History – Gippsland FM


  • The Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education (GIAE) Union formed an ad-hoc committee to examine the possibility of a community radio station being established in Gippsland. The then Minister for Posts and Telecommunications, Dr Moss Cass, indicated that a licence may be made available.


  • A working group had been established to further progress the idea of a community radio station based at the GIAE campus, providing a range of educational and community access programs. The group became known as the Gippsland Community Radio Society.


  • The organisation was able to take up grants from the Australia Council, but had to become legally incorporated. A community advancement co-operative was established in September of that year and seeding grants became available to assist in launching the station.


  • Studios were completed in the audio-visual department of the GIAE. Three licences were granted to the station under the Wireless & Telegraphy Act – these were for three broadcast frequencies – 103.5 for Morwell and two translators on 107.1 for Traralgon and 107.9 for Moe. The station was unable to equip itself for the 3 frequencies due to funding levels and proposed to commence on 103.5MHz.
  • By mid-October, 1977, test broadcasts commenced in mono at a power of around 10 watts. Brian Butler and Neil Hanley spent many hours during this testing stage. Just days before the official opening, the transmitter failed and considerable effort was expended in borrowing a replacement for the opening. All was in readiness for the big day – Monday, the 28th November, 1977.
  • November 28th. 3GCR-FM is officially opened by Eric Robinson, Federal Minister for Posts and Telecommunications at 1.00PM. The station commences broadcasting on 103.5 MHz from studios in the Gippsland Institute at Churchill (now Federation University Gippsland), but an hour later the station is off the air when an excavator digs up the landline to the transmitter. First programs still go to air that night with Something For the Kids (with Brian Butler and Sandra Firth) followed by the first music program “Middle of the Road” presented by Ken Thompson.


  • March. Broadcasting is transferred to a studio in the transmitter shed on the Gippsland Institute campus. Hours of broadcast are 42 hours per week – 6pm to midnight daily. Bridging announcements continue to be produced daily on cassettes and presented in between all programs which are pre-taped. Life membership awarded to founding Chairperson Brian Butler.


  • Broadcast hours increase to 59 hours per week as Col Gray becomes the station’s first daytime presenter. Plans to relocate the transmitter site to Hernes Oak are developed in order to improve reception in the Latrobe Valley, with landline connection from Churchill studios. Life member is Maltese presenter John Pace.


  • Lack of funding hampers the transmitter relocation but moves to shift the studio to better facilities at the Churchill Shopping Centre seem possible. New transmitter site also later becomes affordable. Life membership awarded to Ken Thompson.


  • Station ceases broadcasts to move transmission and studio sites. Bureaucrats bungle licence requirements and station becomes unauthorised to broadcast from new site. Landlines are not available and UHF link then receives Government approval. Broadcasts (4 hrs/night) recommence after 5 months off air from the new transmitter shed at Hernes Oak while link is purchased and installed. Life membership awarded to Paul Strickland.


  • March. Broadcasts recommence from new studios at Churchill – up to 60 hours per week.
  • December. First outside broadcast featuring the Churchill Carols by Candlelight at the GIAE campus. Life member Murray Holm.


  • May. First licence renewal hearing held at the Morwell Civic Centre.
  • August. First live band to play in the studios is the Briagalong Bush Band, featured in Jim Catterwell’s program “Bush’n’Folk”.
  • November. Outside Broadcast from Churchill Apex Funday sees Bob Adams broadcast live from a helicopter while Paul Strickland commentates on the fireworks display that evening. Inaugural awards night starring special guests Mal Garvin (Fusion) and Andrew Ogilvie (3UL). Paul Strickland awarded Programmer of the Year, with a retrospective award also made to Rose Read for 1982. Life Member Richard Palmer.


  • August. Station broadcasts increase to 100 hours per week.
  • November. Program Awards held at Morwell Village Cinemas with guest speaker Linda Marsen from the PBAA. Programmer of the Year is John Koedyk.


  • July. Construction of new studios in Morwell commences
  • September. Vandals destroy transmitter and associated equipment – off the air again!
  • December. Awards night goes on despite being off air. Guest speaker is John Kristy and Ken Thompson is awarded Programmer of the Year.


