Boys Finding A Voice. Different boys in a radio studio, having fun and making radio

3Rs: Reading, 'Riting, Radio

Lachlan Wyllie, 28th September 2017
Produced by Damian Perry (Southern FM, Melbourne)
Mentored by Kevin Klehr (Community Media Training Organisation)

It's important that the general population understands that school isn't just Maths and English.

Damian Perry knows very well that school is also community outreach, innovation and finding that safe space so every student can stretch out to find their place.

3Rs: Reading, 'Riting, Radio deals with students that don't fit into the mainstream. They are awesome and funny and very off-centre. Their lives are ahead of them and hopefully you can see the possibilities they represent in the arguments and verbal jostling and game shows.

But mainly, listen for an exploration of some very talented students doing what they do.

How did I get myself into this?

When I applied to be involved in the National Features and Documentary Series, my pitch boiled down to:

  • Being involved in activities like community radio draws students into the wider world and make them better people.
  • The traditional education system doesn’t tick all the boxes in educating our students.
My plan?

I would take a few groups of unruly teenage caterpillars, put them on the radio and watch them morph into brilliant butterflies.

After two planning sessions, where one group called each other names for over an hour and the other talked about football and girls for the entire time, I wasn’t seeing any evidence of pupation.

Don’t get me wrong; at least three of the Year 9 boys involved in this documentary are destined for big things.

But my realisation from putting together this documentary is that there’s no great bursting from the chrysalis here.

They’ll be caterpillars – annoying and smelly and bursting with unrealised potential – and then one day you get hit in the face with a flapping wing and realise they have an app at number one on the Apple Store.

I think it’s safe to say that I have beaten that analogy to death.

National Features and Documentary Series

But wait! There's more!

There is a lot of audio from radio shows past and present in this documentary. If you want to hear the full episodes (go on, admit it, you’re hooked), subscribe to our feed here.

St James presents as part of the Schools program on Southern FM 88.3 from 7-9 Thursdays and Fridays during the school term. Tune in at the website. 


First up, Kevin Klehr, my mentor through this process, who sat me down in Sydney and helped me find the right voice for the piece.

Giordana, Andrew and Martin from CMTO, who have been ever attentive throughout the process, have helped me more than they can know.

My wife, who listened to this and said "No, that is rubbish, fix it." (she was severely jet lagged at the time. She was also completely right).

Per and Oscar - Year 10 students -  played Radioactive for me a number of times, with the recording stuffing up each time. They played Beautiful for me a couple of times, which I ended up cutting from the documentary. They signed off over and over again, until I was happy with their performances.

Ben, Conleth, Joel, Tristan and Ross (who has since left the country) were fantastic. Very entertaining and a lot of fun to work with.

Southern FM 88.3 (Sounds of the Bayside) have been providing the schools in the area with a voice since 2012. Sir Peter Kemp, Pauline O’Brien and Karl Bianco have been fantastic.

St James College have been ever supportive.

Connor Johnston saved this documentary. I'm waiting to see his first Doctor Who TV script filmed.

And Rami is destined to run Southern FM by the end of the year. Stay tuned.

This piece was made for the CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series 2017, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

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