3MFM celebrated its 30th birthday with a live broadcast and celebrations from the Wonthaggi Plaza on Thursday.
A cake was cut to celebrate the occasion and in true 3mFM fashion, many local community groups were welcomed to hold a stall in the plaza as part of the celebrations.
From its humble beginnings at a farm house at Mount Misery, Outtrim, the radio station has survived through tough times and is a thriving community radio station that broadcasts from Inverloch and has listeners tuning in to three different radio signals across South Gippsland.
Jack Cummins, who helped establish the radio station, told the story of how a community radio station run solely by volunteers began.
“The Wylie family from Outtrim gave us a house to set up the first broadcast area, and then they gave us a cow shed, so we built the studio out there with the tower and everything,” he said.
“We were two years in the making before we applied for the licence. We started to broadcast very early and we had to record everything that went to air because we didn’t have a licence.
“They kept a record of all our broadcasts and we had to keep it on tape.
“I wrote the expression of interest for a licence to the minister and I stayed with the station until they got their licence.
“It was quite unique that the Australian Broadcast Commission came down and had a hearing about our application in the council chambers and they decided at the end of the hearing to grant a licence.
“There was jubilation! You’d think we’d won the bloody grand final.”
Jack paid tribute to Alan Hislop and David Pearce, who helped fine-tune the initial application for a radio licence.
He also recognised Alan and the reverend Trevor Williams for their hard work during tough times at the station.
“The whole concept was that the community would take it over, raise funds for it and keep it going, and they’ve managed to do that.
“I’m really thrilled to be here in the 30th year,” he said.
Great place to volunteer
John Cartwright walked in off the street in 2004 and joined 3mFM, and has become one of the most well-known identities at the station.
3mFM was down and out when he walked in the door, and he said it’s had a complete resurrection since.
“Unbeknownst to me, it was one vote away from closing the doors at that time and it was not that good when I joined,” he said.
“That’s history and a lot of changes needed to happen but here it is, it’s just the most vibrant organisation.
“It used to be that you would dread going to the studio, which is completely turned around now. You get there and you don’t want to leave. If there was a bed there I think I’d sleep over.
“It’s a great place to be with great volunteers and I’m staggered at the amount of hours that everybody puts in.
“Some organisations, there’s always the few who do the most, but 3mFM is spread right across the board.”