Spike, Kelly, Tony, Daz and Setariki
Radio by and for rooming house residents and the homeless with interviews, stories, focus on health and housing issues as well as music and arts from our unsung community.
Presented by Spike, Kelly, Tony, Daz, Setariki and James.
Email the presenters.
Awards: Roominations won 'Excellence in Training' at the Community Broadcasting of Australia Association in November 2007.
Roominations is “the only program on air for homeless people, to give them a soapbox,” says presenter Gerard Ahearne.
The idea for Roominations sprang from Roomers Magazine, a creative writing project for residents of rooming houses, private hotels or supported residential services in the Port Phillip area. Gerard Ahearne is a Housing Worker at Yarra Community Housing. He liked the idea of a participation project for the rooming house community and wanted to start a similar project in the Yarra area, without simply duplicating Roomers Magazine. “And because 3CR is the community station, it just made sense,” Gerard says.
Former Roominations presenters include Sam Chesser, Tim Stapleton, and performance poet Wendy Butler. They all took part in the Roominations Radio Training Project at 3CR, and found their feet guest programming over two years ago. Roominations was trialled over summer 2006 and now has been airing weekly on Thursdays since April 2007. A second training course for new contributors began in September of that year, bringing the new voices of Dale, Jimbo and Daz to the air. Those interested in training and becoming part of the Roominations team, please contact the presenters.
The rooming house population is diverse, and Roominations is not exclusively for rooming house residents. “Disadvantage would be a better descriptor for our target audience,” says Gerard.
This throws up an interesting challenge for the Roominations show. “Our audience don’t have radios,” says Gerard. “Homeless people don’t have radios.”
But Roominations is establishing community and sector links to help its audience access the show. For example, Sacred Heart Mission now plays Roominations in its dining room at lunchtime each Thursday.
The program’s content is as diverse as the community it represents. “We invite anyone to talk about anything,” says Gerard.
Sam Chesser, another Roominations presenter and a musician himself, has particularly enjoyed “having artists on the show, sharing their music.”
”Drugs are a big problem in rooming houses and in the milieu of the homeless sub-community,” says Gerard, so Roominations also explores grassroots level health issues. “We’re developing a community health segment with Dot Campbell, a district nurse.”
Roominations has also offered a critical perspective to the positive reception of the ABC series The Choir Of Hard Knocks, which Gerard describes as an example of ‘gesture politics’. “Middle class people think they’ve cured homelessness by watching a TV show,” says Gerard. “It trivialises issues, making them flavour of the month.”
But Roominations is in for the long haul. It’s informed by experience and made by and for people dealing each day with homelessness and disadvantage.
“It’s very rewarding,” says Sam. “I hope people are getting something out of it.”
By Elanor McInerney, updated by Dale Bridge