Wynyard on the coast of Tasmania is a picturesque and quiet place to put down roots (writes Nyasha Oliver). “We don’t even have any traffic reports over here,” says Brian Shearston, who heads up the Australian town’s radio station, Coast FM. “That’s because there is no traffic and the town is mostly a lot of retired people living a peaceful life.” Despite this sleepy disposition, Shearston plays an important role in keeping residents entertained and informed. Here he tells us about its boomer-friendly playlists and pranking the public.
How did you first get involved in radio?
I started out producing at a community station in northwest Sydney in the early 1980s, doing the occasional on-air session. I now manage Coast FM and produce the breakfast programme five mornings a week from a remote studio.
What does the rest of your roster look like?
We currently have 27 volunteer staff producing a variety of music, talk shows and sport programming.
And what kind of music do you play?
Our listeners are entertained with a mixture of popular music from between the 1950s and the 1990s. It’s mostly classical, country and blues.
Any memorable broadcasting moments?
Over the past 40 years I have seen some strange radio events. We once held an April fools’ day event that promoted the arrival of the Big Mac, the world’s largest speedboat, at the nearby river. Playing on the name, an invitation was sent out to our listeners to attend a barbecue to celebrate the Big Mac’s arrival. We had an outside broadcasting unit in place to cover the event live and it encouraged a large crowd to arrive. Some people were expecting burgers but at the appropriate time, all eyes looked down the river to see a boat coming instead.
© MONOCLE Weekend Edition November 21, 2021
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