Capital Connect community radio a vital link for lonely, says Murdoch research


Station volunteers Alan Giles, Noel Bonney, Lorraine Wincomb, Eleanor Byrne, Myrna O'Meara and Terry Spence.
Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au   d467261
Station volunteers Alan Giles, Noel Bonney, Lorraine Wincomb, Eleanor Byrne, Myrna O'Meara and Terry Spence. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d467261

COMMUNITY radio can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation, according to a new report researched by Murdoch University senior lecturer Simon Order.

One third of Australians experience loneliness at some point in their life with as many as 10 per cent feeling isolated in any given year.

Dr Order’s research report The Joy of Social Connection describes participation in community radio as “the perfect antidote to loneliness”.

It is a view shared by Wireless Hill-based Capital Community Radio, which has been broadcasting content specifically for Perth’s seniors since 2003.

Now firmly established as 101.7FM and Capital Digital, the radio station boasts more than 80 volunteers.

Station presenter and spokesman Alan Giles said the volunteers were acutely aware that one of the most important roles of a community radio station was reaching out to seniors who live alone and establishing personal contact with them.

“It is quite remarkable just how many telephone calls Capital Radio receives each day and it is quite evident that among them are many callers who are genuinely lonely,” Mr Giles said.

“Our producers talk with them at length, listen to their stories and engage with them. We know that it helps.”

In September 2002, the City of Melville granted Capital Community Radio a lease for its current Wireless Hill premises.

In 2009, the station successfully applied to move to the vacant 101.7FM frequency, allowing it to reach a much wider audience.

It is also broadcast digitally and can be streamed online.

The station estimates it reaches between 80,000 and 100,000 people every week, some as far away as the US.