Each Community Station is unique but somehow we are all the same. This was to be our one shot at seeing Australian Wildlife in the wild. Instead we found a community radio station.
Kangaroo Island is an island nearly 100 miles long off the coast of South Australia that has a lot of its land dedicated to national park and wildlife reserves. We had planned a 9 hour 4WD tour of some of the parks to find wildlife, especially kangaroos, koala and wallabies. But because we were hove too for 14 hours in the storm we arrived late. The parks are on the other side of the island and we could not make it in the time allotted. We were offered a choice of other tours. We took one that took us to the town of Kingscote, the island’s largest town (about 2000 people) largely because the route this tour took was most likely to allow us to see grazing kangaroos.
On the drive to Kingscote we saw no kangaroos but the minibus pulled right in front of 5KIx – FM, “Community Radio, Making Waves on Kangaroo Island.” The door was open but no one was in the front room so we walked through to the studio where we surprised Mike Cosgrove, the Program Coordinator and Gethin Creagh, the board chair. Gethin is an audio mixer (who mixed the first Lord of the Rings movie.) We immediately started talking radio. The station has 15 volunteers who program about 55 hours a week, it is gets programs from other community stations in Australia though “Active Radio,” a program sharing cooperative. The station has local sponsors and a small grant from the State of South Australia. It’s been on the air for about 20 years. Of course, being community radio, it has listener members. Volunteers do different types of music programming. They have just gotten a donation of some used digital studio equipment that they will be installing soon. I felt right at home at KIX, which is what they call themselves (the 5 is part of their official call, stations with a 5 prefix are in the state of South Australia.
I loved visiting the station but the island is pretty nice too. The town pictures are from Kingscote. Ozone is a topic
here because of the hole in the layer. I think that’s what the sign in one of the pictures below refers to. There is a big campaign for people to protect themselves. The slogan is “Slip, Slop, Slap.” Slip on a shirt, slop on sun screen and slap on a hat.
The driver was a delight, filling us in on island life, which sounds a lot like, well, island life. We know a lot about island living, including, and most especially complaints about the ferry service. He was funny and we could relate to a lot of what he was saying, although his ferry is only a 45 minute crossing to the mainland, but when it doesn’t run for a few days because of weather, well, we’ve been there. And there is the issue of cost, around $300 to take his car and family, round trip, to the mainland. Ouch. And that escalates the price of everything. I understand completely.
Finally, when I had just about given up hope, on the way back to the town of Penneshaw, the tender port (It is also the ferry port to the mainland) we saw a Kangaroo, and then a whole bunch of Kangaroos grazing. So I did get to see my Kangaroos in the wild.