3 November 2019
The Voice of Tonga joins 4EB FM in celebrating 40 years
Brisbane, AUSTRALIA: Australia’s iconic Brisbane City Hall played host to a red carpet event and gala ball to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Ethnic Broadcasting Association of Queensland (Radio 4EB FM).
Members of Brisbane’s Tongan Community joined volunteer broadcasters from “The Voice of Tonga” together with parliamentarians, councillors, interstate delegates and members of the station in commemorating this unique milestone for multilingual media in Australia.
Radio 4EB’s humble beginnings included their first broadcast from above a Greek Bakery in Brisbane’s West End on 1 December 1979. Forty years ago the concept of a radio station making broadcasts in languages, other than English, was quite controversial, especially in 1970s Brisbane with the dismantling of the White Australia Policy still fresh in people’s
On 3 October 1980 the Tongan language became the first Pacific Islander group to broadcast on Radio 4EB led by pioneers Mele Fanaika Horner, Pilimilose Mafi, Tu‘alau Māngisi, Heuifanga Tupou Tāufa, Mele Fuka Pollnow, ‘Iunisi Siatalau Lane and Sefana Talifolau.
“Brisbane was a very different place in the 1970s and our Tongan community was so small compared to now,” Mele Horner stated.
“It’s wonderful to see that our Tongan community has significantly grown since then and that the broadcasting services of both Radio 4EB FM and the Voice of Tonga continue to be more relevant today, than ever before,” Mele Horner added.
Adding to the prestige of the event, the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council (NEMBC) held their Awards Presentation and Conference during the festivities. The outstanding work of Dr Tangikina Steen, new CEO of Tonga’s Department of Education, who recently stepped down as President of the NEMBC, was acknowledged on the night.
Tongan Cultural Co-ordinator of the Brisbane Tongan Community executive committee, Mrs Siale Molitika emphasised the importance of keeping the community informed as well as preserving Tongan language, values and culture on radio.
“It’s critical that our people have a voice and that multilingual radio continues to provide a source of information in Tongan, as well as preserving the Tongan language on air,” Mrs Siale Molitika said.
The Voice of Tonga was named by His Majesty Late King Tāufa‘āhau Tupou IV and broadcasts twice a week on Mnday evenings and Friday mornings in the Tongan Language. Radio 4EB is Brisbane’s first and only full-time multilingual radio station broadcasting in over 55 different languages, presented by over 400 volunteer trained-broadcasters each week.
The station has six studios and an outside broadcasting van based at Kangaroo Point under Brisbane’s historical Storey Bridge.
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