"We operate a satellite radio network on VAST channel 917 and that has been going since 2000. We can pull a radio show in a community into the hub here in Broome through Skymuster satellite internet and then send it out to Imparja Television in Alice Springs."

They are hidden away in a shed in Broome and are an extraordinary business providing media to communities throughout the Kimberley and Pilbara. In the late 1980’s remote communities around Australia were granted their own Community Radio and Television licences. In 1996 Broome Aboriginal Media Association recruited Neil Turner from the Pitjantjatjara Lands in Central Australia to co-ordinate an equipment upgrade rollout and ongoing support services for 13 communities in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. Since 2000 the PAKAM Satellite Radio Network has provided a fully contributed regional radio service from the network hub in Broome. This enables communities to share stories, news, information, music and special broadcast events over a million square kilometres.

PAKAM also record local songwriters and musicians and have a mobile music recording truck which opens out as a stage for community live performance music events. They are a major contributor of community television content to ICTV – a satellite delivered Indigenous Community Television service. Video Programmes can also be viewed online on ICTVPLAY (www.ictv.com.au) and on PAKAM’s online community access archive (https://archive.firstnationsmedia.org.au/community/packam-archive)

PAKAM employs four full time people and one part-time in the hub in Broome, and up to 15 parttime in remote communities. The employees in the Community work 4 hours a day as community media workers. Their working day can consist of radio on the network, radio locally, community television production, oral histories, and language. In some communities 2 or more people are employed. PAKAM works with 12 communities in the Kimberley and the Pilbara region.

‘We operate a satellite radio network on VAST channel 917 and that has been going since 2000. We can pull a radio show in a community into the hub here in Broome through Skymuster satellite internet and then send it out to Imparja Television in Alice Springs. These days all through the internet, previously through phone lines. Imparja then merge it with another 13 indigenous radio networks and send it across to Optus in New South Wales for uplink to the satellite. So, each community has access to the programs and can transmit it on their local FM’, says Neil.

There is a lot happening at PAKAM, every week and every hour on the hour they are switching to a different community feed, so there is a lot of coordination involved in keeping this amazing network delivering their programs.

Besides the radio, they have ICTV – Indigenous Community TV, which is on Channel 41 here in Broome, so we can all watch some amazing content for the locals in our living room, otherwise you can view it on your computer on ICTV Play at www.ictv.com.au. ‘This is a very cherished television service in remote communities’, says Neil. Otherwise go to on Channel 601 on satellite for the caravanners.

We send a community trainer out to communities to train in local video production and we are the biggest contributor to ICTV programs. ‘We have also done music recording sessions, initially 70 tracks with artists who normally would not have the opportunity to record, some have gone on to bigger things. Last year we had Billy Jo Shoveller working for us and we put down another 50 tracks and these we put on a site called Indigitube (www.indigitbue.com.au) -you can have a listen’, says Neil.

Their next big project is to store, catalogue all their recordings, whether it be photos, video or music and this is in collaboration with First Nations Media. A huge job with several people involved in PAKAM, plus PAW Media and Umeewarra Media involved. ‘This database will then be a community access site for all and will be available through archive.firstnationsmedia.org.au, which we hope to launch by the end of the year’, says Neil. All the staff at PAKAM are involved with Melati doing music, Traelyn on video and Margy working with photos, and they are supported through First Nations Media for any training.

I noticed packed in their shed was a lot of equipment. ‘This was from a very generous donation from a charitable organisation called Desert Feet, who used to run a truck with remote recording studio and live stage. They donated the truck in June 2020 and all the equipment, PA gear, musical instruments – so that will create a whole new service we can provide, - a real shot in the arm for music recording, as it will be the backbone for any event that the community wants to hold’ says Neil.

PAKAM is really a hidden gem, a busy hub of technology, that is like an underground network, that really only the indigenous communities know about. Now you have read this story you can tune into all the different Apps, websites, TV stations to get an insight into indigenous culture and remote community life while travelling in the Kimberley and Pilbara. Enjoy!

Indulge in the following:

PAKAM app free download for iPhone or Android

www.pakam.com.au PAKAM website

PAKAM Facebook page

Satellite Radio ch 917

Satellite TV ch 601


Goolarri TV ch 41

NITV ch 34

99.7 FM Broome

106.1 FM Dampier Peninsula