16 March 2019 | Sulieni Layt | Pasifika Media
Brisbane, AUSTRALIA: The Brisbane Tongan Community came together to support the Annual General Meeting of the Radio 4EB FM Tongan Language Programme – The Voice of Tonga, the Call of the Friendly Islands.
Radio 4EB was established in 1979 by a group of like-minded migrants who believed that Brisbane needed a multilingual radio station to provide programming to Brisbane’s growing migrant communities in their own language. The result was the foundation of the Ethnic Broadcasting Association of Queensland (EBAQ), better known as Radio 4EB.
In 1980 the Tongan community were the first Pacific Island language to join the airwaves of Radio 4EB and one of the early pioneers, Mrs Mele Horner (nee Fanaika), was elected as the first female secretary of the EBAQ in the early 1980s.
The King of Tonga, His Majesty Late King Tāufa‘āhau Tupou IV bestowed the programme name Le‘o ‘o e ‘otu anga‘ofa (Voice of Tonga) and since then the Voice of Tonga has been an integral part of the lives of every Tongan household in Brisbane.
In 1983 founder Mele Horner led a delegation from the EBAQ Board of Directors and the Station Manager to the Kingdom of Tonga where archival material and desperately needed music on what is now archaic reel-to-reels and LPs were sourced from the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, otherwise known as Radio Tonga (A3Z).
Over the decades Radio 4EB switched from the 1053AM frequency to 98.1FM and the team of volunteer broadcasters have adapted to several transitions in technology to the current digital age.
The Voice of Tonga provides community information, local and international news, music, interviews, weather, health, legal, education, cultural, religious and agricultural programming to the Tongan diaspora.
The Radio 4EB FM Tongan Programming Group elects a committee of seven financial members annually, whilst the group maintains a team of approximately 10 volunteer broadcasters who produce the twice weekly Tongan language programmes on a rotational roster.
The incoming committee includes Mr Peluvalu Veikoso, Mr Lisiate Niu, Ms Silia Kavapalu,
Ms Leonie Tu‘itahi, Mr Viliami Mahanga, Ms Limapo Hopoate and Mrs Mele Horner.
BTC committee members Mr Sulieni Layt and Mrs Mele Ngauamo remain regular broadcasters, whilst Rev Maile Molitika and Mrs Leilehua Fa‘onevai are regular segment contributors to the Voice of Tonga.
The Brisbane Tongan Community wish the incoming committee all the best for the year and will continue to advocate for the expansion of our Tongan media presence on the airwaves of Brisbane.