature albums at RTRFM this year for good reason, and they pack a dynamic, addictive live show to back it up.”
“Stepping out in solo mode from the role we know and love him from, fronting local rockers Mt Mountain, Bailey crafts beautiful, catchy pieces that cover a range of genres, from folk to indie-pop and even stunning piano compositions. His recent debut album Silo is a must listen.”
“That new album… amazing. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and those songs are still rattling around in my cranium.”
“Super talented songwriter from Albany whose currently doing the rounds in the local scene winning people over with her charming vocal hooks and brilliant guitar chops.”
This band is calling it quits and it’s quite upsetting. Christmas Day At McDonalds, their 2016 debut album, was number three in my personal top 10 last year. Seeing them live is a religious experience, and now I'm not sure how we are supposed to get the right balance of scungy indie rock mixed with shirtless nerds singing about vegetables in our lives. RIP Hip Priest - you were the best thing to happen to WA since Roe 8.”
You can catch some of the state’s best upcoming acts at RTRFM’s Radiothon Party this Saturday. Head to their website for more info and to subscribe.