Waringarri Radio is part of the Waringarri Media Aboriginal Corporation, and was originally developed in the early 1980’s from local pressure for an information and media service appropriate to the needs of local people. The founders envisaged a station that would be the voice of local Indigenous mobs, informing the wider community about Aboriginal and community issues from Indigenous perspectives. This was a new concept at the time and Waringarri Radio is credited for being Western Australia’s first Indigenous owned and controlled radio station.
Initial broadcasting began on Wednesday 9th December 1987 with the support of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which allowed one hour of broadcasting per week out of a mobile caravan studio beaming out on ABC Regional Radio.
Wayne Bynder was the first Aboriginal Broadcaster-Manager to oversee the media project in these early years and Dot West continued the work from 1989 until early 1992.
In mid-1989 a self-contained demountable studio, purchased with funds made available by the then Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority, was installed on Waringarri land at the current Speargrass Road location on Miriwoong country.
In the following year, an office building was constructed with assistance from the then Department of Aboriginal Affairs, the Aboriginal Development Commission, and the Argyle Social Impact Group.
Building of the main office block took over a year and the Waringarri Media complex was officially opened on the 26th of June 1990.
In early 1992 Tony Walker was seconded from ABC Darwin as the station manager to get all the necessary approvals for a transmitter and obtain the community radio license.
Broadcast hours grew to 10 and then as many as 25 hours per week until Waringarri Radio obtained its very own license community broadcasting licence in October 1992.
6WR Waringarri Radio commenced broadcasting on 1 September 1993 on the 693AM frequency, and was officially opened on the 22nd of October 1993.
This makes us the first established Aboriginal community radio station in Western Australia, and shortly afterwards other stations were formed across the Kimberley using the same model.
Waringarri Media has grown to become an integral part of the East Kimberley community, broadcasting to all major towns and remote grazing stations and outback communities in the region, including Kununurra, Wyndham, Warmun, Oombulgurri, El Questro, Home Valley, Diggers Rest, Argyle, and Timber Creek.
Post COVID, the organisation is in a period of rebuilding and innovating with new management and staff, a new website and multimedia channels, to ensure it continues to be a vital local institution and thrive into the future.
See this new History of Waringarri Media Video launched at our REVIVAL PARTY event on Friday 20th October 2023!