Initially the station followed a similar format to "ABC FM" - i.e. classical - but rock, folk and other genres began to creep into its schedule.
7 CAE FM broadcast a wide range of specialist programs, and by the early 1980s was heavily rock-oriented. It changed its callsign to "THE FM" (used along with 92 FM depending on the whim of individual announcers) in April 1982.
Following the college's relocation to Launceston in 1980, Hobart FM Inc. assumed the full responsibility in the running of the station, subsequently moving premises to the Hobart CBD on the mid-1980s, where it continued to operate a lively and alternative radio service.
In March 1992 the station re-located to 17 Alma Street, Bellerive, where it has remained to this date (September 2009). At around this time the programming became less rock-oriented, and began to gravitate towards country-rock, though it continued its role as Community Broadcaster in line with specialist music programs, community access and multicultural presentations, as well as information programs covering a wide and varied range of subjects.
Hobart FM's broadcasts are eclectic and broad ranging. Briefly, the station aims to cater for the information needs and music tastes of those not catered for by the commercial and government broadcasters in Hobart. From country to classical, soul music to psychadelia, classics from the 1960s to today's Top 40 hits, there is a large array of musical styles represented across the programme schedule, with special attention given to local artists with a 3-hour weekly Tasmanian programme and ethnic-language broadcasts. Hobart FM enables the voice of individuals and minority groups to be heard throughout the wider Hobart community.
Hobart FM transmits its primary signal (96.1 MHz) from an antenna site on Mount Faulkner which allows for coverage in the Hobart City area, Sandy Bay through to Moonah, Glenorchy, Clarence including Lauderdale, Rokeby, South Arm, Municipality of Kingborough, Bridgewater, Gagebrook, Brighton, Sorell and Richmond with its signal reaching far beyond these points. Hobart FM also relays its transmission on 92.1 MHz in the northern suburbs eliminating many of the "blackspots" created by Hobart's geographic layout.
Hobart FM is a Public Radio Station operated by Hobart FM Inc; which is a community-based, non-profit organization. The station is administered by a Committee of Management consisting of ten people elected by the Association's members at an Annual General Meeting. Although the Committee is entrusted with the overall management of the station, Hobart FM could not operate without the services of some sixty or so active volunteers who undertake a range of tasks from broadcasting and production to clerical and fundraising activities. The reliance of volunteer involvement not only enables Hobart FM to operate on a tight budget, but facilitates direct community participation in the day-to-day running of the station.
Hobart FM receives income from three main sources:
- Twice yearly government grants for the production and broadcast of ethnic programs.
- Membership subscription or donations.
- Sponsorship of programs.
These income areas are insufficient to cover the cost involved in running a Community Radio service and often requires support from other fundraising activities such as raffles and dinner dances.