  • March. Limited broadcasting recommences from the transmitter site after 6 months off air while studio relocation to Morwell progresses.
  • April. Broadcasts commence from new studios at the Morwell Co-operative building in Ann St.
  • July. Licence renewed without a formal hearing for a further 3 years.
  • September. First sporting broadcast is presented featuring the MGFL Grand Final from Morwell East. Commentators are John Hehir, Laurie “Truck” Williams and Cyril Chaproniere while Keith Prestidge provides technical support.
  • November 28. Jon Martin completes the first 50 Hour Deejay Marathon to raise funds for the station.
  • December. Annual Program Awards are held at the Village Cinema for the third successive year; special guest is 3UL personality Di Hathaway. Programmer of the Year is Keith Prestidge.


  • September 1. Broadcast hours extend to a new record of 124 hours per week with the establishment of permanent weekday morning programs.
  • October. Gippsland FM changes frequency to 104.7 MHz.
  • November. Breakfast program begins extending hours to 144 per week. FOX Report is broadcast on relay as the Breaky news service.
  • December. Annual Program Awards held at the Traralgon Little Theatre, featuring songs and skits from the Lumen Christi Revue as entertainment. Programmers of the Year are Mrs Parry and Neil Little. Life member Keith Prestidge.


  • February. New transmitter is installed taking effective power to 5kW.
  • May. Thieves break into Ann St studios and take all studio equipment. However old back-up equipment is used to get the station back on air in a few days.
  • July. Continuous broadcasts commence with the installation of the overnight Roll-On CD system covering non-live periods of broadcasting. RRR News replaces the FOX Report in Breaky.
  • December. Awards Night returns to Village Cinemas with Jon Martin and Neil Hanley being awarded joint Programmers of the Year.


  • May. Steve Cassar performs the 50 Hour DJ Marathon.
  • October. Jenny Canovan and Paul Strickland are appointed as the first paid employees of the station. First official station survey estimates weekly audience at greater than 30,000 listeners.
  • December. Awards Night is held at the Merton Rush, with Darren Downs awarded Programmer of the Year.


  • March. Program Philosophy conference held at Carinya Child Care Centre proves to be a watershed for future programming and marketing pursuits. Minister for Transport and Communications Ralph Willis visits station with local MHR Barry Cunningham.
  • May. Studio refurbishment is in progress while Bryce Wright and Pete Colantuono raise $7000 from the 50 Hour DJ Marathon.
  • June. Pyramid Building Society collapse sees $28,000 of station funds frozen. Station struggles to survive its most serious cash flow crisis.
  • August. Dan Jordan and a host of others establish the successful 3-Ring Circus project featuring local bands. A month later the station broadcasts its first musical o/b featuring Pesky Wabbits from Georges Bar & Grill.
  • December. Awards Night is held at the Latrobe Convention Centre starring RRR Breaky Presenters Chris Hatsis and Stephen Downs. Bryce Wright is Programmer of the Year. Life member Neil Little.


  • February. ‘Rally in The Valley’ is broadcast live from the Morwell Football oval.
  • May. Bryce Wright performs another successful 50 Hour DJ Marathon.
  • October. Volunteer news team commences on the Breaky Show. Station receives 3 finalist nominations in the national PBAA Awards – Mario Sammut for Ethnic Programming, GAMA for Aboriginal Programs and the station for the 3-Ring Circus project.
  • November. Awards Night held at the Morwell Falcons with special guest Neil Hanley delivering an all time classic speech on digital broadcasting. Programmer of the Year is Pete Colantuono. Life member Neil Hanley.


  • June. Matt Tipping and Donna Gordon perform the 50 Hour DJ Marathon. Victorian Premier Joan Kirner officially opens Studio 2 at Morwell.
  • November. Paul Strickland resigns from employee position to take up new post at Monash Gippsland. Matt Tipping becomes the station’s first paid presenter broadcasting the Breaky Show Monday to Friday. The Awards Night is held at Tower Gardens with Ralf Koss as Programmer of the Year.


