Student Youth Network
|City of license||Mt Dandenong|
|Slogan||"Where young people run the show"|
|First air date||28 January 2003|
(Student Youth Network Inc.)
SYN Media (Student Youth Network Inc) is a youth-run media organisation that provides training and broadcast opportunities for young people. Commonly referred to as SYN, the organisation produces new and independent media that is made by and for Melbourne's young people. It's a multi-media organisation utilising radio, television, and online.
The station was formed after SRA (RMIT Student Radio Association) and 3TD (Thornbury Darebin College's radio station) merged in order to bolster their bid for a full-time community radio broadcasting license. SYN began broadcasting in 2001. SYN evolved out of MSR (Melbourne Student Radio) which consisted of Thornbury High's (then Thornbury Darebin College) 3TD, RMIT’s SRA, Latrobe University’s SUB FM, Swinburne University’s 3SSR, Monash University’s 3MU and Deakin’s BAS radio. MSR had a one month temporary aspirant broadcast licence in 2000 between August and September. Due to in-fighting at the board level of MSR, SRA station manager Jesse Nonneman approached Colin Thompson and Paul Van Eeden (the teachers from Thornbury High) and proposed a split from MSR to form a new youth radio station that would have 50% content from Primary and High School students and 50% University content. The new station was briefly called SAY FM (Student And Youth Network). Jo McCarthy (current ABC journalist) presenter on SRA and future board member on SYN suggested the change to SYN FM.
The full-time licence application was co-authored by Jesse Nonneman (Station Manager SRA), Simon Goodrich (Assistant Manager SRA) Paul Van Eeden (President 3TD) and Colin Thompson (Treasurer 3TD). The public hearings held at the Melbourne Town Hall in 2000 (to hear the claims of the 22 aspirant radio stations) with Professor David Flint saw Simon Goodrich, Paul Van Eeden Jo McCarthy and RMIT University Lecturer and ABC Media commenter Lee Burton represent SYN. The tag line for the application was "creators not just consumers of media". The budget plan for SYN was paid for by the Victorian Education Department with the backing of the Education Minister Mary Delahunty, who also donated her own money towards the costs of the lawyers developing the SYN Constitution. Mary Delahunty personally launched the SYN incorporated company in 2000 with two students from 3TD, Moshidi Manaka and future comedian Danny McGinlay. SYN had the backing of a number of ministers including state minister Justin Madden (Youth Affairs) and Federal Minister Martin Ferguson. The original board included members from YACVIC (Youth Affairs Council of Victoria) and other Victorian Peak Youth bodies. When the Licence was allocated to SYN in 2001 the then ABA (ACMA) commended SYN for being inclusive of all youth groups citing in particular the involvement of Multicultural Youth Affairs Victoria and the DAV (Debaters Association of Victoria).
Rorie Ryan (Thornbury High’s junior student of the year in 1992) was crucial to SYN’s success having created 3TD in 1994 by applying for the first ever Australian aspirant High School radio station licence on 89.1 while he was in year 10. Rorie’s technical expertise saw him go on to work for 3SRA, 3MSR, 3TD, 3SYN and NU Country Radio (an unsuccessful bidder for a full-time licence) and he then went on to work for SBS radio and currently works for FOX FM. 3TD began broadcasting in 1996 attracting the interest of Nigel Slater of Latrobe University’s SUB FM and he invited 3TD to join 3MSR, knowing that teens were under represented in the community radio sector and would be crucial in obtaining a licence. No university radio station had previously been successful in any state in pursuing a full-time licence. This was the reason why 3SRA’s Ryan Egan and his successor Jesse Nonneman were focused on getting 3TD to play a crucial role in the bid for a Melbourne wide licence.
In late December 2002, SYN was awarded a permanent broadcasting license. It began broadcasting full-time in January 2003. SYN broadcasts on a full power metropolitan community radio license in Victoria and can be heard throughout Melbourne, Geelong and in parts of regional Victoria on 90.7 FM. Many of their shows are podcast (or SYNcast) on their website, and also through sites like Facebook.
In late 2012 the 'Pay for your SYNs' campaign was launched in order to raise funds to upgrade and expand the studio facilities of SYN. The campaign was a success and as a result the two existing studios were upgraded alongside the addition of a third studio.
Approximately 80,000 people tune into SYN's radio broadcast on 90.7 FM weekly. Volunteers are all aged 12–25 years, and fill various roles in the organization. These include presenting and producing programs and working within the various departments including radio, TV, online, music, talks, marketing and publicity, IT and tech. A 2006 McNair listener survey showed a similar age group, 15-24, as the largest age group listening to community radio in Australia.
SYN has three major production departments: SYN Radio, SYN TV, and SYN Online.
SYN produces two independent broadcasts full-time both on 90.7FM and, as of April 2nd 2014, on Digital Radio in Melbourne. The two broadcasts SYN 90.7 and SYN Nation are also broadcast online.
