Millicent based 5THE FM broadcaster, Rebekah Lowe, received the nation’s top honour for the Most Outstanding Volunteer Contribution to Community Radio in Australia 2014, at the CBAA gala awards dinner on Saturday 8th November 2014. The glittering occasion topped off the three day Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s National conference held in Adelaide November 7,8,9th.
On Saturday night over 200 broadcasters from around Australia gathered to celebrate community radio, the heart of media in Australia. Award winners told stories of programs they were able to produce and broadcast because community radio provides a platform for stories otherwise often left untold.
There are over 350 community radio station in Australia, staffed mostly by volunteers numbering in the thousands and provides basic broadcasting training for over 7000 people annually. (www.australia.gov.au)
Rebekah’s win was the only South Australian rural/regional award on the night with three much bigger Adelaide stations 3D, Fresh and Radio Adelaide receiving awards. The CBAA Awards have a strict criteria and are judged by an independent panel of judges.
Seated at the 5THE FM table, were representatives from Warnambool Way FM Great Ocean Radio, Nambucca Valley 2NVR and Salisbury’s 5PBA which coincidentally was where Rebekah did her first radio interview, with American Olympic Athlete Jo DeLoach the only man to ever beat Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis. Her media career began as a News Reader with Alta Mira, now Life FM, the Christian Radio Station in Adelaide at 19 years old. She plans to use her news reading experience to introduce a daily local news program on 107.7 from one of the newly built studios at 5THE FM.
Since that first interview Rebekah has interviewed politicians including Prime Minister Tony Abbott shortly before he was elected to PM, Liberal Leader Steven Marshall, Member for McKillop Mitch Williams, Rob Lucas MP, Geoff Brock MP, Federal Minister for Barker Tony Pasin, mayors, councillors, music artists, authors and many people from the wider community including community groups and service groups leaders to name a few.
The CBX said:- Congrats 5THE FM 107.7 – Millicent & Rebekah Lowe – well deserved!
Rebekah’s peers have this to say:
‘Having devoted 11 years to a station which was facing certain closure a decade ago, she is a true example of outstanding. It has been said many times by peers and community that she could be in broadcasting anywhere in Australia but instead 5THE FM faces a certain future because of her dedication to community radio and her passion for true media, independent in motivation for actions and commitment to community broadcasting values.’
‘Training others, sharing what she knows with others, helping others to feel the thrill she does at the microphone is often at her cost; but her delight in others progress is outstanding and unselfish.’
SA Liberal Leader Steven Marshall was among the first of many to congratulate Rebekah on her award and 5THE FM on being a finalist. Mr Marshall visited 5THE FM earlier this year and was impressed with the facility saying the broadcasting studio is among the best he has ever been interviewed in.
Rebekah’s roles at the station are many and varied with broadcasting her main love, but include sales manager – building relationships with local businesses; training all new presenters which has resulted in a much improved broadcast; working in administration to keep the books in order, has been heavily involved in finance, production, scriptwriting, voice production and has been instrumental in much of the upgrade of the station with planning and fundraising to name a few.
Rebekah is the longest serving 5THE FM board member and and is the current Vice Chair and she has also served on the South Australian Broadcasting Association Committee.
‘Broadcasting is her passion, community radio her love and what it can provide as a vehicle to assist the wider community – local and global – her heartbeat,’ said her peers.
The ladies of Fiji received 3000 bras and the people in Africa received 1000 pairs of shoes as a result of her initiatives through 5THE FM’s broadcast to the wider community of Wattle Range.
Rebekah travelled to Adelaide for the Award Ceremony after leading 5THE FM’s Outside Broadcast from the Millicent Show Saturday morning with Julianne McDuff anchoring the first live Saturday Morning Jukebox OB from studio 1 at the station and members of the team assisting at the Show. (see following story)
“To sit amongst these beautiful people on Saturday night, who all have the same love, passion, the same heart for what we do, is inspiring,” she said.
On receiving the award she thanked the CBAA, the other finalists and all nominees; said she was proud to receive this award and team 5THE FM would be proud too.
“5THE FM turns 21 years old this year and what a coming of age it is.”
Rebekah was recently the co-recipient of the International Lions Medal of Merit 2014 from the Millicent Lions Club for outstanding long term commitment to the station and the wider community.
5THE FM won the title of Most Outstanding Small Station in Australia 2012.
5THE FM was a finalist in the ‘Most Outstanding Small Station in Australia’ 2013 and 2014.
Rebekah was finalist in Most Outstanding Contribution in 2012 and Most Outstanding Training 2013 and was awarded the title of Most Outstanding Volunteer Contribution to Community Radio in Australia this year 2014.
In the past three years 5THE FM has been in the top four finalists six times in the awards, and national winners – twice.
Rebekah produced the winning State Bilby Award for 5THE FM for Best Station Promo and runner up Best Station Blooper, 2007.