Photography by Shannon May Powell

hope st is starting a radio revolution and everyone is invited

Meet the crew behind the community radio project that's putting the broad back into broadcasting.

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19 September 2018, 7:01am

Photography by Shannon May Powell

Radio has always been a platform for community, broadcast wide and featuring a group of different tastemakers rather than focusing on one genre or niche. This is the beauty of Hope St Radio, says its founder Pete Baxter. The station is all about bringing together a range of musical taste, without the judgement and exclusivity that usually dictates the music industry. Since starting last year the station has grown a cult-like following of listeners and featured everyone from local emerging Australian talent to international musicians. We spoke to some of the collective’s key presenters, about their peak music experiences and what role music plays in creating community.

Pete Baxter, founder

What is your first memory of music having a profound effect on you? Sitting up the front in dad’s church around age six, there was a worship leader named Greg Jones who played keyboard and sung. I remember thinking that he was the absolute coolest, and that being on stage playing music was what I wanted to do with my life. What role does music and radio play in creating community? I love the way free-form radio seems to take ownership away from taste, and put the credit back on the artist rather than the selector. There seems to be more acceptance of musical diversity than any other scene. How has music shaped the community you belong to? Speaking specifically to Hope St Radio, I think it has shifted the idea of belonging to a single musical scene. It’s made everyone realise that there is beauty (and shit) in everything, and that it’s ok to be into everything. What changes would you like to see in the music industry? I feel blessed that we live in a city where we’re able to run this little online station and that we exist separate from the ‘industry’. The obvious answer is more diversity, more risk taking, more free community events. What is your ultimate theme song and why? It changes a lot but right now it’s Jimmy Little doing Randwick Bells, It gets me every time.

Brooke Powers, presenter and DJ

What is your first memory of music having a profound effect on you? I sang the Bananas in Pyjamas theme song in a local eisteddfod when I was 5. I’m pretty sure I won. What role does music and radio play in creating community? People like music, I like music, I like playing music on the radio. Radio’s like playing music to people, so it’s a win all round. How has music shaped the community you belong to? I guess the community I belong to in Melbourne wouldn’t exist without music, it would just be a bunch of us sitting around playing chess or something. What changes would you like to see in the music industry? I’d love for Australia to have a bigger population so I could play bigger shows. What is your ultimate theme song and why? Anything by Amy Winehouse, she could sneeze into a microphone and I’d start tearing up a little.

Merve Kurtoglu, presenter and DJ

What is your first memory of music having a profound effect on you? It would be when I was very young and my mum was playing her Turkish cassette tapes really loud while she cleaned the house. What role does music and radio play in creating community? Because radio is free and accessible to most and not bound to being heard in a venue, I feel this provides a more eclectic collection of music shared to a more universal audience who are able to listen on their own terms. How has music shaped the community you belong to? Music has shaped the community I exist in through the readily available access to outlets of sharing music at gigs and on radio. Within that, creating connections with others who share the same enthusiasm has helped shape a sense of community. What changes would you like to see in the music industry? Plenty of things need to change, but let's start with more good clubs. What is your ultimate theme song and why? Lost Again (Club Mix) by Olley — it's dramatic and has everything I want in a song.

Jarman Cutrona, presenter and DJ

What is your first memory of music having a profound effect on you? I’ll never forget my Mum taking me to Raggamuffin music festival in 2008. What role does music and radio play in creating community? Unity. Music helps bring people together regardless of their differences. How has music shaped the community you belong to? Music just makes everything a little better. What changes would you like to see in the music industry? Less hate more love. What is your ultimate theme song? That’s easy, ‘Jamming’ by Bob Marley will forever be my theme song because it sounds like he’s singing about me, and I really like that guy. It’s forever my voicemail message too, so you can't really be that upset if I miss your call.

Tune in to Hope St Radio’s livestream on Mondays from noon til 10pm AEST. And keep an eye out for their events too.