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Broadcast areaArmidale, NSW and surrounding Towns
Frequency92.1 MHz FM
First air dateFebruary 1976
FormatNo formal playlist
ERP2 Kwatts
OwnerCommunity Radio

2ARM FM is a community radio station, first established in the late 1970s, broadcasting from Armidale, New England (New South Wales) Australia. The station maintains a 24/7 365 days a year service. Permanent Community Broadcasting 5 year term Licences have been granted in 2012 and 2017 after operating from 2007 on Temporary Community Broadcasting Licences (TCBL).[1] These 2007 events included a 28 September 2007 letter of representation from Mr Tony Windsor MP for New England to Senator Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology & the Arts.

The station has been broadcasting since the late 1970s to Armidale,[2] Walcha, Uralla, Guyra and all areas in between.

It is volunteer based, and is a member of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA). Neighbouring CBAA affiliated community radio stations are now found at Bellingen, Glen Innes, Inverell, Kempsey, Grafton, Walcha, Tamworth, Taree, Tenterfield & Newcastle.

The current license holder is an Incorporated Association. The ABN is 30 635647271. In June, 2009, in consultation with station stakeholders & NSW Fair Trading, the application to NSW Fair Trading for a transfer of the existing NSW Co-operative to a NSW Incorporated Association was finalised.


The earliest history of 2ARM is closely linked with that of 2UNE, the availability of FM technology for radio broadcasting and the not unrelated beginning of the community broadcasting sector of Australia. The first UNE students to broadcast, did so out the Armidale CBD studios of Armidale's commercial station 2AD until a studio and related equipment became available on campus.

Professor Neville Fletcher, physicist, a lecturer at the University of New England at the time, presented the idea of a campus radio station to the students, and this led to letters to the Postmaster-General requesting a licence. The Professor was born in Armidale in 1930 and has an entry in the Australian Academy of Science web page. He attended Armidale High School from 1942 to 1946. He later went to Harvard University where he gained a PhD. He was professor of Physics at UNE from 1963 to 1983.

The Radio UNE station was established through 1968-69, and utilised a "closed loop" system. Basically AM radio induction within buildings of the university. After a number of hurdles, a licence was granted to use this innovative system, and the station went to air as Radio UNE on 27 April 1970. The system allowed the broadcasts to be heard only inside the residential colleges at the University.

In 1975 a letter was sent to the station, by the then Minister for the Media, Dr. Moss Cass, regarding the expansion of the Community Broadcasting trial. The station was to be offered an Experimental FM licence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act. The letter concluded that all members of the community should be allowed to join in the broadcasting activities of the station.

Radio UNE was then formed into a co-operative, the Radio UNE Co-Operative Ltd, which would hold the licence. After some initial tests as 2UNE-FM, the station eventually went to air in 1976 as 2ARM-FM, reflecting a wider community involvement. 2ARM-FM was officially opened by the then Armidale Mayor Peter Poggioli on Saturday 9 October 1976.

By 1977, the "pocket handkerchief-sized studios and offices are housed in the University of New England's Milton Building. At those times when a larger studio is required, arrangements are made to use the facility operated by the university's audio-visual unit, with which the station has an excellent working relationship."

In 1977, "The transmitter and aerial tower are located on a prominent hill 500 metres from the studios. The signal is carried by landline to the transmitter site. Transmitter switching is achieved by time clocks located in the transmitter hut...It is licensed to broadcast with an effective radiated power of 100 watts. However due to television interference problems, the station has been restricted to an output of 20 watts. The transmitter and stereo encoder were manufactured by the German Rohde & Schwarz corporation."

The licence holder was to be the University, but the station was established under the auspice of the Students’ Representative Council. Estimated income of $38,000 for the year ending 30 June 1977 showed the following details; UNE Students Representative Council $16,000, Film Commission Creative Dev. Branch $10,000, Australia Council Music Board $5,000, Private Sponsors $3,050, Corporate & Institutional Sponsors $3,000, University of New England $1,000, Sale of program guides $105, Donations $125.

Keith Jackson became the first co-ordinator in 1976. He wrote a 33 page booklet "Community Radio in Armidale 1977." A copy is available at the National Library of Australia. In 1997 with others he published in English & Indonesian, "Manage by the moment - A handbook for radio managers." A copy of this book is available at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. An overview of Keith's career is at radioinfo.com.au. On Australia Day 2004, Keith became a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his forty years in the communications industry, both in Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region and for service to management and training in the media, communications and public relations fields and to the development of non-commercial radio services. Jackson told radioinfo; "I was delighted to get this award. It reinforced for me that communications is a team game and that the best results are usually team driven."

