Bharathi Rajendran

Community Radio Volunteer of the Year - People's Choice Award

Danny Chifley, 20th May 2021
Congratulations to Bharathi Rajendran from 4EB, winner of the inaugural Community Radio Volunteer of the Year - People's Choice Award!

Bharathi has transformed outdoor programming at 4EB since he began as a volunteer. These programs have allowed for a wider impact on the community as well as introducing broadcasters to a new medium.

Bharathi has been outstanding in bringing new broadcasters to the station as well as mentoring and training them. He is never short of time when it comes to providing technical advice and tips to the broadcasters.

His passion for community radio is highlighted through his constant willingness to partake in all aspects of radio from onboarding new team members, to organising community events, to outdoor broadcasting it is this passion that sets Bharathi apart.

His ability to tackle all challenges that come his way, mentor others, provide technical expertise and continually stay updated on all things community radio are nothing short of outstanding.

Listen to an interview with Bharathi Rajendran regarding the importance of volunteers in the sector, his own experience as a volunteer and what makes the station that he volunteers at, Radio 4EB in Brisbane, such a great place to be.


We would also like to congratulate all of the finalists and everyone who was nominated for the competition, and thank you for your continued service to your communities. Special shout out to our finalists:

Diane Hamilton (President) - Community Radio 4YOU 98.5fm

Diane HamiltonDiane has been a volunteer at 4YOU Radio for over 16 years and has been the president for the last 6 years. Her passion for community radio is evident in the many roles she takes on at 4YOU radio, from presenting, producing, marketing, writing grants, securing sponsors, to recruiting and training new volunteers.

Under Diane’s leadership, 4YOU received 3 nominations in 2016 for the CBAA Community Radio Awards, including the Outstanding Small Station Award.

Known fondly by her colleagues as ‘Dynamic DI’, Diane takes on any challenge thrown her way in her stride and with a smile, whether that be water damage to the station due to heavy rain or transmitter vandalism.

Cherrie Carlo (Office Admin/Producer) - RTRFM 92.1

Cherie CarloLovingly nicknamed "The Whipcracker" or "Whippy" for short, Cherie has been volunteering at RTRFM for 25 years and is considered an icon by staff, volunteers and listeners.

Cherie’s positive attitude, selflessness, and willingness to take on any task thrown her way is infectious. Cherie is never short of time when it comes to giving advice to others and is always happy to have a chat.

She always ensures new volunteers know they are welcome and have a friendly face in the office to chat with, have lunch with, or get help from. As the unofficial station mascot her presence and contribution to RTR mean a lot to the community.

She has an enormous heart and her determination to support those around her, in particular women and people from marginalised communities is hugely inspiring.

From producing her own weekly program to wheeling around a tea cart to provide the presenters some relief during Radiothon, her passion for all she does never wavers.

George Hulme (Volunteer Broadcaster) - Koori Radio 93.7FM

George HulmeGeorge, aka Uncle Georgie Kookaburra, has been a staple at Koori Radio for over 20 years, broadcasting his Saturday morning show ‘Koori Country Connection’. George is known for his passion for sharing stories as well as his love and dedication to all those in his community.

Through his humility and humour George provides an entertaining and informative insight into First Nations culture, community, and aspirations with his audience, allowing his listeners to be inspired and engaged. His passion for his culture is apparent and his ability to capture the attention of his audience is part of what makes George such a valued and cherished member of the Koori Radio community.

Brett Van Heekeren (Volunteer Producer/Presenter/Mentor) - 2MCE

Brett Van HeekerenBrett van Heekeren has been a stalwart of Bathurst community radio station 2MCE-FM since the early 1980s and was one of the original student radio coordinators as he studied his degree.  Brett’s incredible leadership, ability to guide others, as well as his desire to help all those around him, are part of why he is such an outstanding member of the 2MCE family.

Brett led the development of Community Drive, 2MCE’s daily news programme. He also chairs the programming committee and the sponsorship and fundraising sub-committee. Brett has tirelessly worked to better the station by writing and producing sponsorship posts, writing programme promotions, onboarding interns, and training other volunteers, as well as producing and presenting a weekly alternative eighties music show.

