• A younger SBS Greek Radio broadcaster Efthymios Kallos in the studio. (SBS)
Greek was the first language to be heard on SBS Radio's debut broadcast in 1975. To celebrate 40 years of radio broadcasting we've been meeting some of the faces behind the mics.
By
Peggy Giakoumelos

28 May 2015 - 1:09 PM  UPDATED 12 Jun 2015 - 4:20 PM

Efthymios Kallos, or Themi as he is known to his listeners on the Greek program, has been with SBS Radio for over 25 years.
                         
"It's amazing, the wealth of experiences, emotions and stories this community, the migrant community that we constantly cover, has to offer... They have amazing stories to tell," Mr Kallos said.

"And just putting them on radio, on the microphone, and then giving them to the wider audience, that in itself is an experience that you never get bored."

Despite being born and growing up in Greece, SBS Greek language broadcaster Kyriakos Gold says he always felt a connection to Australia.

Holding Australian citizenship, he decided to come to Australia as a teenager 20 years ago, a move that led him to his career as a journalist at SBS Radio.

"Dad is Greek-Australian, and Mum is Greek, so we were born and raised in Greece, always feeling Australian. Kind of the opposite of what you have with Greek kids growing up in Australia," Mr Gold said.

"So coming back here was like getting to my own truth, finding the other half of my identity, which sounds strange to many ethnic Australians, but that's what it feels like being an Australian born overseas."

Listen to SBS Reporter Peggy Giakoumelos go behind-the-scenes with Greek Radio:

SBS Radio's role of keeping the community informed about Australian life continues today as a new wave of Greek people come to Australia due to the country's economic crisis.

Most were born in Australia or to Australian parents, so, technically, they are not migrants, despite having lived most of their lives in Greece.

The Australian Greek Welfare Society says around 6,000 people have arrived from Greece and Cyprus over the past five years in Victoria alone.

Professor of modern Greek studies at the University of Sydney Vrasidas Karalis says an increase in the number of Australian passports being issued through the Australian embassy in Greece confirms the exodus.

"Most of these people studied in Greece -- they were born here, but they studied in Greece. Greece invested a lot of money in them, and then it's a haemorrhage of social, political and cultural capital coming to the country," Professor Karalis says.

"So if some of them have the opportunity, they can return later on when the situation improves in the country, or their children could follow the same wave of repatriation that we have seen with the parents. But, unfortunately, as we all know, it all depends on how the situation will improve and if the situation will improve. I tend to be optimistic."

Prof. Karalis says that group of Greek-Australians has created a need for new information to be available to the community.

One recent arrival is Sophie Gabriel. While born in Adelaide, she moved to Greece with her parents when she was four and returned to Australia only three years ago.

She was looking for study and work opportunities not available to her in Greece.

A listener of SBS Radio's Greek program, she says Greek-language media play an important role in keeping people like her informed about life in Australia.

"Well, it's keeping in touch with our culture and, you know, feeling like you're Greek, although you're not in Greece. I think language is the first and foremost thing that we need as a culture. If you forget how to speak Greek, then you lose your ... your identity," Ms Gabriel says.

Visit SBS Greek radio program site