Sonic Tonic radio series

Sonic Tonic radio series

Martin Walters, 22nd April 2015

Sonic Tonic is a four part series featuring eight documentaries produced by Swinburne University students. Each one hour program highlights the work of two students who studied radio production at Swinburne and is the culmination of two semesters of study, practical pieces and lots of sweat and the odd tear or two. The one hour programs are structured so they can be put to air as stand-alone half hour programs if that better suits station programming.

The series explores themes of culture, health, religion, gambling and work, and the documentaries were chosen for inclusion in Sonic Tonic because of their unique story content, production values and narrative structure.

The series was compiled by Shane Elson and Peter Marcato who taught the students in 2014. This is the fourth series of student works from Swinburne and they will provide stations with a range of interesting, engaging and entertaining stories that will work in any timeslot as stand-alone features or as part of a pre-existing program. For more information or to contact the program producers, contact Shane Elson at or phone 0413 597828.

For CRN subcribers:

Not a CRN subscriber, but want to find out more about getting content like this for your station? Read more here.


Episode 1 – Extras 2 – Wednesday 6 May at 14:04 EST

Documentary 1 - “Being a Muslim” (Mirlinda Lihari)

In the wake of the rise of ISIS and the universal condemnation of all Muslims by politicians and other public figures, her documentary, simply titled “Being a Muslim” takes us into the world of young Muslims who struggle with their identities and being able to ‘fit in’. Mirlinda says she wanted to embark on a journey to explore what other young, moderate Muslims like herself were experiencing. She says she wanted to focus on what its like to be a young Muslim today because there is a hidden story of denial, judgement and shame that haunts their community. A situation, she says, that cannot go on. Mirlinda was a 3rd year student studying Media and Communication at Swinburne University. And, as we’ll hear, she is a fierce defender of her independence and the right of young Muslims to be treated as individuals … just like any one else. Her documentary was made prior to the Martin Place siege in Sydney but with terrorism and ISIS still in the headlines, it remains as powerful now as it did when it was produced.

Documentary 2 - “The Future of Coeliac” (Tom Collings)

Its estimated that over three hundred thousand Australians live with Coeliac disease. The unfortunate thing is, is that many people suffer the symptoms but remain ignorant of what causes them. While pain and discomfort are often the most talked symptoms, living with Coeliac for a lifetime can be debilitating and depressing. Tom Collings and his family know all to well the down sides of having Coeliac. But as we’re about to find out, they haven’t taken their diagnosis lying down. They are actively getting on with their lives and promoting the latest research and treatments. While Tom says he’s disappointed a cure is not around the immediate corner, he takes the long term view and remains optimistic that a cure will be found within his lifetime. Tom was a Media & Communications Masters student at Swinburne University in 2014.

Episode 2 - Extras 2 – Wednesday 13 May at 14:04 EST

Documentary 1 - “Depression: No Laughing Matter” (Jack O’Halloran)

A 2012 report by the Black Dog Institute that says about one in seven Australians will, at some point in their life, suffer from depression. Jack O’Halloran is intimately familiar with the black dog and so his documentary “Depression: No Laughing Matter” is both a reflection and a journey. He says he’s realised that a lot of people that he knows are a lot more sympathetic towards, what he calls “our kind” than he initially thought. Jack says he wanted to tackle a topic he had some familiarity with and says that he remains optimistic that the increasing awareness of mental illness and depression will see wider community understanding and acceptance of those who struggle with it every day. Jack was a third year Digital Media student at Swinburne University in 2014.

