Stories from closing our doors in 2020

MEDIA RELEASE – 27 March 2020


Our Community Radio Station 2bbb is another local business that has been forced to change its practices in response to Covid-19.  The doors at the Wheatley Street Studio closed in March for safety reasons.  Closure has meant a complete technical shift in the production and delivery of daily programming, with programs being produced in living rooms around the Shire. But for those of us who are tuning in and continue to enjoy local content, these changes appear seamless.

“It’s been a huge learning curve. Luckily for us we have quite a lot of tech savy presenters who already had recording equipment at home and were able to produce programs straight away. And then we have presenters on the other end of the spectrum with no equipment at home and we had to think of innovative ways to put programming together,” says Kai Ruigrok, 2BBB Board member and programming co-ordinator (pictured).

The newly programmed hourly home-based community news program that is happening Monday to Friday 8am- 9am is a seismic shift for 2bbb, particularly in light of the difficulties in putting together a news program from home.  Curious to know how this works, we had a chat to Kye this week to uncover the ‘behind the scenes’ secrets…..

Kye the decision to deliver a news program from home during the Covid-19 Pandemic could be described as courageous.  Why have you set the bar so high?

It’s a strange and confusing time that everyone is going through at the moment. And everyone has a lot of questions. Despite not being able to live broadcast, we still thought it was important to share local stories and voices. So I approached fellow 2 Triple B presenter Kevin Evans to share the load and we hit the ground rolling. We have been able to have a huge range of guests so far, such as stakeholders in such fields as local council, health care, creative industries, foreign correspondents, age and disability services, community groups and local chamber of commerce.

2BBB community radio across the Bellingen Shire is keeping us informed and entertained during the Covid-19 pandemic

Kye in his usual chair- pre Covid-19

How much work is involved behind the scenes to produce this daily news program?

It is all prerecorded. To keep things as up-to-date as much as possible we have been putting together the program the night before and lining it up in our on-air schedule. For every one hour news program we need to contact guests, research, record and edit.  On average there is around 5 hours of work for 1 hour of content.

And is the content for this program primarily local?

Hearing from local voices is extremely important in times like these, but the ability of seeing the bigger picture is important as well, and I have found reaching out to people outside of the area has proven to be quite successful. For example, in the past couple of weeks we have featured a former Nambucca Shire local living in the UK acting as our London Correspondent; we have been joined by a fella named Adam Voigt to give us advice on how we should be dealing with children through the current model of the education system and on a lighter note got comedian Mandy Nolan on the line to talk about crazy conspiracy theories.

Plus, we still touch base with quite a lot of familiar local voices such as Shire Mayor Dom King, environmentalist Mark Graham and key people in the Neighborhood Care Network.

How important is it to have a local news source at a time like this?

During this whole crisis it’s been interesting to see how much mis-information gets around the community.  The same thing happened during the recent bushfires. Either it’s from people reading articles, chatting in the street or even seeing status updates on Facebook and taking it as gospel. I can’t say that everything that we put to air is 100% true, but we do our best to get as close as possible.

What other new programs are happening now?

Josh McGovern from Lttle Kng is showcasing music sourced from artists across the mid north coast. I have loved having Josh join the team. I actually haven’t had much to do with him over the last few years but it was only a couple of months ago he came on air as a guest to promote his band Lttle Kng and told me stories of doing a radio show on 2 Triple B when he was 15. So when all the live gigs were cancelled, I sent him a message to do a local music show and he jumped at the idea.

Musicians and artists have been badly affected by the current situation with all live gigs cancelled. How important is it that we continue to support artists going forward?

It’s more important than ever to support the local and independent music scene. For a lot of musicians performing live is their whole livelihood and they have seen months of work disappear in a matter of days. We don’t know when live venues will open again. We don’t know if places like local pubs and clubs will have the same budget to pay bands to perform every Friday or Saturday night. And as for the smaller independent venues there is a chance they may never open again. So as a community radio station it’s not a hard decision on who to play on air- a well-known act like Ed Sheeran or Beyonce or an act who we used to see busking on the street corners or playing at the coffee shops for whom it might make a real difference.

Has there been any other programming changes as a result of the Pandemic crisis?

There has been quite a few changes to the on-air mix. We have added some great programming from the Community Radio Network. We’ve dusted off some past programs from our archives such as ‘Diggin In The Crates’ -a great, short-lived show which ran back in 2018 with local DJ’s Noodles and Joelism and have also dived into some old recordings of Songversations with Debbie Spillane. But I have found the programming is getting stronger every week with more people getting involved.

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