The people behind Victoria Daly: Barak from Nauiyu

Jun 7, 2022

In our fortnightly series showcasing the people behind Victoria Daly Regional Council, we meet Nauiyu’s Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Service Operator, Barak Sambono.

In 1983, Barak made the move from Darwin to Nauiyu, arriving in the community with a single bag, some spare thongs, and a pair of footy shorts.

In the years since, he has become a pivotal part of the Nauiyu community and Victoria Daly Regional Council.

In 2009, he took on the job of the Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Service (RIBS) operator in Nauiyu, spending his days playing music, providing local news updates, and connecting community members across the airwaves.

Set up in the mid 1980’s, RIBS (formerly known as the Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme) was about giving Aboriginal and Islander people access to and control of their own media at a community level.

Today, there are 29 Top End remote communities broadcasting their own local radio shows, including the Victoria Daly communities of Nauiyu, Yarralin and Kalkarindji.

These shows are often in the local language, relaying community announcements, interviewing visiting Government departments, announcing the weather, and involving school children.

In 2017, Barak was named TEABBA’s best remote broadcaster in the First Nations Media Awards.

Barak is also employed on the Community Night Patrol team, is involved in the running of the local footy club – the Daly River Buffaloes – and is a mentor and leader for young people in the community.

We sat down with Barak to have a yarn about why community radio is important in small towns, and why he loves his job.

How did you get involved in the world of broadcasting?

I’ve always had an interest in it and then the opportunity came up with RIBS and I jumped at it. I really love talking on the radio though so I’m glad I threw myself into it. I’ve also had the opportunity to work and train with the Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA), an organisation that provides support for all the RIBS units across the NT.

What are some of the main differences of local radio?

Radio coming out of places like Darwin provides community information, but not for this particular area. Local information specific is especially important especially during the floods, or COVID-19.

It means that people in Nauiyu can find out what’s happening in Nauiyu.

How does the show run?

It’s a mix of me talking, playing music, and making announcements. I do birthday announcements, say good morning to all the businesses and services in the area, the pubs, the schools, that kind of thing. They all love listening to the radio.

I also sometimes have guests on the show, everyone from politicians who are coming through Nauiyu to sports presenters like Charlie King.

What do you love most about your job?

Quite simple, talking on the radio. Also relaying information that keeps the community connected.