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Building the new 2MNO studios: a labour of love

Dieter and Chris find relief in the iced water delivered by Deanne from Cafe 28 next door.It feels like 50 degrees, which is not surprising since we are in an empty building on one of the warmest day of the year.
Nanjing Night Net

As the region swelters through the 34-degree heatwave, in the abandoned Cooma North post office, two dedicated men are sweating it out to create something new for the community.

They are Chris Nolte and Dieter Kurella who, for the past seven weeks, have been transforming the old post office into new studios for radio station 2MNO.

When they began their work in early January, the post office was exactly as it had been left after it closed in 2014, with the counter, security screen, and everything else still there.

But, after volunteering their time and skill for more than 50 hours each week, Chris and Dieter have made amazing progress in transforming an old post office into a new radio station, complete with two broadcast studios and a control room.

Both men are well into their seventies, and Chris, who hails from Holland, started out as an electrical instrument maker in Newcastle and then ran the famous Clog Maker shop in Cooma for a decade before retiring.

Dieter is a gasfitter and plumber by trade, and has renovated many houses during his retirement.

What has brought these two men together in this project is a shared passion for community radio.

“We love radio, we love community, we love helping people out, we love 2MNO,” explains Chris, who has been involved with the station for more than 14 years and presents a program on Sundays between 12 noon and 2pm that he calls “Happy Chris Mix”.

“I love doing the show and play German, Austrian, Dutch, and French music; you name it I’ll play it,” says Chris.

Dieter’s program is simply called “Mondays with Dieter” and runs from 10am to 1pm.

“I like playing easy listening and country music,” he says.

The audience interaction is something that inspires them both.

“We’re lucky to get lots of calls. People ring in to say the music brings back memories, sometimes they’re even crying because we’re playing a song that means so much to them,” Dieter says.

“Over the years you build up a collection and you know what people love to listen to,” adds Chris.

“And when people pass away I write it down and then next year I’ll mention it, and if I know a particular melody they loved I’ll play it; that’s why we do it.”

As the two men continue to sweat through their renovation project, they support one another and exchange good-natured banter.

At one stage Dieter playfully points a fibro cutter towards his colleague’s fingers, and later Chris helps Dieter read the tiny numbers on a measuring tape.

Suddenly there is a knock at the door as neighbour Deanne, owner of Cafe 28, brings the two workers an unexpected but very welcome pitcher of ice water with lemon.

“They’re such lovely fellows and they’ve put so much time in and I’m glad to help out on such a hot day,” Deanne says.

As they sip their ice water, Chris reflects on the project.

“It’ll still take many weeks to finish but this kind of work keeps us alive.

“We’re both a bit crook, Dieter has macular degeneration and I’ve got a pacemaker, but doing the radio show and helping the community is what keeps us going day after day,” says Chris.

If you would like to become involved with 2MNO, contact Faye Anderson on 6452 2216, or for more information visit:梧桐夜网2mno.org419论坛.

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