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Broadcasting Inclusion on the Air Waves

Located in the well-known Katoomba region of NSW, Radio Blue Mountains 89.1 FM is a not for profit organisation that is based on a volunteer community. The popular local radio station has been in action since 1993 and broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to an audience of around 75,000 people. It is funded through listener support, grants and sponsorship.

The key focus for this radio station is community inclusion, and features a live feature show called “The Ability Show with the NADO Team” which is aired each Wednesday from 10am to 12pm.

‘The Ability Show’ is hosted by participants from NADO with the help of their support staff. The show is designed to provide a voice for people with disability through a creative, inclusive and fulfilling outlet, whilst delivering a high quality engaging radio program.

In 2016, Joshua Abbott started out as a guest presenter on “The Ability Hour” program. Showing much interest and enthusiasm in the new opportunity, Josh continued onto train as a panel operator presenter. Josh was also working as part of the Tech Team and assisted in maintaining tech equipment as well as taking shows to an outdoor broadcast. He also worked on fund raising for the radio station which involved taking and receiving phone calls and learning about computer communications.

After training with Jenny O’Brien (support worker and radio presenter), Josh felt confident and excited about presenting his own show and named it “Blast from the Past and Back to the Future”. The new program was music based, with chats and comments from various speakers and studio guests. Its key points were to emphasise topics such as social justice, community supports, inclusion, empowerment and relevant information that may be of interest to service providers, people with disability, their families, friends and carers.

Josh is now on the management committee, in which he attends meetings and is involved in the decision making processes.  He quoted “This opportunity and experience has changed my life. Before I wasn’t doing anything and just at home, I was a little bored.”

Josh says he has learnt so much and has built his technical abilities, his confidence in presenting and public speaking.  He has also learnt how to organise a team and to motivate others in fund raising.

Josh is supported by NADO staff member Jennifer O’Brien. In late 2019, Josh was nominated and accepted to be on the committee for the Blue Mountains Community Radio.

“Blast from the Past” airs each Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm. You can help to support Josh by following his Facebook page.