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City Park Radio

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, City Park Radio in Launceston will celebrate 30 years of licensed broadcasting on 7 April 2016. Community radio is best described as being from the man or woman next door for their neighbour. It is sharply focused on what locals like and want to hear.

Planning for City Park Radio started in 1978. In the early days, thousands of people were involved in getting the station established, from test transmissions between 1982 to 1984, fundraising, and writing submissions to get a full-time community broadcasting licence.

The station became incorporated in 1982, but Launceston Christian Broadcasters also tried to get a community radio licence then. That meant it was back to the drawing board as both groups were vying for a licence. In 1985, both groups did receive a community broadcasting licence, the only time the federal government has granted a licence to two community broadcasters in the same area at the same time.

City Park Radio began operating in April 1986. In the early days, the studios were on the second floor of the TAFE college at Alanvale. City Park Radio did a breakfast show from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m., Monday to Friday, and after that they went off air until 5 p.m. when the drivetime show commenced. Drivetime featured programs for children and adults, and blues, rock and country music. Evening programming would go through to midnight.

In the 1990s the station filled the remaining daytime spots once they recruited enough volunteers to do the programs and obtained better facilities. The redevelopment of one of the old City Park stables into a modern radio complex occurred in the 1990s and this was all done by volunteer labour. If you have visited the Radio Museum you can still see the home-built studio console, first used at Alanvale College and in the City Park Cottage. The first new studio came in 1999.

There have been many identities on the station over the years and some have appeared every year on the schedule: Chris Sayer, David Lay, John Doyer, Umi Quor, Sandy Thow and Rob Wells. Others include the late Launceston deputy mayor Jeremy Ball, Mandy Shepherd who went on to work at LA FM; Anne Fitzgerald, Roisin McCann, Sharon Pittaway and Ross Peddlesden all went on to the ABC. Others such as Vaughan Gipson, John Munday and Noel Heather were there at the start in return for many stints over the years.

Many will remember that in the 1990s the late Tim Moon from City Park Radio achieved the world record for the longest radio broadcast. He was on air for 122 hours, 20 minutes and 3 seconds. In the 1980s and 1990s the dedicated team of volunteers was led by David Sice and it has to be said the station would not be where it is today without such hardworking volunteers.

The Launceston City Council is to be applauded for leasing the City Park Cottage, back in 1988, to this community group and their continuing support, assistance and recognition ensure City Park Radio continues into the future. The former president of the Legislative Council, Don Wing, has given strong support over the years as City Park Radio patron. The station has covered many events including the festival that became Festivale, the Launceston Christmas parades, special broadcast for Harmony Day and the hosting of the multicultural broadcasting conference in Launceston two years ago. The station prides itself on its multicultural programs which have been running for most of the past three decades.

City Park Radio is a listener-supported radio station, in that the people who listen also become financial members. Local businesses also support the station by sponsoring its operations. The station has been fortunate to receive government funding for multicultural programs and some transmission projects. City Park Radio's current major project is to provide another transmission frequency to enhance coverage in Launceston and it has applied for part funding from the Tasmanian Community Fund.

The success of City Park Radio comes down to the tireless work of its dedicated volunteers. Its ethos is local programs for local people made by local people. The commitment for the volunteers runs deep and they regularly refuse to take petrol money as reimbursement for their own out-of-pocket expenses to travel to events for the station. The volunteers do what they do for the absolute love of it. City Park Radio has also demonstrated a big commitment to broadcasting local sporting events such as Launceston games for the state football league, SEABL or basketball games, and state Victory League soccer.

City Park Radio demonstrates community spirit at its best and I congratulate them for their outstanding commitment to Launceston.

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