3CR CRAM guide 2011 Radio’s always been big in new station manager Loretta O’Brien’s life. She remembers the present that started it all when she was seven.
‘It was a green apple-shaped radio. It was plastic. It probably lasted about three months, but it was like this amazing thing to get a radio. I remember going to my bedroom and putting it on.’
For a kid in a country town—growing up in Gippsland—radio was a connection to the world beyond.
Three decades on, it’s still about connection.
‘Community media is about building, developing, growing, connecting community. We all want to be connected, that’s why we tune in. And then connection can lead to action.’
For Loretta, it did, in the late ‘90s, when she joined the Jabiluka blockade after hearing about it on the radio on a trip around Australia. Returning to Melbourne, she shed the suit of a St Kilda Road personal assistant and took the leap into life as an activist.
With a long stint as campaigner with Friends of the Earth, a masters in public advocacy and action and six years experience running the 3CR office under her belt, in 2011 Loretta’s taken the helm of the full-bellied, rollicking vessel that is Melbourne’s most outspoken radio station.
‘The reason I applied for the job is I have a lot of faith in the organisation, a lot of faith in the staff working there, and a strong sense that you can achieve so much. And it’s a really exciting time in terms of multiple platforms for media.’
She sees her role, though, as more navigator than captain of the ship.
‘It’s mainly for me to allow the organisation to grow and develop and keep vibrant and fresh and at the same time preserve the value of what we have.’