The service that was provided by 2ARM was different to that provided under the closed loop licence, but the Co-Operative ran both services. In the early years & well into the 1980s, 2ARM transmitted on FM92.3. 2ARM FM 92.1 currently transmits on FM92.1 and is able to be routinely received, to a range of approximately 70 kilometres in every direction from Armidale. Weather patterns can lead to exceptional distances - such as "down the hill" at Sawtell or "across the ditch" at New Zealand. The new technology associated with an internet streaming capacity is increasingly available & in 2017 dedicated listeners have picked up members of our live and local announcers team, in locations such as Fiji and South Africa.

In July 1978 the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal facilitated a public inquiry in Armidale involving an application for a category "C" license.

In 1979, after much disagreement, Radio UNE returned to the operations of the SRC, while the Co-Operative moved, with the 2ARM Community Licence, into the City of Armidale.

On 5 November 1979, the change of name to Armidale Community Radio Co-operative Limited from Radio U.N.E. Co-operative Limited was registered.

Later, the NSW Associations Incorporation Act 1984 became an option for organising community causes.

During the years 1980 to 1993, Phil Godfrey was the 2ARM-FM country music presenter. Phil was awarded life membership for services to community radio in Armidale. From 1997 to 2018, Phil continued with the cause of community radio in Dargaville New Zealand. He is a patron of Northern Wairoa Community Radio Trust and life member of Big River FM.

The radio station applied to have its licence renewed in 2007, but was rejected by the ACMA for failing to show community participations in both the operations and the decision making of the station. The then Station Manager was also the main on-air presenter, and resigned. (See notes below.)

The station was then allowed to remain on-air with a Temporary Community Broadcasting Licence (TCBL) until 2012 when it was issued a full five year license valid until 4/3/2017.

In 2009 the station became an Incorporated Association, and moved to a new location at 128 Kentucky Street in February 2010. This site has direct line of sight to the transmission tower located at the top of Lynland Park Estate abutting other communications industry towers. With the Old Teachers' College, Armidale to the North & the annual Black Gully music festival to the south east the neighbourhood is establishing itself as a cultural quarter of Armidale.

A number of interesting Tall Trees are present in the vicinity. They include the Manna Gum Eucalyptus viminalis, the Casuarina, Melia azedarach, the Monkey Puzzle Tree Araucaria araucana, Cedrus atlantica, Wollemia, Sequoia sempervirens, elm trees Ulmus procera, Quercus palustris, Silver Birches once very popular in Melbourne Betula pendula and others. They contribute to the sense of budding botanical gardens - such as are highly valued in some other regional towns such as Queens Park, Toowoomba & Tamworth, New South Wales. An appreciation of tall trees in the northern tablelands region is particularly significant as it is the watershed land for some mighty rivers including the Gwydir and Macleay river catchments. Also near by and to the south west are located the Armidale Arboretum and Beadle Grove. Beadle Grove is in memory of the Foundation Professor of Botany at UNE.

In about 2015 Armidale City Council was able to improve the car park surface at 128 Kentucky Street and in 2017 the new Armidale Regional Council was able to improve the street lighting at 128 Kentucky Street

In 2014, NSW Co-operative Laws merged into a National Co-operative Law.

In July 2016, a newly constructed transmission hut was commissioned.

On 19 July 2017, the regulator Australian Communications and Media Authority,(A.C.M.A.), issued a new 5 year broadcasting license, with contemporary conditions, until 4 March 2022.

At the 2018 Annual General Meeting, two long serving members and announcers were awarded life memberships for services to community radio in Armidale. They were Dr Margaret Sharpe and Mr Peter Beaton.

At August 2018, of the 97 community radio stations operating in NSW, 67 operate as an incorporated association. A long list of community groups organise for community announcements to be read out on radio by the station's live and local announcers. For many years on Friday mornings, opportunities have been provided for live interviews. The station now streams and has a website 2arm.net.au containing a program guide, membership form and other station details.

Technical data[edit]

Frequency - 92.1FM

Licensed Power - 2 Kw.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Armidale's 2ARM is granted temporary licence". CBOnline. 2007-10-05. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  2. ^ "Community radio station to go off the air". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  • Investigation Report [1]
  • Submission of 2UNE to Senate Committee [2]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°31′31″S 151°39′54″E / 30.5254°S 151.6649°E / -30.5254; 151.6649