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SWR announcer Paul Rands. SWR announcer Paul Rands. Featured
30 September 2021 Posted by 


Community news never more important
WHILE COVID-19 has changed life dramatically, the demand for community news has never been more important, with one community radio station finding creative ways to keep their vital service going.

Being in Blacktown, a COVID hit spot has forced SWR 99.9 to adapt to the new world of COVID while continuing to deliver its news and cultural programs to the community. 
The high-tech station has set up broadcasters from home to get through the pandemic.
SWR 99.9 FM Chairman Alex Agaciak said despite the changes, the station is in a strong position to continue broadcasting.                                                                            
“COVID-19 has severely impacted community radio right around the country,” Mr Agaciak said. “We’ve been fortunate. A lot of stations have been hit a lot harder than us. As soon as all this started, we put our own restrictions and guidelines in place.
“We’ve got some great techs here behind the scenes that have helped out, and a membership of dedicated volunteers who were determined to keep broadcasting. 
“As a result, 80% of our broadcasters have been able to set up at home and can remotely get their shows on air. It just goes to show the passion in community radio,” he said.
He said modern technology had been a great benefit to the station in continuing its service.
“I’ve been here close to 15 years now, and you couldn’t even imagine doing anything like this 15 years ago, we would’ve just had to hit the switch and run the station on automation until it all finished,” he said.
“These days it’s amazing what you can do, but you need passionate & committed members, which fortunately SWR has in spades”
That passion and commitment to community was recognised earlier this year with a Parliamentary Speech by State Member for Blacktown, Stephen Bali.
It has also seen SWR 99.9’s listener base grow to an estimated 200,000 listeners a week.
According to the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA), close to six million listeners tune into community radio every week.
Mr Agaiciak said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the importance of local stations like SWR.
“The thirst for local content and local news has been there for a while and I think it’s even more relevant now people are spending more time in their local community more than they’ve ever been,” he said.
NOTE: SWR999 is a local media partner of the Blacktown News.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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