WE’VE been able to listen to the wireless, or radio as it’s more popularly called now, since the early 20th century, but until the 1970s all radio stations were either commercial or run by the government.
In the 1960s our social, political and cultural landscape began to change and people wanted the media to reflect the changes.
Specialist groups like ethnic and indigenous communities, political activists, students, academics and classical music buffs lobbied for their own radio broadcasting licences.
The movement was a major force in the birth of community radio stations like Orange’s FM107.5.
In the 1970s, the federal government made a number of community broadcasting licences available, establishing what it called the third tier of radio.
The Communications and Media Authority regulates the way the radio stations behave and decides who qualifies for the different types of licences by looking at the needs of the community.
They must also be strictly non-profit but can sell sponsorships to help raise money to keep them on the air.
Orange’s FM107.5, being volunteer driven, brings a localism to the community by operating for the people, by the people.
The station is on-air 24 hours a day with local and satellite broadcasts, while the presenters cover a variety of skills, experiences, backgrounds and community networks.
The station transmits a diverse range of programs from country, pop, classical, easy listening, jazz to rock and ethnic.
The programs include local community information, community announcements, news and interviews with local identities about topical issues.
The station broadcasts more than the Australian Broadcasting Association’s minimum requirement of 25 per cent Australian content.
FM107.5 performs a useful and important role in providing basic media training for its presenters, but people can also become a non-broadcasting member and help the station with its fundraising efforts or administration.
The people at FM107.5 know they are providing valuable volunteer work and members have the opportunity to develop new skills relating to radio production.
FM107.5 also provides free community announcements and sells sponsorships to local organisations for very reasonable rates.
Membership is open to everyone for $45 a year, $85 for organisations or $15 as a friend. People who would like to become involved can phone or leave a message on 6361 8877 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.