Stories of rebellion and reclamation will be explored in a new State Library of Queensland exhibition I heard it on the radio: 25 years of 98.9FM Murri Country that celebrates the first Indigenous radio station in an Australian capital city. There will be a live broadcast and free concert featuring popular country music legend Roger Knox from 3pm on Saturday 4 May.

I heard it on the radio: 25 years of 98.9FM Murri Country, traces the protest movement of the 1980s and 1990s when land rights were gaining momentum, and how the station’s powerful contribution to the Australian media proved a catalyst for change.

After starting out as Murri Hour on 4ZZZ Radio in 1984, 98.9FM launched as 4AAA Murri Country, Brisbane’s only country music station, and made its first broadcast on 6 April 1993. Radio was one of the few avenues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to tell their own stories, providing an accessible platform to raise social and political issues such as the push for reconciliation.

Country music, with its characteristic elements of heartache and storytelling, also resonated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, becoming a vehicle for tales of dispossession and rebellion. Popular country music artists including Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, Archie Roach, Kasey Chambers and Uncle Kev Carmody have supported 98.9FM over the years.

Through historical photographs, ephemera and digital stories, this showcase recognises the years of activism and commitment from 98.9FM to carve an important place both in Indigenous community as well as in Australia’s media landscape. The Minister for the Arts, Leeanne Enoch, says she is thrilled about the exhibition. “How wonderful to see State Library showcase the legacy and impact of legendary radio station 98.9FM.”

The exhibition will feature a live broadcast and free concert featuring popular country music legend, Roger Knox. The State Library will have a mock recording studio with mixing desk and recording equipment, historical photos of the studio, early broadcasts and key personalities. Visitors will hear about the story and legacy of the late Tiga Bayles, who was a presenter of the iconic Let’s Talk segment for 15 years.

Vicki McDonald, State Librarian and CEO, says the event is important because, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned media has played an influential role in shaping Queensland, giving community a voice and a space to be heard. In this showcase, you will learn more about the people behind 98.9FM over the years, their persistence and hard work to drive change.”

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