Station community celebrates announcement

CAKE CUTTING: Celebrating the new licence with cake are board members Michael Schultz, Paul McRobert, Ken Lane, David Walshaw, Dave Roberts, Chris Copeland and Jack Lane. Picture: CAROLINE HAMMAT

Caroline Hammat

Members of Millicent’s community radio station joined with board members and station volunteers on Saturday to celebrate the announcement of their successful five year licence application.

It was great news for 5the FM who have been operating on a temporary licence for the past 10 months since losing their long-term licence in December 2022.

At least 60 people dropped by, including Member for Barker Tony Pasin, to enjoy a sausage sizzle, champagne and cake to acknowledge the milestone.

Chair of the station David Walshaw addressed the membership base and reminded them of the initial struggle to gain access to the station building followed by the discovery of huge debt.

“We were overwhelmed by what we found and the board wondered if it was better to just collapse the whole association and start again” he said.

“But if we collapsed the association all those people who supported the radio station and who this station owed money to would never have got paid.

“They are small businesses struggling with cost of living pressures, like we all are, and the board made a conscious decision that they were going to pay those guys back, and we did.

“Here we are now, back in business.

“We’ve got money in the bank, no debt and the station is going forward in leaps and bounds.”

Mr Walshaw also announced on the day that the station board has named volunteer Dave Roberts as the new on-air operations coordinator.

Mr Roberts first arrived at the station with his wife Marnie and two daughters to help take rubbish to the dump.

The family have become familiar faces at the station and valued volunteers with Mr Walshaw calling them a “beacon of light” for the station.

“Dave has taken on an unofficial on-air role where people are going to him and he is doing the coordination of all the rosters.

“Given the leadership qualities he has shown in that role it is appropriate for us to give him reward for that effort.

“It’s an evolving role, the board will work with him from the get go.

“Dave will be the link between the presenters and the board and vice versa.

“It’s one of the most important positions in our organisations.”

The days celebration ended with local presenter Paul Mac teaming up with FIVEaa night time presenter, and the station’s patron, Leith Forrest for a two hour show.

Mr Forrest, who started his radio career at 5the FM as a 14 year old boy 30 years ago, was visiting Millicent as guest speaker for the Millicent Lions 60th anniversary.

Following the show local presenters had the opportunity for a Q and A session to talk about on-air etiquette, tips and tricks with the experienced radio host.