Brett continues to inspire and connect with his community in the Bathurst and orange area through his distinct local content. Brett has recently produced two incredible programs in ‘Blokes Don’t Talk’ and ‘Pillars of Bathurst’, all while continuing to mentor those around him.

Terecia Page (Station Manager/Secretary) - Apple 98.5 FM - Bacchus Marsh and Moorabool Community Radio

Terecia PageSince joining the Apple team in 2017, Terecia has made an incredible impact through her efforts in fundraising, successfully writing and obtaining grant applications and obtaining new sponsorships.

Terecia is constantly encouraging others to step outside their comfort zone and get involved in station life. Her passion for outside broadcasting has helped boost the profile of the station in the wider community as well as provide a new engaging environment for the team.

Terecia continues to inspire all those around her with his positivity and engaging nature. She never fails to support other members of the team as well as take on any task that comes her way, big or small.

Her positive spirit and genuine care for all those at 3APL were an integral part of maintaining morale during lockdown. She not only personally reached out to many members of staff to send messages of hope and inspiration, but also organised zoom social events and trivia nights as a way to keep the team connected. All of which are examples of her passion and dedication to all she does.

Darryn Capes-Davis (Deputy Chair/Presenter) - Alive 90.5 FM

Darryn Capes DavisDarryn Capes-Davis is an outstanding member of the community and station volunteer. When help is needed, Darryn is the person to go to. His enthusiastic, can do attitude and positivity as well as his passion for helping others achieve their goals is what makes him such an incredible presence at Alive 90.5.

Drawing on his experience and expertise Darryn continually engages people at all levels, inspires and provides guidance to all those around him. Darryn’s tireless efforts in fundraising and incredible support of the Education Committee at Alive 90.5 inspire others to get involved and show their support, ultimately contributing to the success of these initiatives at Alive90.5.

Darryn’s skills go beyond that of his technical expertise as he goes above and beyond to support all facets of community radio by creating web pages, online enrolment facilities as well as liaising with local council for major events to truly be a part of all aspects of life at Alive90.5.

Orietta Wheatley (Broadcaster/Trainer) - 3ZZZ

Orietta WheatleyOrietta has been an integral part of the MCE family since 1995, a member of board for the past 9 years and a member of the MCBG committee for over a decade, her various roles as secretary, deputy convenor and convenor highlight her commitment and dedication to all things community radio.

Orietta was a founding member of the program ‘women’s world’ in 2006 and remains the team coordinator today. Her passion for her community is highlighted through her enthusiasm in training new broadcasters and well as other team members.

Orietta was committed to keeping listeners informed and entertained throughout early 2020 and during lockdown despite her own personal health struggles. She is a shining light in her community and an incredible mentor to everyone around her at 3ZZZ.

Anna Italiano (Technologist) - 89.7FM Perth

Anna ItalianoAnna’s immense knowledge of IT networking and all things radio programming as well as her extreme passion for mentoring and training others have made her a staple in the lifeline at 89.7FM.

From on air disasters such as power outages and server shutdowns Anna handles everything thrown her way with a professional attitude and a smile, she never hesitates to learn something new and is always going above and beyond to update her own knowledge.

Her focused and passionate nature is evident in her ability to pass her knowledge onto others through mentoring and training. From the moment Anna joined the 89.7FM team she has been dedicated and motivated to bettering station life and is looking forward to producing projects that will enhance the station as a whole. 

To all volunteers in the sector, thank you for everything you do for your community, and it's been wonderful watching them show their support for you too.
And finally, thank you to everyone who nominated and voted for these incredible people, helping us celebrate #nationalvolunteerweek.

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In celebration of National Volunteer Week 2021 (May 17-23), the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia is pleased to announce the finalists of the inaugural Community Radio Volunteer of the Year- People's Choice Award.  


This past month we had stations nominate their Most Valuable Volunteers (MVV) as part of our celebrations for National Volunteer Week. The winner of the competition was Orietta Wheatley, who has volunteered at 3ZZZ for 30 years. Orietta has won tickets to the 2024 CBAA Conference.


As part of National Volunteer Week, today CBAA is celebrating Darryn Capes-Davis.