Features: Audio stories
Production credits: Jon Tjhia, Jessie Borrelle and contributors
Launch date: April 2010
The aerial is up, and the volume is turned on. In April 2010, a new voice in Australian and New Zealand culture began broadcasting to the world, bringing listeners stories tall and true from the idiosyncratic South.
Paper Radio is an audio journal based in Melbourne, Australia. It take stories by Antipodean writers and raconteurs from the page and make them audible.
Producers Jessie Borrelle and Jon Tjhia started Paper Radio with the idea of materialising a missing piece of their playlists – a contemporary podcast reflecting distinctly Antipodean narratives, with high production values, custom sound design and illustration for each episode.
The aim is produce accessible and interesting fiction and documentary work from Australasia. It launched with a work from Chris Somerville, a writer from the Gold Coast in Australia’s northeast. Somerville’s piece is called ‘The Drowning Man‘, and is the story of an aloof teacher whose life is defined and dominated by the irascible temperament of water. The inaugural episode featured a detailed soundtrack produced by Tjhia, and ‘cover art’ by Australian illustrator Polly Dedman.
While Somerville’s piece christened the FM (fiction) channel, fellow Queensland writer Benjamin Law is scheduled to be first past the post on Paper Radio’s AM (non fiction) channel. An extract from his debut novel The Family Law, Law tells the story of his run-ins with his family’s native tongue: Cantonese. Future episodes will see productions of writing by New Zealand-based writers Rachel O’Neill and Thomasin Sleigh, as well as a documentary by Melbourne’s Georgia Moodie, who tells the story of Sonny Clay’s Colored Idea – the first African American jazz musicians to tour Australia.
Paper Radio publishes stories monthly or, in a good spell, slightly more often. All episodes are free, and can be downloaded or streamed from their website. Paper Radio is also open to pitches from NZ and Australian writers and producers. It is divided into two distinct stations — FM and AM. FM is a mix of fiction, fantasy, speculation and other literary gymnastics. AM is where you’ll find exercises in non-fiction, documentary, social commentary and observation.