Towamba radio celebrates 20 years of community spirit

Towamba Valley Radio station presenters, Tony Ovington, David Gatrell, Danna Hadley, Amanda Moss, Anita Coakley, Tina Jansen, Oliver How, Maureen Volentras, Dave Bradford (Station Technician) and Pam Bradford.
Towamba Valley Radio station presenters, Tony Ovington, David Gatrell, Danna Hadley, Amanda Moss, Anita Coakley, Tina Jansen, Oliver How, Maureen Volentras, Dave Bradford (Station Technician) and Pam Bradford.

Towamba is celebrating community radio this week, as TVR88FM marks 20 years on the air.

Station technician Dave Bradford originally set the station up in Towamba hall and the Towamba Progress Association took up the narrowcast licence.

Broadcasters and community volunteers worked on obtaining grants for transmission equipment and to build the studio and by 2004, the community had raised enough funds to build the "radio shack", still in use today.

The station operates at no cost to the community and can be heard 24 hours a day.

There are currently 10 presenters on TVR88FM, the youngest being 11 year old Oliver, while the eldest, Maureen Volentras, is 80 years of age.

"All ages welcome! The young, like older presenters, gain skills in communication, planning and technical management, elocution, imagination as well as building on self-esteem," Ms Volentras said.

Tony Ovington was the first presenter on the station in 2000 and has continued to present a show each week ever since.

"The station has brought many things to announcers and the whole community, as the valley is poorly served as far as communications go with poor radio reception and TV only via satellite," Mr Ovington said.

"It has been of great assistance in times of fire and flood, bringing emergency reports to the community, and as it is next to the safe refuge it has been a magnet for the community.

Towamba Public School has had access to the station over the years, with presenters volunteering to coach students how to operate the radio.

"This has helped with their technical skills and their communication and some of the students have become presenters," Mr Ovington said.

"It's great to see 11 year old Oliver as a new presenter, as he brings different types of music to the station - each announcer has their own style, which gives the community variety."

Over the years, many music and trivia nights have been held to bring the community together and raise funds for the station.

Anita Coakley was first introduced to the radio shack 10 years ago when visiting family in the area.

"I was fortunate to spend occasional late afternoons in cahoots with announcer Pam Bradford on Drive Time - Pam's music list and knowledge of music is commendable," Ms Coakley said.

"My partner and l fell in love with this part of the world and moved to the area, which has given me the chance to create my own radio program.

"Community spirit is one of inclusion and music is a medium that relaxes, involves, brings knowledge and conversation and enriches a community.

"In response to the recent fire tragedy and COVID-19 we can only go forward with hope... talk-back could possibly break a lot of difficult barriers and loneliness in the community.

"We are a proud team and give many thanks to our technician who fine tunes and maintains the equipment on a tight budget," Ms Coakley said.

The Towamba Valley Radio original presenters, Tony Ovington, Danna Hadley, Dave Bradford (Station Technician) and Amanda Moss.

The Towamba Valley Radio original presenters, Tony Ovington, Danna Hadley, Dave Bradford (Station Technician) and Amanda Moss.

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