Adelaide gets Fresh and MBS

Two new high powered community licences have been awarded by the ABA for the Adelaide area – Fresh FM won the Adelaide licence (FM 92.7) and the Adelaide Foothills licence went to MBS (FM 99.9).

The ABA received five applications for the Adelaide licence and six applications for the Adelaide Foothills licence.

The applicants for the Adelaide licence were Fresh Broadcasters Incorporated (Fresh), Music Broadcasting Society of South Australia Inc (MBS), Progressive Dance Network Incorporated (PDNI), Radio Televisione Italiana (SA) Incorporated (RTI) and RPH Adelaide Incorporated. Fresh, MBS, RTI and PDNI were also applicants for the Adelaide Foothills licence, along with Urrbrae Community Radio Incorporated and Adelaide Independent Radio Inc.

ABA Chairman David Flint told radioinfo: “Fresh has demonstrated that it is committed to providing a youth service with local content and that it is an active participant in the Adelaide community. MBS has demonstrated that it is dedicated to providing a comprehensive service targeting fine music and the arts ”

There have been a lot of changes in Adelaide’s Community Sector over the past year. Two community licences for Adelaide, one AM and one FM, one licence for the Adelaide Foothills, one for Port Adelaide and one for the Barossa Valley were made available following completion of the Adelaide licence area plan in September 2001. The AM licence in Adelaide was allocated to 5RPH in December 2001 and the Barossa Valley licence was allocated to Barossa Broadcasting Board Inc (TripleBfm) in December 2001. The ABA is currently considering allocation of the licence in Port Adelaide.

Fresh FM’s Secretary and Treasurer, father and son team Graham and Greg Branford, spoke to radioinfo about getting the licence:

radioinfo: Congratulations. How do you fell? Branfords: Fantastic. It has been a lot of work, but we got there. You will see from our submission that we have done a lot of work towards this over quite a few years. Our first Temporary TCBL broadcast was in 1998. When we found out late last Thursday that we would get the licence we celebrated hard that night.

radioinfo: You’re a father and son team? How did you get involved in a youth station Graham? Older Branford: My son Greg was in the group of people who were setting up the station. I had been involved in the first community stations in Adelaide almost 30 years ago and had experience in getting them up and running and knowing what the ABA required, so they roped me into the job of secretary and public officer.

radioinfo: How many people are involved with Fresh? Branfords: We have an established group of listeners and volunteers because we have been going for so long. There are 5000 paid subscribers (membership is $20), 240 volunteers (about 100 are currently active) and we target listeners aged between 18-24. Now that we have a permanent licence we expect more people will join us and we will get more listeners.

radioinfo: Many people listening now? Branfords: Yes, we know we have a good strong listenership aged 14-28. It has not been an easy task to keep listeners because have had to share the frequency with two other groups during the recent test broadcasts. The ABA made an FM frequency available for 5UV to move to FM during the past year, so that meant one of the test frequencies was no longer available, so that forced us to share time with RTI, an Italian language community broadcaster and MBS, a classical music broadcaster.

radioinfo: That must have been a nightmare to schedule? Branfords: Yes it was, but we all co-operated to make the best of it. We were on air between 11pm until 6am most nights, and a little earlier on Saturday nights. RTI programming was on air between 9am and 4pm and MBS programming was on 4-11 pm.

radioinfo: Before the sharing were you ever on fulltime seven days a week? Branfords: March 2000 was the last time we were on 24 / 7. Interestingly, during that time there was a 4% swing to “Other FM” stations in the survey.

radioinfo: What sort of music do you play? Branfords: The ABA categorises it as ‘Electronica.’ It is dance, R&B, hip hop, rap, house, trance, nrg. About 14 of the styles that the ABA defines as ‘electronica.’

radioinfo: Do you have a playlist? Branfords: Not really. We do have priority tracks and during breakfast presenters have to play 6 of those tracks per hour. At other times they can choose how many they play. We also have requests which we call ‘fresh track demands.’

radioinfo: What is in you priority list? Branfords: New material and music by local artists. We are trying to source as much new material from record companies and independent bands as we can for our priority category.

radioinfo: Do you promote Australian artists in any other shows? Branfords: Yes. Our program ‘Fresh Air’ runs on Saturdays 6-9am and it features all Australian bands. Listeners can respond via our website to the songs and we have also put in place a ‘review group’ within the station who can give feedback to the artists to help them. It is one of the things we are doing to put back benefits into the youth market.

radioinfo: In your submission to the ABA you really stresses the things you would do to help youth in Adelaide. Do you think that had an effect on winning the licence? Branfords: It must have. Some of the things we have been doing and will now do more of include supporting charities and also working closely with CWYAN, which is the Central Workers Youth Action Network. CWYAN is a group that combines government youth department and various youth agencies and we have been able to give them feedback on what young people are thinking and do programs on air that cover important issues. We have covered youth suicide, drugs and many other topics in our ‘Fresh Forum.’

radioinfo: Your submission says you will use surplus funds for youth projects. Branfords: Yes, we are genuinely a non-profit group. We will use whatever money we need for the station, then if we have money left over we will give it to groups within our target communities to support events and services that they might be running.

radioinfo: Where do you expect your revenue to come from? Branfords: Membership and grants will be important, but we think we will also develop a good revenue stream from record company sponsorship and fundraising events such as dance parties.

radioinfo: What is your positioning statement? Branfords: The evolution of radio’s revolution, Fresh nvarchar(15)y two seven.

radioinfo: Well congratulations again – go and have a champagne to celebrate. Younger Branford: No thanks, I’m still getting over a hangover from Thursday night’s celebration!