National Features and Documentary Series

Class of 2015: National Features and Documentary Series

Helen Henry, 13th January 2016

2015 saw another cohort of new and emerging producers join forces with the CBAA and Community Media Training Organisation (CMTO) to create radio features and documentaries.

The National Features and Documentary Series aims to encourage storytelling and some fantastic tales have come out of the 2015 series.

All 10 features are available for community broadcasters around Australia to use, either via the CBAA’s Community Radio Network (CRN) or online download at

One feature will be recognised as part of the CBAA’s annual Awards Gala Dinner, held in November. EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of CBX Magazine. Since then, it has been announced that Radio Adelaide's Sue Reece won this award.

Here we snapshot a selection this year's features and chat to the producers behind them.

Radio Pioneer Wound Up the Cat and Put The Clock Out

“You may be listening right now on your radio receiver, streaming on your tablet, or perhaps through an app on your mobile phone, but what may be hard to believe, is that around one hundred years ago, radio broadcasting didn’t exist”.

Producer Jane Arakawa (2NSB Northside Broadcasting FM 99.3) takes us back to that time, to reveal the passion of one of Australia’s radio pioneers, Charles Maclurcan.

TELL US: How you would describe community radio in one word?

It's the Satanic Verses, Love

Ruth Mercer lost her sight 20 years ago. Stella Glorie’s (3RPH) documentary is about a book group Ruth belongs to with 14 other selfdescribed ‘feisty’ women aged 63 – 93 years. All are either blind or have low vision and thanks to technology and audio books and they have found each and are committed to this book group that has been going for 15 years.

TELL US: What do you hope people will take away from listening to your feature?

“As well as finding it entertaining and enjoyable, if they could identify with some aspects that would be wonderful, and maybe come away with more of an understanding that older women and people with a disability still have something to contribute to the world – if the world would just let them.”

Stand Up Ladies

Standing up in front of a room full of strangers and trying to make them laugh sounds like a daunting task to most people. Now imagine being one of the relatively small handful of women trying to do just that, in a field still dominated by men. Producer Hannah Reich (Triple R) followed her friend Tash Rubinstein on a journey through Melbourne’s open mic stand up comedy scene – and witnessed the highs, the lows and the laughs of just being a woman and standing up.

TELL US: How would you describe community radio in one word?

“Ah very hard to find one word for community radio but if I had to choose one it would be ‘warmth’ - does that make sense? It's so welcoming and generous and kind and warm.

Red Dirt in Bondi - The Story of Building Bridges

Producer Meeghan Bell (3MDR Mountain District Radio) transports us back to Bondi in 1988, the year of the Bicentenary. And with a little help from community radio, the Australian music industry, and a group of people calling themselves the Building Bridges Association, springs a rock concert and double album - and the very beginnings of reconciliation. Strap yourself in for a ride of great music and be prepared for a few home truths.

TELL US: What do you hope people will take away from listening to your feature?

“I hope listeners are moved by the story of the Building Bridges Association, and feel encouraged to learn more about the complex relationship between Black and White Australia - so that one day, we can all be proud to call Australia home.”

The National Features and Documentary Series will return in 2016 and is open to anyone who is a volunteer or works at an Australian community radio station. Watch the CBAA website and eNewsletter for updates. 

This initiative is supported by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

This article was originally published in the November 2015 edition of CBX Magazine.

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10 half-hour features from community radio producers around Australia, available to all stations for local broadcast.


One of the first audio books Ruth Mercer read after joining the RVIB (Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind) library some thirty years ago was Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. The postman delivered all 32 tapes to her front door and announced “It’s the Satanic Verses, love”.


Soaked in inspirational tunes this feature asks, as the Building Bridges Association did nearly three decades ago, what kind of Australia do we want to call home?