When I think about my life in Australia, I discovered RTR FM quite late. I arrived in Perth in 2003, and it was only in 2010 that I tuned in to 92.1, thanks to a music course I did at TAFE. After that, I’d listen to it every now and then. In 2017 I started feeling a bit tired of mainstream music so I set the radio in my car to Curtin FM for a few months, to my daughter’s despair. Then I went back to mainstream music.
Recently, I found myself in a state of deep sadness, which prompted me to reach out for help. I won’t go into details but I turned the radio off in my car because at that time, I just could not tolerate listening to music, because I was certain that it’d upset me and bring me to tears – any stimulus seemed to have that effect at the time. Not that I am scared of crying. On the contrary, I feel it is healthy to express all kinds of emotions. However, I did not need any added triggers. So I went without music in my life, for three whole weeks. This may not sound like a long time at all, but when I think of it, it is. Most of us are exposed to music every day. I just could not allow that to happen, in an effort to heal, as I found music was too intense a stimulus. In part it was because I needed the silence while driving, which meant about 1 hour per day in total (that's the average I spend driving to and from work), then a bit more if I happened to drive to other places. Added to that was the time I generally spend with my headphones on, listening to music, generally a playlist, while running or walking. During most of that period (my sadness), I was not able to run, but when I did take my dog for walks, I did not listen to any music. I needed to listen to myself and if I put music on, I'd either get distracted, or I'd enter into a space I did not want to, as music brings memories and triggers all sorts of thoughts. I wanted my thoughts to sprout naturally, not as an association from lyrics or melodies.
Eventually, after a few weeks, I started to miss having some music in my environment and I remembered RTR FM. I recall thinking, ‘Hey, if I listen to alternative music, that could be ok because that is less likely to trigger memories.’ And that is what I did. Since then, I have not changed the radio station in my car, and even programmed my home radio, which I listen to sometimes at weekends while cooking, or doing house chores, to 92.1 FM. I wish I’d done that before.
It’s not that I dislike the other stations’ shows, but frankly, I find RTR’s much more interesting, in my humble opinion. There are a variety of shows on current affairs, from topics like the arts (ok, yes, I’ll admit, my favourite) to social activism (maybe my second favourite?), to science (including medicine and health), hobbies (such as gardening) and politics. Also, the way the crew interact with the public is very real and personable.
I wish we had more companies like that. I am sure there are a bunch out there, but still, it would be good to have more, like local companies offering services to local people. For that to happen, local support is needed. I am making a conscious effort to do that, so that RTR FM, who amazingly is turning 45 years old, can continue to amaze, inform, entertain and amuse future generations.