RPP FM is a community-based radio station. It’s one of about 300 license holders in Australia managed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority which looks at, can and should be addressing the issues and concerns of local communities that are largely ignored by the larger networks and commercial and/or public broadcasters around Australia. It broadcasts on 98.7 FM and 98.3 FM to the Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, the Southern suburbs of Kingston, wider Melbourne including Geelong and the communities of Westernport and Port Phillip Bays – in all around 350,000+ listeners.
Station Manager Brendon Telfer explains his involvement with RPP FM.
"My background in radio started way back in the 1980s when I worked with the ABC for many years until the early 2000s in international radio and television. I made the switch to working closer to home around 2010 after having an epiphany when my beautiful wife made me realise, over a bowl of cornflakes, that driving two hours to Southbank to work every day was ridiculous – that it was time to kick back and enjoy the view, and that money doesn’t really matter, it’s your state of health that does. She made me see that getting involved with my local community and enjoying what was around me would make me a much happier person and I would feel all the better for it. And that’s when I joined RPP FM.”
The station has an outside broadcasting van which is constantly in use, taking the RPP FM studios to local communities. Says Brendon, “It’s the hard work that the volunteers put in that has made the station what it is today, along with an advanced business model that is attracting corporate sponsorship, improvements to the transmitting towers on Arthurs Seat to increase the reach of our signal, the installation of new technology that will see the station enter into the digital age and the improvements and variety of programs whether they be spoken word, news, interviews or music."
Community radio is all about niche broadcasting - organised, produced and directed by the local community for the local community. In terms of the programming, the content and the radio hosts, we are in changing times. Brendon has been working very hard with the radio station and the team trying to re-purpose it and keep it relevant and active in a very exciting but very difficult time of multi-media.
“We need to ensure and guarantee its future,” says Brendon, “against the changes and developments we are seeing around us almost on a daily basis. It all comes down the the role and place of ‘FM’ in our lives. Most of the community radio stations were given FM licenses in the 1970s and 1980s and these stations were very active and well listened to but things have changed. We’re competing for the same eyes and ears as any other broadcaster, from things like online music from Spotify and iTunes to even television stations, other radio stations and even print media organisations who are adding audio and visual components to their offering. So to be competitive and to hold our own we too have to start shaping what we are doing."
"To that end in the new year we'll be looking very closely at what we are doing between 6am and 6pm so we can maintain a strong audience and address the needs of our local community – which we do. We’ll be experimenting with different formats like a current affairs program and local greater Mornington Peninsula news. Plus because we need to be competent and relevant we are adding a television capacity. We have been very successful in convincing the Community Broadcast Foundation that local community stations need to start addressing this dynamic multi-media area. So they have given us some very generous grants and we bought a whole lot of television equipment and we are now producing corporate videos for organisations and we are broadcasting major local events."
"We started off in sport because we can get some sponsorships which helps us cover some pretty hefty costs and we’ve also had a fantastic local football season with 1000s of people watching what we’ve been doing so we’re very happy with the results. The television direction will keep growing and our ambition is to be the eyes, the ears and the voice of the Mornington Peninsula," says Brendon.
"RPP FM Management wish to thank everyone who works tirelessly to continue to move our local radio station forward. Thank you to our listeners who take an interest and help define our purpose in the community and local and corporate businesses who continue to support us so we can provide a service to the Peninsula and beyond."
Sam Danckert is live on RPPFM - Voice of the Peninsula - every fortnight with Brendon Telfer. Local real estate news at its best!