Our Volunteers

Apart from six staff members, Fine Music Sydney functions through the involvement of dedicated volunteers who generously contribute their time and talents across all aspects of the radio station. An interest in music is a good start to being a volunteer for Fine Music Sydney. While we are largely a classical music station, we also have many volunteers who are devotees of jazz, world music, folk music and contemporary or alternative music. New volunteers are always welcome, particularly in the areas listed below. Training and on-the-job support are provided.

The following areas need significant numbers and are nearly always looking for volunteers.

  • Reception
  • Programming
  • Presenting Classical Music

Other areas require smaller numbers of volunteers and there may not always be a vacancy. However, if you have skills or a strong interest in these areas, please let us know as vacancies do occur on a reasonably regular basis.

Behind the scenes volunteers

Reception

The receptionist is considered to be one of the most important roles as it is the first point of contact for the public. It is also a role that gives you a good introduction to the station as many things pass across the Reception Desk. The receptionist needs a good phone manner and enjoys dealing with people.

Duties include –

  • attending to inquiries relating to volunteering, program content and program information
  • dealing with subscriber enquires and taking subscription payments over the phone
  • taking messages for staff and volunteers

Some computer skills are necessary – especially email usage. The reception desk is manned 7 days a week and receptionists normally perform one three-hour shift per week. Two training sessions of three hours each are provided before you do your first solo shift.

Music Library

Librarians prepare the CDs and other recordings for all programs that are scheduled for broadcast, ready for the presenters to pick up and be played at the scheduled time. Librarians also catalogue and maintain the Station’s library of CDs, LPs and books about music. A reasonable knowledge of the classical repertoire and of its artists is required. Librarians also need a careful and methodical approach to problem solving. Experience in library or computer work is an advantage. The library is attended by at least two volunteers, every weekday morning. Each librarian works one morning a week or fortnight for about a 3 hour shift. Librarians start work early (between 7am and 8am) to prepare the programs for each day. This early start allows the library to be available for volunteer programmers to use in the afternoons and evenings. Training will be provided in the library procedures

Subscriptions

The Subscriptions department maintains the lists of subscribers and other financial supporters. It processes payments and issues reminders to subscribers. It exchanges information as needed, with other areas (accounts, members register, guide production) and prints address labels. Volunteers in this area require clerical experience – familiarity with processing payments and data entry skills are an advantage. Experience with computers is essential and knowledge of FileMaker Pro or similar database software is an advantage. Volunteers in the Subscriptions department also require an ability to give attention to detail and to work unsupervised. The Subscriptions Department must be attended daily on weekdays. It is expected that volunteers will spend on average 3 hours per week at this task, either alone or with another volunteer. Training will be provided by an experienced volunteer in the Subscriptions department. Because of its specialised nature, subscriptions work requires a high standard of detailed clerical work and long-term commitment.

Promoting the station

Writing & Proof Reading

Writers produce articles for Fine Music Magazine about music-related topics as commissioned by the Editor. Writers will have some qualifications or experience in writing for semi-specialist publications. A reasonable knowledge of music and some familiarity with the associated Sydney music scene without the need for extensive research is an advantage. Fine Music is produced on a monthly basis. You would work in close consultation with the Editor, who allocates subjects and makes editorial decisions. It is expected that if this is your area of interest you will bring the relevant skills so no specific training is provided. Proof Readers check for accuracy, sense and style, the material intended for publication in Fine Music magazine before and after typesetting by the printer. Proof Readers need an eye for detail, should be able to follow a style guide and be available 3-4 hours per week during the day. Experience in proofreading is helpful but not essential.

Program Guide Entering & Editing

Program Guide Enterers type the itemised program for the month into a format suitable for publication in Fine Music magazine. Some knowledge of classical music repertoire is an advantage, and some computer experience is essential. Programs can be entered at any time of the day or night and can be done at the convenience of the volunteer. It is expected that volunteers will spend on average 3 hours per week at this task. Training will be provided by an experienced Program Guide Sub-Editor.

