Thoughts of a Joy Volunteer in 2002

pick Dave Parker

Now that I have retired I have been spending a lot of time going through old files, photos, discs. Today I found this. The volunteer survey I completed after just three months at the station. Interesting to look back

  1. Name

Doug Pollard

  1. Gender       Age                                    Sexuality

Male                       52                                            Gay

  1. How long have you volunteered for JOY?

Three months

  1. Why do you volunteer for JOY?
  • Work in a non-judgemental gay environment
  • Promote cohesion in the GLBT community
  • Advance GLBT causes politically and socially
  • Hopefully provide the benefit of my experience to younger members
  • Learn and use new skills to become a broadcaster
  1. Do you listen to JOY? How regularly and how much?

Yes: usually breakfast and/or drive 2/3 days per week

Occasional evening shows if of special interest/partner can be persuaded!

  1. What different roles have you been involved in? (Eg: program support, on-air presentation, etc)
  • So far program support and CSA admin
  • Trained as newsreader and awaiting assignment
  • Hopefully production and presentation eventually
  1. What do you love about JOY?
  • That is exists and thrives, providing a different viewpoint in competition with the slick commercial outfits
  • That it provides a broad-based forum for all shades of sexuality/politics/gender/age
  • That it provides a place to learn and develop new skills
  1. What are 3 strengths that you believe JOY has as an organisation? (Please give details)
  • It is a full-time radio station: therefore has reach/clout with a wide variety of organisations, commercial and community, a two-way conduit for money, ideas etc. In other words: INFLUENCE
  • It belongs to the community, and is therefore sensitive to the wishes and tastes of that community – danger is of capture by cliques.
  • The mix of professional and volunteer staff: the professional structure providing a stable framework in which the creative can flourish.
  1. What are 3 areas that need improvement at JOY? (please include any strategies that you may have for making these improvements)
  • Fragmented culture. Because we largely volunteer staffed there is little chance for an over-arching workplace culture to emerge. Separate cultures with separate and possibly clashing cultures therefore develop. Professional staff only coherent/stable grouping. Therefore need to put in place structures to allow everyone to meet/work /socialise together – especially work. Role-swapping especially useful, i.e., just because someone has volunteered for program support doesn’t mean that is all they do all the time. Management needs to encourage all volunteers to diversify and help them gain the skills to do so. This issue connects with:
  • Opacity: the deliberations and decisions of the management committee and the day-to-day management are not transparent to the regular member. Management needs to work harder than in traditional commercial organisations to avoid giving the impression of deliberately avoiding scrutiny. Decisions esp. on policy appear to come from nowhere because we have not witnessed/participated in their formation, leading to friction and suspicion. This is where webcasting could come in handy: closed webcasts for members only?
  • Training: too ad hoc & fragmentary. Needs to be properly organized. Would it be possible to chase grants to build training facilities, maybe in conjunction with an educational organisation? Might pay for a second studio!
  1. Any other comments you would like to make.

Joy is going through changes and basically coming out of the ghetto and into the real world. There are bound to be tensions generated in this process. The best way to manage tensions is to do so out in the open, working hard not to marginalize anyone and having lots of open discussion. Cliques and cabals serve no-one but themselves – they must not be allowed to develop and opened up to scrutiny if they do.

Dated 6th August 2002

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)