Chats keep the home fires burning

ONLINE multicultural radio station Global Chat Radio is on a mission to keep Western Australian migrants connected with their culture, but needs more volunteers to make it happen. 

Founder Franco Smargiassi, who migrated from Italy as a child, describes WA’s culture as “rich” but says over time those who have migrated to Australia have been slowly losing connection with their heritage.

Mr Smargiassi spoke standard Italian to his children while they were growing up and now rues not using the dialect of his hometown Vasto.

“My children tell me that within a generation, my dialect back in Italy will have disappeared forever from this world,” he said.

That loss would be “devastating”. 

To encourage migrant families to be proud of their backgrounds, Mr Smargiassi founded Global Chat Radio in 2015,  giving them a platform to share their culture amongst each other and the wider community. 

Volunteer Nirmal Singh migrated from India in 2014 and met Mr Smargiassi while working as a project officer with Kaleidoscope Initiative, which helps migrants become job-ready. 

Mr Smargiassi invited him to conduct some interviews, giving him a platform to share his passion for helping others learn about different cultures, along with teaching people from multicultural backgrounds about Australia. 

Mr Singh encouraged all Western Australians to take a moment to learn something new about the different cultures surrounding them. 

“There is variation in how we do things, there is no one way,” Mr Singh said.

“That is why we should respect each other and learn about each other.”

GCR, which is based in Tuart Hill, relies on volunteers to create and present their own programs, sharing personal stories and migration-related issues 

“We need more volunteers to make things happen,” Mr Smargiassi said.  Anyone can volunteer through the Global Chat Radios website at

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