Chinese voice program turns 18

CMS Radio FM91.1 Chinese voice program volunteer broadcaster Shaniya Huang and coordinator Wenjin Zu will be hosting an 18-year anniversary concert for the program on 1 June. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

Canberra’s Chinese community will celebrate 18 years of their native languages on local airwaves with a free anniversary concert on Saturday 1 June.

The Canberra Multicultural Service (CMS) Radio FM91.1 Chinese voice program, a volunteer run broadcast, has provided an invaluable service for many members of the local community.

One of the founders of the program, coordinator Wenjin Zhou, was inspired to establish the service back in 2001 after her experiences as an immigrant with next to no English.

“Back when I first came to Australia I couldn’t speak English, so I got quite homesick … The only time I was happy was when I heard Mandarin on the radio being broadcast out of Melbourne, but that was only one hour a week,” Ms Zhou said.

“I still remember in that time when I first came to Australia just feeling like I needed to hear a hometown voice.”

After settling in and getting a job, Ms Zhou felt inclined to give back.

“I thought since I’m settled in Australia, it’s now time for me to contribute and give back.

“I knew that if it was important to me, it would be important to others as well. And especially now that we have lots of migrants.”

The Chinese voice program has developed to have something for all members of Canberra’s Chinese community, young and old.

“It’s the connection, and helping them to know information, which is why on our channel we cover local, Chinese and global news to let them know what’s going on,” Ms Zhou said.

“We also talk about Chinese culture, the purpose of that is to help our younger listeners learn about their ancestral history.”

The free Chinese voice program 18th anniversary concert will involve a host of cultural performances, and take place on Saturday 1 June 2-4.30pm at Canberra College Theatre, Phillip.

“This event is to appreciate all the past and present broadcasters, and all the volunteers both on air and behind the scenes, and also an appreciation for all our listeners and their 18 years of support,” Ms Zhou said.

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