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INTERVIEW: Jason Cleary on Gimme Some Truth & RTRFM

2 Dec

Ahead of RTRFM‘s documentary festival Gimme Some Truth, which launches at Luna Cinemas Leederville Friday 4 December, WAM‘s Aarom Wilson got talking with Jason Cleary about this last project as general manager of RTRFM, some of the good times over the years at the station and what challenges lie ahead.


What was the most challenging thing about working at RTRFM?
Explaining to the vast majority of the public who and what RTRFM is and why it is one of Perth’s best assets.

The most rewarding?
As above, and simply being in contact every day with so many people passionate and dedicated to the station.

Traditional radio has increasingly been threatened by digital, music aggregators and other technological and user behavioral changes, yet what is it about RTRFM that’s most helped it defy these challenges and keep such a strong listenership/fanbase?
The human dedication is what keeps it strong and that is community radio everywhere. Community radio audience keeps growing even under all these challenges but I believe it still offers a lot more than all the other platforms you have mentioned. People also forget that community radio is in digital, we podcast, we provide music listening and viewing experiences outside of just radio. This goes back to that human dedication again, because these people make all these things possible. A local intelligent voice will always be valued and have a place.

What do you see as the main challenges facing RTRFM in the future?
Just keeping the thing ticking over and being a small but powerful voice in an ever-growing homogenized and corporate world.

The Gimme Some Truth music doco fest will be one of your last events orchestrated as GM. Barr None: The Peter Barr Story is set to be a fave with RTRFM listeners – how did that come about and what can audiences expect?
Well I can’t let you know what the audience can expect as I have trusted Chris Butler from Silver Squid, who came to me with the idea to deliver the doco by the festival. He has been working very had on it though and I expect it will give some insights into the man who has been dedicated to RTRFM for a very long time.

If there were to be a doco about your time at RTRFM, what would 3-5 of the funniest/most memorable moments at RTRFM that’d make the editing cut?
I can’t count the number of times at RTRFM where I have sat back and thought, jeez if only this was a comedy tv series. It’s hard to think they would sound that funny on paper but it feels like everyday you walk into something new. I’ve fixed a leaking roof more than once, watched the ceiling cave in, played a Bruce Springsteen cover live to air with Felicity Groom with 10 minutes practice, had work experience kids locked in the toilet, developed a film festival, tripped over Beth Orton, bought the Community Cup to Perth and hopefully helped kickstart a few musical careers. Anything that helps muso’s and artists get a leg up is all I have wanted to enable.

Obviously all Gimme Some Truth films are selected for good reason, but let’s force you to play favourites; your fave 3 films (apart from Barr’s doco) and why people must see them:

They Will Have To Kill Us First and Prison Songs – As middle and upper class white folk, we have no idea some of the barriers to creating music that others deal with. Two very serious and affecting films.

Her Aim Is True – Jini Dellaccio is a true artist and one very funny lady along the way. This film is about the lost art of just creating and not needing a degree or whatever to justify your ability to make something beautiful. Some of the greatest music photos ever.

The 78 Project – A fascinating trip through the outskirts of America recording current day artists the way they did in the 1930’s. 3 minutes, 1 microphone and only one take straight to vinyl.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.