THE TOWN OF GIN GIN
Gin Gin is a small town in the centre of a rural area of 6000 people, situated midway between Brisbane and Rockhampton straddling the Bruce Highway, and consequently is a major stopover for heavy transport and tourists. The region produces sugarcane, small crops, citrus fruit, cattle and timber, and is well serviced by schools, churches, hotels, cafes, a modern supermarket and a wide variety of small businesses. Gin Gin is a very civic minded town, and has almost 80 sporting, recreation and social clubs.
FORMATION OF GIN GIN’S OWN 104.9FM
The need for a community radio station in the Gin Gin area was recognized in October 2007 by a small group of recent arrivals to the area, Bob and Elaine Ethell, and Brian and Jules Verity who took the necessary steps to gain support for the idea from the Gin Gin Chamber of Commerce, Kolan Shire Council (now the Bundaberg Regional Council) and other relevant organizations.
A meeting to form a steering committee was held at the Gin Gin Hotel in February 2008 and was well attended. Brian Verity was elected President, Bob Ethell Secretary/Treasurer and Jules Verity attended to publicity matters. A bank account was opened at the Gin Gin Bendigo Community Bank with a $20.00 loan from Bob and Brian and future progress was published in the Kolan Recorder, Bundaberg Newsmail and broadcast by ABC Radio and Channel 7. Membership now stood at seven enthusiastic people, which increased to almost 50 by the end of the year.
Incorporation of Gin Gin Community Broadcasters Inc was granted in March 2008, and a Temporary Community Broadcasting Licence was issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to allow broadcasting on the frequency of 104.9Mhz from 1st January 2009
The problem of finding suitable premises to establish a broadcast studio and office was solved with the co-operation of the Gin Gin Historical Society, who generously offered the use of the old Gin Gin railway station for a “peppercorn” rent. This is a beautiful Heritage Listed building about 140 years old and is ideal for the purpose. A small grant from the Adelaide based Foundation for Rural and Regional Reconstruction was obtained to carry out internal work, and local tradesmen, builder Laurie Witham and electrician Dave Ferguson donated time and material, and with the help of members a studio and control room were completed. Carpet, furniture and some basic electronic equipment was donated and purchased second hand.
Bundaberg firm Luxfield Communications was approached to supply transmission equipment on a lease basis and this was installed in January 2009.
Our first broadcast was made on the evening of 13th January 2009, and test transmissions started next day, with the official opening by the Mayor of Bundaberg Regional Council, Cr Lorraine Pyefinch on Australia Day 26th January. Initial surveys showed that “country music” was the first choice of local people, and this genre remains very popular.
From the first day of transmission support from local business has been strong, verifying the need for a local radio station. Three Gin Gin businesses, North Coast Concreters, Gin Gin Hotel and Gin Gin Hardware, became foundation sponsors paying in advance for two years sponsorship, which gave the station the financial boost it needed, and five other businesses initially sponsored on a monthly basis.
AS WE ARE NOW
As a purely voluntary “not for profit” organization, we are proud of the progress we have made since first our first broadcast, providing an important service of information and entertainment. Broadcasting 24 hours a day by 17 presenters and featuring an hourly National Radio News and Weather service, programmes reflect the wide variety of musical tastes of the presenters, who provide their own music. With the assured support of local businesses, we aim to be the best Community Radio Station in Australia.