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LightFM’s History

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89.9 LightFM traces its origins back to the 1970s.

1977 – The vision for ‘Melbourne Christian Radio’ was born when Chairman Ray Taylor, Graham Cameron, David Freeman, Robert Freeman, Bill Foster, Eric McArdle, Len Miles and Bob Stokes formed an interim committee to pray and plan for a Christian Radio Station for Melbourne “to bring hope to a hopeless world”.

1978 – Melbourne Christian Radio (MCR) was launched at the Easter Belgrave Heights Convention. 4,000 people signed a statement of interest. MCR applied to the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal for a ‘Special Interest’ Community Broadcasting License. The application was unsuccessful.

1980 – The first test broadcast conducted over 3 days at the People’s Church Reservoir. During the 1980s Melbourne Christian Radio conducted test broadcasts and explored creative ways to include Christian content on Melbourne radio.

1983 – Melbourne Christian Radio purchased airtime on 3DB (now Mix 101.1) for a 2 hour Christian program on Sunday evenings. The program lasted 2 years until 3DB changed format but ratings quadrupled.

1990 – Melbourne Christian Radio changed its name to Triple Seven Communications Inc, appointed Bruce Upton as inaugural General Manager and opened offices in Glen Waverley.

1995 – A temporary studio using mostly second hand equipment was established on the top floor of 673 Whitehorse Rd, Mont Albert for further test broadcasts. Throughout the 1990’s Triple Seven conducted various test broadcasts culminating with a six-week broadcast in October-November 1998.

2000 – The Australian Broadcasting Authority announced that it would make a final allocation of four community licenses for Melbourne.

2001 – Triple Seven conducted a final three month test broadcast and was on-air during the events of September 11. On Wednesday 19 December Triple Seven Communications Inc was awarded one of two Melbourne-wide FM community licenses – on a frequency of 89.9 – and given 12 months to commence full-time service.

2002 – On 1 July Jeff Miller started as the first General Manager of 89.9 LightFM. Sunday 1 December 2001 – 89.9 LightFM – ‘Good Friends, Great Music and a Message of Hope’ – launched at midnight! The Careline took 600 calls in its first year.

2003 – 673 Whitehorse Rd, Mont Albert sold. 89.9 LightFM prepared to move to an old Church in Notting Hill but on the same day that the local council refused to grant approval, the new owner of 673 Whitehorse Rd offered the ground floor to 89.9 LightFM. lightfm.com.au launched.

2004 – 89.9 LightFM took up full occupancy of 673 Whitehorse Road, Mont Albert expanding from 80m2 to 230m2.

2005 – First McNair Ingenuity listener survey revealed weekly audience of 170,000 & monthly audience of 253,000.

2006 – January – Phil Gray became 89.9 LightFM’s second General Manager.

2007 – 1 October – Simulcast of Channel 9 News began.

2008 – Having outgrown 673 Whitehorse Rd, Mont Albert the search began for a new home for 89.9 LightFM.

2009 – 2 April – Graham Hasler was appointed 89.9 LightFM’s third General Manager. November – 673 Whitehorse Rd, Mont Albert sold again.

2010 – McNair Ingenuity research revealed 89.9 LightFM had the biggest community radio audience in Australia with 473,000 listeners per week and 640,000 per month. 19 October – 89.9 LightFM relocated to 333 Mitcham Rd, Mitcham leasing 600m2. The Careline received more than 7,000 calls in the past year.

2011 – LightFM Inc changed its name to LightMelbourne Inc. 1 December – launch of LightDigital “Creating Faith, Sharing Hope”. lightdigital.com.au launched.

2012 – Jarrod Graetz appointed LightMelbourne’s CEO. The Careline received more than 1,000 calls per month.