Program Guide Sub-Editors edit the material entered by the Program Guide Enterers. Each program entered is edited three times to ensure no mistakes make it into print. Sub-Editors check the programs entered for accuracy, sense and style. Sub-Editors are also expected to assist with the Program Guide Entry when there is a backlog of work. Most volunteers move into Sub-Editing after spending some time as a Program Guide Enterer. Sub-Editors need an eye for detail, should be able to follow a style guide and should be available 3-4 hours per week on a weekday. A knowledge of foreign languages, particularly French, Italian, German or Spanish is helpful but not essential.

Magazine Dispatch

Magazine Dispatch Packers prepare the printed copies of Fine Music magazine for dispatch to subscribers by labelling, inserting into envelopes and bundling. Volunteers need to be able to work as a member of a small team and to perform routine clerical/ manual tasks. Magazine Dispatch volunteers are only required to come in once a month on a weekday morning (currently a Thursday) for 3-4 hours. On the job training is provided.

Magazine Deliverers deliver the Fine Music magazines each month, saving us postage. Volunteers deliver a bundle of 5-10 magazines around the area where they live. It usually takes about 1-2 hours a month, towards the end of the month and can be done at a time that suits the volunteer.

Programming

Programmers prepare classical music programs that they can present themselves or have presented by others. Programs for jazz, world and folk music are prepared only by the presenters. See the section on Presenting Specialist Music Areas for more information on these.

A reasonable familiarity with the classical repertoire is necessary to be a programmer. Programming can be done largely at home if you have your own record collection, or better still, you can go into 2MBS to use the Station’s music library. The package, An Introductory Guide to Programming, is given to all new prospective programmers to assist in the preparation of your first couple of programs. A member of the Programming Committee will then discuss your first programs with you, explain the use of the library and get you started on future programs.


The intention is that your first programs will go to air. You may submit as many programs as your ideas, time and resources can support. If you intend to program a series, it is worthwhile advising the Programming Committee so that the program may be placed to advantage. It is not advisable to start programming with a series idea.

Presenting Classical Music

The main aim of the Presenter is to provide good company for the listener. Presenters interested in jazz, world and folk music should refer to the section on Presenting Specialist Music Areas for more information on these. The information following is relevant to all presenters.

Presenters research the music, composers and artist and write a script for the program. Presenters can compile their own programs or present those prepared by others. Presenters do their own production, so are on their own in the studio, operating the broadcast panel equipment. Presenters need a well- modulated, friendly voice with clear diction. An interest in and some knowledge of music are essential as well as the ability to pronounce names in foreign languages. Presenters need to be able to think and react quickly under pressure. Fine Music Sydney broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and shifts vary from approximately one to four hours. Training is provided in all aspects of presentation, broadcast equipment and panel operation. Before starting the training program, potential presenters undergo an audition to assess their ability to handle equipment, music knowledge and voice suitability through the preparation and articulation of a short written program. The training will vary in duration, depending on qualifications and experience.

Presenting Specialist Music Areas

While Fine Music Sydney is predominantly a classical music station it also has programs featuring jazz, world, folk and contemporary music. If you fit the characteristics below, please contact us.

The Fine Music Sydney Music Library holds very little music in specialty areas, so one of the first requirements for specialist presenters is that they need to have a significant personal collection available to them as their programs will be drawn from their own music. Specialist presenters always prepare their own programs. In addition, specialist presenters need to have an extensive knowledge of their music scene.

All Presenters go through the audition and training program described above in Presenting Classical Music.

Technical support

Outside Broadcasting

Outside Broadcasting involves recording engineers and technicians attending external concerts and events to record them for later broadcast on Fine Music Sydney. Experience in using OB recording equipment is essential. Hours vary, but usually attendance is required at concerts in the evenings or on weekends when most of these events are scheduled. No specific training is provided, but you will be accompanied by an experienced volunteer Recording Technician at your first few events so you can understand the Fine Music Sydney standards.

Transmitter Technician

Transmitter Technicians work with the staff of Fine Music Sydney to ensure that the transmitter and studio equipment are performing satisfactorily. Our Technical Committee is responsible for recommending upgrades to our technical environment. If you have some professional experience in these technical areas we would welcome you as part of our volunteer team, either as a member of our committee (which meets monthly) or as a volunteer to assist with major upgrade projects.