The beginning of the year 2000 was the first time that our Croatian voice was heard on Radio Fremantle in Western Australia.
This was an initiative of the Croatian youth who actively sought to ensure that their voice could be heard on the radio waves across the metropolitan area. The main instigator was Saša Milačić, then known by the name of Adrian Šimunić, who at the beginning led the program for youth from 8pm to 10pm on the ethnic station 6EBA-FM. This did not last long and Adrian began the search for another radio station. He turned to the committee at the WA Croatian Community Centre in North Fremantle asking for assistance and financial support.
A meeting took place between representatives of the Croatian youth and the committee members of the WA Croatian Community Centre. After discussion, a decision was made to continue with the Croatian program with the financial assistance of the WA Croatian Community Centre in North Fremantle. Other Croatian clubs and gatherings also gave their support and Radio Fremantle dedicated the time from 8pm to 10pm every Friday for the Croatian youth program.
In the beginning, Adrian was the sole producer and announcer. After a short time, other Croatian youth joined him, in particular Ante and Ana Andabaka and Ivana Pavić. Once they had become familiar with the program, Adrian handed over the reins and left to go to Croatia.
For the next five years this new, young team continued to run the Croatian program right up to July 2005.
Meanwhile, Reverend Fr Nikola Čabraja, the Croatian Catholic Chaplain for Western Australia, had been endeavouring for some time to launch a Croatian Catholic Radio program on Radio Fremantle to no avail for there was no free slot available.
After many years of running the program, the Croatian youth decided that it was time for them to have a break and offered the timeslot to Fr Nikola Čabraja. He was delighted and designated one hour to run the Croatian Catholic program. He was contemplating offering the other hour to to another ethnic group. Before this step was taken, Fr Cabraja was asked by the WA Croatian Community Centre to keep both timeslots. He agreed to do so on a temporary basis until another team was found who would takeover the second hour.
Help arrived on the horizon and a new team took over the second hour, naming it the Croatian Community Radio Fremantle. Fr Čabraja accepted overall responsibility for the two hour program. Young Oliver Šunjić took on the technical assistant's role whilst Igor Oroz, a sports journalist, took on the sporting section and for a while Branko Pesjak was the polictical commentator. A rich and varied program took place from 8 to 10pm every Friday. The Croatian Catholic Program, which was the sole responsibility of Fr Nikola Cabraja, taking place between 8 and 9 pm and the Croatian Community Radio Program continuing straight after this until 10pm.
This continued until mid July 2006 when Radio Fremantle offered Fr Čabraji yet another hour's timeslot which he accepted readily. The Croatian Catholic program moved to the timeslot of 7 to 8pm and the Croatian Community Program returned to the original timeslot of 8pm to 10 pm. This arrangement continues to this day.
The Croatian Catholic Program is singularly aimed at producing spiritual content accompanied by religious music. The Croatian Catholic Program does not accept any advertising and is financed exclusively by generous believers whose donations are used to offset the costs incurred.
The Croatian Community Radio Program's main sponsor is the WA Croatian Community Centre in North Fremantle which has supported the program from its inception. There are also companies who are willing to pay a fee in order to advertise their services The program is produced for the Croatian community members in the diaspora and there is a very significant audience not only here in Perth but throughout Australia.
The current team which is involved in the Croatian Community Radio program is as follows:
Fr Nikola Čabraja - the main producer and overall responsible person
Igor Oroz - the producer of the sports section
Božica Kukulj - the producer of the health and wellbeing section
Petra Šango - the producer of the section for youth
Marijan Ikač - the producer of the history section in English
Fr Nikola Čabraja, with his team, has been producing this radio program since the second half of July 2005, which is over 17 years. Every person involved does so on an honorary basis without any financial recompense. The money received from our sponsors is used exclusively to offset the costs associated with being part of the radio station.
Fr. Nikola Cabraja
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