Indigenous Radio Makes Waves at State Library

Stories of rebellion and reclamation will be explored in a new State Library of Queensland showcase opening 4 May that celebrates the first Indigenous radio station in an Australian capital city.

I heard it on the radio: 25 years of 98.9FM Murri Country traces the protest movement of the 1980s and 90s when land rights were gaining momentum, and how the station’s powerful contribution to the Australian media proved a catalyst for change.

After starting out as Murri Hour on 4ZZZ Radio in 1984, 98.9FM launched as 4AAA Murri Country, Brisbane’s only country music station, and made its first broadcast on 6 April 1993.

Radio was one of the few avenues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to tell their own stories, providing an accessible platform to raise social and political issues such as the push for reconciliation.

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Country music, with its characteristic elements of heartache and storytelling, also resonated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, becoming a vehicle for tales of dispossession and rebellion.

Popular country music artists including Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, Archie Roach, Kasey Chambers and Uncle Kev Carmody have supported 98.9FM over the years.

Through historical photographs, ephemera and digital stories, this free showcase recognises the years of activism and commitment from 98.9FM to carve an important place both in Indigenous community as well as in Australia’s media landscape.

Exhibition highlights:

Live broadcast and free concert featuring popular country music legend Roger Knox from 3pm on Saturday 4 May
Mock recording studio with mixing desk and recording equipment
Story and legacy of the late Tiga Bayles (presenter of the iconic ‘Let’s Talk’ segment for 15 years)
Historical photos of the studio, early broadcasts, key personalities and events
Historical and contemporary posters, stickers and merchandise