Victoria’s local and community radio sector receives little fanfare, but it’s time to celebrate the diverse voices we hear, from the diverse regions we call home!
Here are my top five favourite local radio stations.
3MDR 97.1fm (Upwey)
In recognition of the Ash Wednesday bush fires of 1983, the Mountain District sought to have a better emergency system for the Dandenong Ranges people, in order to inform them earlier and with more efficiency. Having various homes in its 25 plus year history, the radio station had its first test transmissions in 1985, and has been on the air ever since. In 2018 it moved to its new home adjacent to Upwey South Primary School, hosting a variety of community shows from a variety of characters. Some popular segments include a musical chat ‘Classically Saturdays’ with Jules, favourite outback tunes in ‘Country Bonanza’ with Denver, and a cooking segment ‘Bangers & Mash’ with Paula.
Joy 94.9 (Melbourne)
Joy have always been ‘an independent voice for the diverse lesbian gay-bisexual transgender and intersex communities’. A member of the community broadcasting association of Australia, the Melbourne voices it hosts have been the beacon of positivity and awareness for LGBT+ rights for years, originally the force of freedom of expression. Their mission includes the fight for prejudice, breaking down of isolation and celebration of Australian culture. The station has a range of working reporters, and hosts various new segments including the chance to ‘get married on air’.
3WBC 94.1FM (Box Hill)
94.1’s ‘voice of the inner east’ was founded due to lacking media representation in local broadcast media for the large community that was the Whitehorse and Boroondara municipalities. According to Whitehorse Council ‘Cultural Diversity Factsheet’, four out of every 10 residents within the Whitehorse region were born overseas and migrated to live within the area. With the establishment of surrounding eastern suburb radio stations including 3MDR, the inner east felt the many voices they housed weren’t being heard. Renting Bennettswood primary school and using loaned equipment from the community, the 94.1FM radio station had begun, with their first transmissions being local community events. Now, with a full license, the reporters proudly present the culturally diverse cast that is housed within the Whitehorse region, broadcasting 24 hours a day for 7 days a week. They manage breaking news, bringing locals up to speed on upcoming events, and ensuring no-one is left in the dark when it comes to their community and their representation.
3NRG 99.3 FM (Sunbury)
From a group of volunteers with a passion to inform, entertain and promote the local community, 99.3’s Sunbury radio became a reality when the Australian Broadcasting Authority issued a radio license area plan for the Sunbury region. Being the only applicant, 99.3 FM was granted to 3NRG to promote local news, events and community access for the town of Sunbury. Still going today, the radio hosts a vast array of community voices, fun personal presenter anecdotes, and record-breaking attempts including their submission to longest DJ marathon in the Guinness Book of World Records.
3SER 97.7FM (Cranbourne)
The community ‘sound of the south-east’ is aimed at bringing the local community together to express the multitude of voices hidden behind the scenes. With a large open base for segment renting, and further community issued programs, 97.7 plays host to an in-depth analysis of Cranbourne and it’s people. The station promotes various sponsors, individual expression, and is constantly opening its boundaries to include new and exciting news opportunities allowing anyone to rent and provide their own news.