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TALKING PBS RADIO FEST WITH PRESENTER ERICA DUNN

2015 PBS Radio Fest: May 11-24

Photography by Mara Williams

Tell us about PBS Radio Festival — when did it begin and what’s the objective?
PBS Radio Festival has been going on as long as the station itself, since 1979! As we do not receive government funding, the objective of Radio Festival is to keep us on air. We rely on listener support for the lion’s share of our income.

What does a typical day at the office during the fest look/sound like?
About 400 dedicated volunteers and a small team of professional staff run PBS. During Radio Festival there is a buzz about the office, with even more folks than normal coming and going, manning the phone room, coming in for interviews and announcers helping out on different shows. While it’s hectic it’s one of my favourite times of the year — everyone is busy and running at full steam but there’s always the chance to bump into someone in the PBS family you haven’t seen for a while.

Explain the process if listeners wish to support and get on board?
It’s easy. You call 84151067 and speak to the friendly person on the other end. Alternatively, you can visit www.pbsfm.org.au and follow the links to sign up as a member.

PBS Radio Fest asks listeners to support by either signing up for or renewing their existing membership. What does a membership include?
During Radio Festival you receive a prize pack, which includes membership, a free CD, a bumper sticker and a discount card which has loads of member benefits from businesses all over town. Depending on your level of membership you can also get a PBS t-shirt. PBS membership entitles you to a home delivered PBS Easey Magazine twice a year, special member entry price to PBS events and exclusive member giveaways of tickets and CDs throughout the year. Most importantly, you get the good feeling that you’re doing your bit to keep a great institution alive and kicking.

Are there prizes for listeners that sign up during the festival?
During Radio Festival time we offer extra incentives for people who sign up. There are a number of incredible prizes including a Vespa scooter as well as daily prize packs to be won.

Why is it so important that listeners support PBS?
Without listener support PBS would not exist! Community radio is an incredibly important platform where different voices in the community are represented and local artists are supported.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working for community radio?
I feel so lucky to be able to be a community radio announcer. I love chatting to regular listeners who ring up every week and get excited about music; I love having local bands coming in to talk about what they’re up to; I love sharing music that I’m excited about with the wider community. It’s a whole lot of fun and I can’t imagine life without it.

You present Mixing up the Medicine – of PBS’ drive programs. Tell us a little about your program and how it supports Melb music?
My show is slightly off kilter. Mixing up the Medicine does exactly that — mixes up genres and jumps around different eras of music each week. I like to play investigator, getting excited about a particular artist or genre and follow that for a few brackets. We might start off playing 1950s rhythm and blues in Memphis and end up in 1970s Nigeria playing psychedelic rock. I also try and get local artists to come in and share some of their influences/what’s making them tick. It’s a lot of fun!

How can someone become a PBS presenter? What’s the process?
To be an announcer at PBS you can sign up to do an announcer course, make a demo and go from there. The key criterion is to love music.

What do you love most about PBS 106.7?
It’s hard to choose one thing! PBS has been a big part of my life for a long time and I have made some great friends. It has given me many happy memories, enabled me to meet some music heroes and keeps me in the throes of great records every week.

PBS Radio Fest runs from May 11-24. Help keep the station alive by signing up or renewing your membership via www.pbsfm.org.au or calling 03 8415 1067

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