Phoenix FM rises

THEY’RE on: Phoenix FM has officially hit Bendigo’s airwaves and is geared to take the community broadcasting scene by storm during the next two weeks.It was an anxious wait for a crowd of supporters and buddy broadcaster volunteers who yesterday gathered at midday to see the station’s new Strickland Road premises realise a dream only imagined last year.Fuelled by a coffee van on site and plenty of camaraderie, nostalgia enthusiasts mingled with heavy metal fans in anticipation of the inaugural broadcast.Granted a temporary two-week licence by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Central Victorian Community Broadcasters has worked furiously to prepare for the much-coveted test broadcast on the 89.5FM frequency.Former manager of 3CCC and group mentor Gerry Pyne travelled from Cairns to launch the test broadcast, with a welcome to country by indigenous leader Aunty Lyn.Mr Pyne said the event was ‘‘a bit of a reunion.’’But he warned there was ‘‘absolutely no question’’ that the 89.5 frequency should remain in community use.‘‘Any talk of giving that to the ABC or anyone else is nonsensical.The decision to keep it for the community was made by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal in 1982, so the only question is whether Phoenix is granted a full licence,’’ he said.Community broadcasters president Geoff Morris said the group, dedicated to the rediscovery of genuine community-based radio, was thrilled to be on air.‘‘It’s a remarkable day,’’ he said.‘‘We had no millionaires backing us, but we have drive and commitment.A lot of support has come from Bendigo.‘‘Phonix FM won’t sound like a slick commercial station because it isn’t.’’The station expects to provide coverage within a 30-kilometre radius of Bendigo, extending to Heathcote.From film society news to heavy metal, reggae, women’s affairs and a Saturday sports program, the community broadcasters are confident the program will have something for everyone.Programs with eclectic names such as Avant Graveyard, Secret Men’s Business and Life’s Too Short to Stuff Mushrooms’ punctuate the schedule, while Buddhist monk Ashin Odarawi will discuss the Karen Refugee Project, and Li Fei will provide news from China.Mr Morris said more than 100 volunteers ‘‘flooding through the doors’’ for training were testimony to the city’s demand for a varied community broadcaster.Daniel Hicks, 25, said he was a bit nervous, but looked forward to being on air last night to launch his Have Metal Will Mosh program.‘‘It’s great to get together with people of so many creeds,’’ he said.Greater Bendigo City arts and cultural team leader Maree McLachlan said Phoenix FM was a ‘‘fantastic outlet’’ for volunteers and spreading the word about community events.She commended the great diversity of people involved in the broadcast.ntsA call to Fresh FM’s office yesterday was unanswered Fresh FM, closed for two weeks, will resume its licence on Monday, January 21, at 12 pm.

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