Community radio plays a massive part in keeping the culture alive for indie artists and creatives all around the world. As an indie artist, promoting yourself means tapping into avenues like word of mouth, community radio, social media and pretty much everything that doesn’t require a massive marketing budget.
It’s a labour of love. Passion.
The community supports the community.
I reached out recently to a broadcaster I found through AMRAP after seeing she played hip hop on her community radio broadcast and it didn’t take long to start vibing.
This blog is dedicated to my homegirl DJ Happy Gardener who is one of the many keeping the torch lit in the underground.
Big ups fam!
How did you get into community radio?
For years, I’ve been an avid listener of community radio programs on stations like Eastside FM 89.7, 2SER 107.3fm and Koori radio 93.7fm. Taking part as a volunteer in Koori Radio’s annual event Yabun Festival made me ponder how I could get involved with my local radio station.
As it turns out, these non-profit stations are run by volunteers. Growing up in Miller (Liverpool), I am proud to be from South-Western Sydney. There is no where else in NSW that has the harmony and multicultural diversity that South-West has to offer. I reached out to the team at The Sounds of Macarthur 100.3fm who broadcast to the burbs of Campbelltown, Camden and Wollondilly. I put forth the idea for a hip-hop & house show that highlights local artists and First Nations talent. After training with other on-air presenters, I was eager to get started with ‘Green House’ 7-10pm on Saturday evenings.
what's it like having your own broadcast
It’s crazy fun organising 3 hours of new music every week. In addition to making music flow, I’ve got to schedule the station sponsors and station ID’s, etc. – so on a Saturday night when things are getting loose, all sorts of things happen.
I’ve now been producing ‘Green House’ for just over 6 months and it’s been a wacky ride. The beauty is, I can play whatever music I like! With the opportunity to reach a wide audience, I feel the importance of raising awareness of the challenges faced by people of our local community and the help that is available from community service providers.
Dope! What a great message. So why the name DJ Happy Gardener?
I’ve always been @happy.gardener on Instagram but it wasn’t until DJ Elchino – Departure Lounge 2SER – dubbed me ‘DJ Happy Gardener’ as a guest on his show, that I thought I would roll with it as a presenter name.
influences, history, knowledge
My parents have given me their record collection with some goodies like Supertramp, Bread & Chicago. I’m now growing on that vinyl selection with some recent purchases including Jurassic 5’s Power In Numbers and Digable Planet’s Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat).
If you met me when I was 16, I was rocking a SLASH t-shirt and listening to Rammstein. I was using my sisters ID to get into concerts like Korn, New Found Glory and Karnivool.
Then, I finally made it to a jazz bar.
The 505 Surry Hills turned into a weekly visit which opened up my world to a realm of genres: Motown, Blues, African, Latin, Nu-jack swing, Reggae & House. To keep my program on Saturdays interesting, I’m always digging for fresh hooks.
There’s no doubt I’ll always have my favourite rappers – Chali 2na, Black Thought, Mac Miller, Russ & J. Cole. But who I am really proud of, is our homegrown rappers like yourself – Primitive, L-Fresh The Lion, P.Smurf, Sam Hunter & B Wise. So I try to blend rhythm and poetry with electric house beats to keep everyone smiling.
the grind is real..
During the week, my gig is at Miller Technology High School working as a General Assist .aka. Handy Woman. I am a qualified Horticulturist – I like to grow things! Previously I worked at the Australian Botanic Gardens (Mount Annan) in the Proteaceae garden looking after Grevillea’s and Banksia’s.
What inspires you to create?
As a creative person, it’s not a choice to create but rather a need to. I’ve always played different instruments and written music but never felt that being a ‘performing artist’ was my thing.
Any advice for anyone looking to get into community radio?
I hope to encourage others to get involved with community radio. It’s load of fun, you meet lovely new people and can use it as a platform to speak on issues which you believe are important.
I often muse on J5’s ‘Contribution’
– ‘Either you are a part of the problem, or part of the solution. What’s your contribution to life?’.
Conscientious community radio
Much love to DJ Happy Gardener for taking the time to share such a positive, encouraging message with us.
You can catch her 7-10pm Saturdays on 100.3fm The Sounds of Macarthur on her show Greenhouse.. which is 3 hours of dope hip hop and house.
As always thanks for rocking with ya boi Prim!