  • March. Dorothy Ball and George Francis are appointed as station sales representatives. Chris Devers leads the station in the great telephone book delivery fundraiser. Keith Prestidge elected to the Community Broadcasting Association of Victoria committee.
  • June. Gippsland FM organises the Reggies Conference with representatives from 7 local community stations (Mornington, Inverloch, Warragul (aspirant), Omeo, Mallacoota, Lakes Entrance and ourselves) attending at Lakes Entrance.
  • July. Station broadcasts the republican debate held at Kernot Hall – featuring Dame Leonie Kramer and Professor Donald Horn, moderator is Sir Ninian Stephen. Dan Jordan and Helen Preston perform a somewhat dramatic 50 Hour DJ Marathon.
  • October. Michael Holka and David Wilkinson take over on the Breaky program while Robyn Mauger is appointed to bolster the station sales team. Program Awards are held at the German Club Astoria with Barbara Mildenhall and Laurie Williams awarded joint Programmer of the Year. Life member Mrs Parry.
  • November. Paul Strickland is elected to the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia national committee.


  • February. Beatlemania Weekend special provides a successful outcome for station profile and finances.
  • May. Long time station volunteer Keith Prestidge departs for 3RRR.
  • June. Bryce Wright, Phoebe Brand, Jenny Canovan and Ken Thompson raise a record amount in the 50 Hour DJ Marathon. Station conference held at Ninde Dana Quaranook, Morwell.
  • August. Station broadcasts o/b from the Monash Gippsland Open Day.
  • September. Public Radio news commences on the hour via our own community radio satellite network. Station survey confirms listening audience at 29,000 listeners weekly.
  • November. First o/b from the Church St Fiesta. Awards Night held at the Morwell Golf Club with battle of the bands winner “South Eastern Arterial” featuring while Leonie Bolding is awarded Programmer of the Year. First interstate sporting broadcast is presented by Justin Nelson and Ray McLusky as they call the Morwell Falcons against Adelaide in the National Soccer League. Ian Boyd commences as a station employee to produce a weekly work life program for the Morwell Coal Mine.
  • December. Rolling Stones weekend is broadcast


  • January. First Young People in Radio Course is held, sponsored by Edison Mission.
  • February. Weekend specials continue with the Kiss Special (Pete Colantuono)
  • April. Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett appears on the station as part of the half time discussion from the Morwell Falcons broadcast match.
  • May. Rock’nRoll Breaky Week with an all Elvis Friday. George Francis retires from station sales role.
  • June. Melissa Pollard, Arden Hanley and Shane Elson perform the 50 Hour DJ Marathon. Station assists in the local Battle of the Bands.
  • August. VP Day celebrations are broadcast from Falcons Park by Bruce Mapperson, Jenny and Brendan Grainger, with Shane Elson and Arden Hanley assisting.
  • September. Station Conference held at FRAC, Morwell.
  • November. Morwell Golf Club again for the Awards Night with Jenny Grainger awarded Programmer of the Year. Life member George Andreou.


  • February. Jenny Canovan resigns from paid staff to take up a post at Monash Gippsland. No paid staff working in station management as a result.
  • June. Arden Hanley departs for 3TR. Prime Minister John Howard is presented live from Sale FC on the proposed guns legislation.
  • November. Ian Boyd leaves paid project position. Awards Night held at the Morwell Golf Club with a special broadcast award made to Loren Nania, while Programmer of the Year is Ann Laidlaw. Life Member Barbara Mildenhall


  • February. The Gippsland FM Pool Party is an outstanding success. Andrew McDonald and Peter Thain lead the event.
  • June. Station Conference at SCOPE, Morwell – proposals for a revised vision and mission are discussed. A follow-up conference in September endorses the revised document. Robyn Mauger leaves the sales team.
  • November. Morwell Golf Club for the Awards Night again. Life member is Randall Green. Programmer of the Year is Peter Thain.
  • December. Soccer broadcasts resume following successful negotiations with Morwell Falcons.


  • February. Theft at the studios results in around $9,000 in equipment plus CD’s being stolen. Pool party at Traralgon – poor weather made it a bit of a fizzer and a financial failure.
  • Programmer Contract and Volunteer Handbook launched.
  • April. $798 was raised by George and Irene Andreou through a raffle fundraiser.
  • June. Battle of the Bands held at Karma Hall Morwell (Bruce Mapperson leads for Gippsland FM)
  • October. Station delivers telephone books as a fundraiser (John Hehir co-ordinates). Ian Boyd awarded Programmer of the Year.


  • Loren Nania’s Cook