Samson Masiya moved to Launceston 12 years ago from South Sudan.
Despite enjoying life in Australia, Mr Masiya said he wanted to create a way for both himself and the wider South Sudanese community to connect with their home.
“The most important thing about the community is everybody is about sharing their interests,” Mr Masiya said.
“We talked to the community, asking them how can we do this, then came the radio which basically connects them [people] back home.”
Mr Masiya said Fecaa Radio provided an opportunity for those who have lived half of their lives in South Sudan a chance to reminisce on fond memories.
“They still remembered what they enjoyed back home and we want to bring that back into their memories,” he said.
The radio runs 24/7, playing a mix between recorded programs and music from South Sudanese musicians.
“Most of the stuff is songs, cultural songs from back home,” Mr Masiya said.
“It has a very wonderful message that our local musicians are saying and that’s what really makes them [South Sudanese migrants] much more happy, that they listen to songs they understand.”
Mr Masiya developed the software for the radio show, while a colleague in Melbourne produces content for it.
According to Mr Masiya, Fecaa Radio is an important tool for those who are learning English or perhaps having trouble with the language barrier.
“It [English] is just too complex for them so we bring the local songs into the system so that they can listen to those,” he said.
“You could see the very day we launched it that people could not move away from it.
“It is just wonderful, they listen to songs that for a long time they’ve never heard.”
As well as music, the radio show provides important information for those acclimatising to Australia.
“A lot of people of old age struggle to learn English and it has been very difficult for them,” he said.
“So we created this radio in order to bring in all the languages that we speak so we can use the information that is useful for them in this country.
“They can listen to it in their own language so that they can be in a clear picture what they need to do.”
Mr Masiya said the amazing thing about the app he developed was not only its portability, but for it to be made from contributions by the community.
You could see the very day we launched it that people could not move away from it. It is just wonderful, they listen to songs that for a long time they’ve never heard.Samson Masiya
“We do this on a voluntary basis, we can use whatever we get and make sure we put it in,” he said.
The program has been met with tremendous success since its creation in October last year, with a listener count of around 7000 people worldwide.
“We get feedback from people across Australia, even in America people are listening because the way I built the app - its available in 149 countries so you can download it anywhere,” Mr Masiya said.
For younger members of the South Sudanese community, it provides a chance to engage with topics from their homeland, as well as issues they face here.
Mr Masiya also said many younger South Sudanese are getting involved in making content for Fecaa radio, which has allowed them to learn numerous skills.
“Some of them want to become radio presenters, so this is where they can start,” he said.
“The mindset is that if you have basics and you love it, it will change their mind to wanting to be a presenter.
“It will make them want to go to school and start learning and then taking it as a career.”
President of the Federation of Equatoria Association in Australia Juma Piri Piri said the radio program is about not just connecting the South Sudanese community, but also educating the wider community about South Sudanese culture.
“It’s really something that goes beyond the show’s context in the way that this is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to see how grateful the community is to be able to share their opinion,” Mr Piri Piri said.
“Those stories need to be celebrated more in a context that actually encourages patency and to be actually looking forward to seeing people with experience in radio broadcasting to be able to share with us how wonderful the community is.”
Mr Piri Piri said that with a lot of negativity around the South Sudanese community, the radio program provided a platform for positive aspects to be shown.
Currently the radio program has no source of funding, something Mr Masiya hopes to change so he can build a professional studio.
With listener numbers on the rise, he hopes that people will begin to contribute to improving the hardware.
“I have two bedrooms, I live with my wife so I can convert one room into a studio,” Mr Masiya said.
He said while the sound quality at the moment is not up to professional standards, it is the message of the radio that is the most important thing.
“We have the technology we can use and get by and help people who are struggling to understand something,” My Masiya said.
“We are there to help that’s why we created this radio so they can listen to everything within there own language so that it helps them understand better.”
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