Documentary 2 - “Football and Ethnicity” (Tom Pollock)

The history of soccer (football) in Australia has been marred by tensions between clubs whose members ethnic identity reflected the social and political situation in their home countries. While, in most cases, the ‘old school’ tensions have moved on, it seems that even today, lingering , historic tensions can spill over into behaviour that most fans view as unacceptable. The peak national governing body for soccer, Football Federation Australia, recognises the issues and is working with clubs to ‘clean up the game’. However. while the FFA celebrates the multicultural nature of the game and wants to promote it as a clean, fun alternative to the other football codes, some club officials say they’re taking a step to far. Tom Pollock was a third year Journalism and Digital Media student at Swinburne University and has worked as a sports journalist coving the A League and Victorian Football. In “Football and Ethnicity” he talks with soccer historians and club officials as he examines the changing face of “the World Game” here, on home soil.

Episode 3 - Extras 2 – Wednesday 20 May at 14:04 EST

Documentary 1 - “Finding Love Online” (Leigh Boag)

Leigh Boag explores the in and outs, ups and downs and excitement of “Finding Love Online”. Leigh talks to people who have used dating sites and a police officer who has investigated online ‘love’ fraud. As he was nearing the end of producing his documentary, Leigh said he changed his mind about the on line dating scene as he realised it wasn’t that scary after all. Like walking down a dark alley in the middle of the night, if you take risks you normally wouldn’t, chances are something nasty might happen. The bottom line, use common sense, keep your friends informed and if things look dodgy, then get out of there quickly. Leigh was a Media and Communication student at Swinburne University who readily admits he had no radio experience before doing the radio subjects last year.

Documentary 2 - “Subconscious Consumption” (Jessis Spiteri)

Jessie Spiteri is a closet foodie. Like us all she enjoys her food and likes dining out (when she can). But what Jessie is really interested in is the way social media platforms like Instragram influence our food choices. After all, who doesn’t start to salivate when we see a plate of perfectly cooked and presented food? But are we being taken advantage of? Is the use of social media skewing our perceptions of what ‘food’ is? Are some of us becoming ‘food snobs’ looking for perfection that can only be attained in food porn? Jessie was a third year Journalism and Digital Media student a Swinburne University and she has a go at answering these questions as she explores “Subconscious Consumption”.

Episode 4 - Extras 2 – Wednesday 27 May at 14:04 EST

Documentary 1 - “Food for Thought” (Adam Branson)

Its no secret that celebrity chefs can make millions from intimidating and bullying people – acting in ways that would, if done in the street, would see them arrested and charged. But most chefs are not like that. They don’t conform to the stereotypes that the media has latched on to. Adam says he decided to steer away from the sex, drugs and rock and roll hype and focus on what he considers the three most cogent aspects of  cheffing – the working hours and conditions, the celebritisation of the industry and ways in which chefs are taking the environmental impact of what they do seriously. Adam was a student enrolled in the Radio Production and Criticism subjects at Swinburne University in 2014 and has worked extensively in the hospitality industry.

Documentary 2 - “Gambling: An Inside Story” (Rob Demasi)

When tragedy strikes a family, the effects ripple out and become all encompassing. Serious illness, disability, stroke, heart attack – all these we, in some way, consider possibilities. But betrayal, lies, deception, heart break and shame, well these we only ever think of as happening to “them”, never “us”. Rob Demasi found out that his family was now one of “those” families that is included in the gambling statistics. It seems no-one had any idea what was going on behind closed doors and what manipulations and deceptions were being perpetrated within the family. As Rob says, the story we are about to hear is not unique but it does introduce us to the brutality that gambling addiction has when love blinds its victims and shames them into retreat. Rob Demasi is a Masters student at Swinburne University studying Media and Communication.

Facebook comments



Student Xpress is a new eight-part current affairs series produced at Melbourne’s 3ZZZ, on the experiences of students living in Australia, particularly international students. To find out more the CBAA put a few questions to 3ZZZ Assistant Manager Jan Smith.


RO-TV is a community television program, produced in collaboration with Rotary WA that demonstrates the ideals and objectives of community media. This paper discusses the pilot series of RO-TV in both a theoretical and practical sense. The production technique employed by the program and the experience of the program’s participants is explored in terms of the theoretical principles and ideals of community media.


Damian Perry knows very well that school isn't just Maths and English.