IT was a chance encounter in 2018 that led to Andre Geoffrey-Dalton overcoming his fear of public speaking.
While at a pub in his native Nhill, the town planner struck up a conversation with Peter McDonald, host of the eclectically-named Rock 'N 'Roll relics and cat food deluxe radio show on Horsham radio station Triple H.
"He said he did this show on community radio on Tuesdays and I said 'I'm listening, tell me more about it, here is my email address'," Mr Geoffrey-Dalton said.
"Two weeks later he got me in and sat me down, asked a few questions on air and we played some songs. I got trained up and here I am today.
"Believe it or not I'm terrified of public speaking and one of the outlets that allowed me to get over that fear is radio. I've loved music ever since I was a small boy, and it just gives me a great outlet. They are a wonderful crew here too."
Mr Geoffrey-Dalton hosts the show Drowned in Sound on Wednesday afternoons, playing a mix of rock, metal and blues and interviewing artists in each of these genres, including some from Melbourne which he connects with via Facebook groups.
"I think we are an alternative, we give a voice to those who want to be presenters," he said, reflecting on what role community radio played in Horsham.
"I enjoy introducing new bands to the Wimmera - like Crome, a cover band from Ararat and Laharum. I'm hoping to introduce more of a flavored mix to music in the Wimmera."
"Recently I had a call from RJ and he wanted me to play some Johnny Cash, so I played 'Folsom Prison Blues'. He rang back and said he loved it. I really think it's important what we do, we provide an alternative voice.
"If someone's out there having rough day and hear us play one song they love and they ring up and say 'What was the name of that song?' or 'That was awesome!', I'm happy."
Triple H has been operating out of the old Horsham Police Station on Roberts Avenue, next to the court house, since 1994.
Wendy Batchelor (treasurer)
Community broadcasters, such as radio and television stations, provide programming on a not-for-profit basis.
Under Australia Communications and Media Authority guidelines, such stations aren't allowed to broadcast advertising but can broadcast announcements for station sponsors and promotions about community events, charities or emergencies.
While making money is not the end goal of community radio, it is still important, as Triple H treasurer Wendy Fordham-Batchelor knows all too well. She has been in the role for four years since being convinced to join by friend and station secretary Heather Farrell.
"At Bunnings with sausage sizzles is our major fundraiser across the year," she said.
"I like the camaraderie you have with everyone else here, and knowing that you're being helpful and giving back to the community."
Mrs Fordham Batchelor also works in administration at Terry White Chemmart and Priceline Pharmacy in Horsham.
Brian Basham, host
Mr Basham, who moved to Horsham from Melbourne three years ago, does the Wimmera current affairs-focused show Ask Triple H on Friday nights and Music Roulette on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Basham, a mental health counsellor and hypnotherapist by trade, said he enjoyed being on radio for one reason above all others.
"One thing I tell my children is I get to play three hours of music I want to listen to without them telling me to turn it off, like Vanilla Ice," he said.
"I got trained on Wednesday afternoon and I've just managed to stay here. It's just a nice break from reality I suppose, you can play music and talk to people, hopefully people will listen, but you're just sequestered away for three hours, and creativity comes out."
Jean Darnell, president/host
Jean Darnell has been president of Triple H for the past eight years.
"It was Gregg Heard who encouraged me to do a Sunday afternoon program because we were getting low on presenters," she said.
The program Music for Faith Journey, continues to this day. Mrs Darnell also hosts several other programs on Triple H, including Inside Out and Aussie Country Fever. She is a passionate fan and promoter of country music, last year winning the Tamworth Songwriters' Association's Gospel and Spiritual award for a song she wrote.
Mrs Darnell said she was conscious she had a voice by virtue of her radio programs.
"I like being able to talk to and interview artists and make contact with them,"she said. "It brings music to the forefront, which is why I think country artists come to Horsham, like Lindsay Butler, Keith Jackson and Jeff Brown."
Ms Darnell said securing funding and presenters were the two main challenges for Triple H.
"We rely wholly on donations and memberships, and the cost of running a radio station is substantial," she said. "It can be $1000 to replace a CD player.
"Eventually we are hoping to broadcast via satellite: We are available by digital radio now but we can't be streamed on phone apps. Getting on ones like Radio Australia would help us attract sponsorship.
"We try to cater for everyone as hosts, and we hope to gain more given two of our presenters are in their eighties. Phyllis Lavithis has been there since 2008 and Ray Hutchison has been around for 20 years."
Mrs Darnell said people interested in becoming a Triple H host could contact Phyllis on 5381 1101, and that they would be trained on the job.
Industry advocacy organisation the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia estimates there are more than 450 not-for-profit, community-owned radio servicesoperating across the country.
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