Victoria’s oldest FM Radio Station turns 40

It all started in 1968 with a letter published in The Age calling for people concerned about the lack of ‘serious music’ on radio to join the cause. It was from Brian Cabena, a classical music lover and radio enthusiast, who had a vision for a subscription-funded classical music radio broadcaster for Melbourne.

This sparked a meeting of like-minded music lovers who formed what was to become the Music Broadcasting Society of Victoria. Through persistent lobbying of government ministers, community Fine Music station 3MBS finally acquired the first FM broadcast licence granted in Victoria.

On 1st July 1975 at 6.30pm with a burst of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, 3MBS arrived on Melbourne’s airwaves as Australia’s pioneer Community Broadcaster.

And the 3MBS debut achieved a community radio first – listeners could now enjoy music in stereo courtesy of the newly established FM-band.

It was the beginning of four tumultuous and exciting decades of broadcasting fine music to Melbourne’s music lovers. The station survived a number of philosophical and financial challenges, and now operates out of premises at the Abbotsford Convent.

3MB’s activities have grown: it now records and broadcasts performances, and puts on special events such as its annual composer Marathon and a Young Performers Award.

3MBS will broadcast a special Illuminations program on Thursday 2nd July at 8pm (repeated on Sunday 5/7 at 5pm) in which host Loretto Perkins will take a trip down memory lane, recounting the past four decades – the people who fought for and brought the dream to life, the technological developments, the people and events that have shaped the broadcaster’s evolution.