Focus on expats a winning idea

Focus on expats a winning idea

107.3 HFM presenters Fiona Mayers and Killian Keating have been nominated in the 2016 Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Community Radio Awards.

A unique look at Irish expats living in Western Australia by a 107.3 HFM broadcasting duo has earned them a nomination in the 2016 Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Community Radio Awards.

As expats themselves Fiona Mayers and Killian Keating gathered a panel to look at and discuss issues faced by Irish people living in WA.

The subsequent show called Exodus – The Irish Story was aired in May and was so well received it was nominated in the excellence in spoken word, news and current affairs programming award category.

Ms Mayers said the idea started when she found out the curator of the generation emigration section from the Irish Times was visiting Perth on a research trip.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to invite her to HFM and for Killian and I to put a show together focusing on the Irish community here,” she said.

“We usually present a Friday night music show but we were keen to try our hand at some current affairs programming.

“HFM liked the idea and we were given the green-light to produce a special, one-off show.”

She said Australia had long been a popular destination for Irish expats with more than two million Australians having Irish ancestry.

“Many Irish workers are employed in the resources sector here and Australia is also an incredibly popular destination for Irish backpackers,” she said.

“We wanted to dig down and talk about issues like social isolation, employment struggles and the emotional toll of living so far from home. “We spoke to two Irish fly in, fly out workers and an Irish barrister who moved to Perth with her young family.

“The common thread between all of our guests was that despite the occasional bout of homesickness they’re enjoying life in Australia.”

Mr Keating said their guests were amazing.

“They really opened up and spoke about how they experienced Australian life and how it influenced their decisions in this country,” he said.

He said HFM were very supportive of the idea from the get go and thanked the volunteers who made it possible.

The winners of the awards will be announced at the CBAA’s annual awards gala dinner in Melbourne on November 12.