While SYN programming rotates four times each year in seasons, a number of 'flagship' programmes remain consistent, including:
- Get Cereal. SYN's breakfast radio show, airing between 6 and 9am each weekday, currently hosted by a different team each morning
- Panorama: The station's news and current affairs show.
- Amplify: Weekday Drivetime Radio hosted solely by under-18s.
- New and Approved & The Hoist: Airing between 6 and 8pm, both programmes feature music reviews, artist interviews and songs selected by SYN's music committee. The Hoist focuses specifically on Australian music.
- In Joke: Providing commentary and insight on the local and international comedy scene.
- Queer Youth On Air: Current affairs, entertainment and discussion relevant to the queer community.
- Arts Mitten: A show centred on Melbourne arts and culture.
- The Naughty Rude Show: Covers sex, relationships and drugs from a youth perspective.
As well as radio, SYN also produces television for Melbourne's community television broadcaster C31. At SYN TV's height in 2010, it produced up to fifteen hours of content per week.
In late 2008, SYN launched Get Cereal TV, a morning television alternative aimed at the youth of Melbourne. The show aired daily between 7:30 and 8:30am on Channel 31. It was cancelled by SYN at the end of 2010 to allow the station to create alternative television programming
In early 2013, SYN launched The Cut, a weekly show based on arts and culture around Melbourne. It is SYN's only pre-recorded television show currently on air.
Online, SYN publishes programme blogs and a weekly e-newsletter. The website also features 'SYNcasts' of some of SYN's radio shows as well as various SYNcast-only programmes.
Contribution to the sector
SYN is one of the largest youth projects in Australia and the world, and has up to 1,500 volunteers. It defines its aim as "to implement a national culture of young people broadcasting for themselves". In order to achieve this outcome, the station rotates on-air presenters frequently (approximately every three months) and all crew and executive positions annually. SYN does this to allow more than 1200 young people to gain direct media experience annually. Around 2500 students have also incorporated SYN's training and education programmes into their studies.
SYN has contributed greatly to Community Radio both in Australia and worldwide. For example, one spinoff project, the Bentokit Project, is a FLOSS and Cross-Platform Radio Broadcasting Suite for Community Stations licensed under the GPL.
On 25 November 2011, a book was released entitled "Life of SYN" written by Ellie Rennie. In it, Rennie follows key SYN staff and volunteers "as they build Australia’s most unusual media empire against enormous odds. Over the course of the book, social networking becomes the most popular use of the internet and traditional media institutions are forced to acknowledge the rise of amateur content. In response, SYN rethinks its approach to the online environment, kills its print publication, deals with the introduction of digital broadcasting and teaches schoolteachers about a new kind of literacy. In just two years dozens of careers are launched, the SYN radio audience doubles and they get told off for swearing." 
SYN has had several different slogans. The most recent slogan is Click, Switch, Watch and was intended to reflect SYN's three media platforms - online, radio and television. Past slogans include Creators not Consumers, We May Be Young But We Know Our Shit and Where the Kids Push the Buttons. The circle logo was developed in the mid 1990s by Caroline Worsley. The launch creative, featuring an evolution narrative, was originally designed by Olivia Fowler studying a diploma of graphic design at Holmesglen TAFE, her iconic baby in the ear, representing the birth of a radio station was developed into series of posters by Jeremy Wortsman.
Former SYN staff members include Georgia Webster, Jo Curtin, Ryan Egan, Chloe Hill, Craig Twitt and Bryce Ives, who have each had a strong involvement in the Australian Community Broadcasting sector. Joanna McCarthy award winning ABC Journalist. Simon Goodrich, Managing Director of Portable Content, Andrew Apostola co-founder and publisher of Portable. Jesse Nonneman, 3PBS. Paul Van Eeden Victorian Teacher of the year 2007 producer ClassTV/Channel31. Colin Thompson who set up SYN's transmission on Mt Dandenong and negotiated original contract and conditions.
- MacLean, Sheena (23 September 2004). "Cyber Generation Calls Tune". The Australian. Retrieved 2007-10-16.[dead link]
- Yee, Andrew (4 March 2002). "ABA awards new community radio licence to RMIT youth radio station: RMIT University’s youth community radio station, Student Youth Network FM (SYN FM), has been awarded a new community radio licence by the Australian Broadcasting Authority.". RMIT University. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- "AM Program Archive". Australia ABC AM. 26 December 2002. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- "SYN Philosophy". Student Youth Network. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- "Get Cereal on SYN". SYN Media. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "Get Cereal for breakfast". Youth Central. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "Panorama on SYN". SYN Media. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "In Joke on SYN". SYN Media. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
- "The Naughty Rude Show on SYN". SYN Media. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "Sex talk from a Gen Y perspective". The Age. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "1700 on Channel 31". C31. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "The Wrap". The Wrap, SYN. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "Life of Syn (Monash University Publishing)". Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "Amazon.com: Life of SYN: A Story of the Digital Generation (9781921867064): Ellie Rennie: Books". Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- Rennie, Ellie (2011). Life of SYN: A Story of the Digital Generation. Monash University Press. p. 140. ISBN 1-921867-06-X.