It’s a wintry night on Otho Street. There’s a crisp stillness in the air in stark contrast to the sunny disposition within the STA FM (91.9) studio. Over a steamy cup of tea, volunteer DJ Mike Williams selects mellow tunes to warm the souls of local listeners.
“I play what I like,” he says. “I satisfy myself first and foremost, but find that others also enjoy my varied tastes from the Sixties to the Eighties and even the naughty Nineties. We try to promote local artists as much as we can.”
It is a rudimentary studio, Mr Williams is a one-man show doing the production, sound engineering, editing, sponsorship presentations all by himself and enjoying every moment of it.
Being a not-for-profit organisation, the volunteers are careful not to “tread on toes”. “We present programs that are not supplied by others,” Mr Williams says. He points to the variety of programs that give voice to local community groups from the Girl Guides hour to a weekly focus on indigenous culture.
Just because the station is a labour of love, manned by 26 volunteers on a shoestring budget doesn’t mean that the quality is lacking. They may be amateurs, but they have passion and bring a wide range of talents, skills and personalities.
“To be given a slot you need to prove yourself worthy,” Mr Williams says. Like the other presenters, he was put through an audition. Not everyone may get a show, but there are plenty of opportunities available.
Mr Williams spends hours searching for music to present to his audience. “If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it,” he says. And music has always been his passion.
The retirees studio “career” after making requests that proved a challenge for the station. Before he knew it, he turned his vinyl records to digital and had his own show. “It is an enjoyable way for me to pass the time,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.
His STA FM studio looks onto the Centrelink offices across the road, where he worked until his retirement a year ago. “Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined having my own show,” he says.
Tune into Williams’ show on Wednesday (6-9pm) and Friday (6-9am) on 91.9 FM.