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|City||Mount Dandenong, Victoria, Australia|
|Broadcast area||Melbourne RA1|
|Frequency||106.7 MHz FM|
DAB+: VHF block 9B
|Branding||PBS 106.7FM Melbourne|
|Format||Specialist, contemporary and progressive music|
|Owner||Progressive Broadcasting Service Cooperative Ltd|
First air date
|107.7 MHz FM (1979-1987) |
Call sign meaning
|Progressive Broadcasting Service|
PBS 106.7FM (call sign: 3PBS), also known as the Progressive Broadcasting Service, is a co-operatively owned community radio station in Melbourne, Australia, that broadcasts on 106.7FM, Digital radio and online. PBS will celebrate its 40th year of broadcast in 2019.
PBS is a specialist contemporary music radio station hosting approximately 79 programmes per week. The key to its musical diversity is that, as volunteers, PBS announcers independently choose their own content according to genre or theme. Volunteer efforts are both behind the scenes and on air.
The PBS vision is to nurture, inspire and champion Melbourne's diverse music community.
The station dropped the "3" from its callsign before the turn of the century, preferring in the age of internet streaming and digital radio to be known as just PBS, PBS-FM, or PBS 106.7FM.
The co-operative holds a Community class licence, and raises funds largely through paid annual membership, supplemented by on-air sponsorship, live music events and other activities relevant to the music community in Melbourne.
Shareholding members of the co-operative elect a Board of Directors that employs a Station Manager to be responsible for all aspects of the station's operations, encompassing more than 400 dedicated volunteers and a small team of professional staff.
Programming is determined by a committee chaired by a Board member who oversees the process. The committee includes the Station Manager, Program Manager and seven co-ordinators who are specialists in their respective genres. They are tasked with ensuring that the best announcers and programs are chosen to serve an active music community, complementing what mainstream radio offers.
During 1975 Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) student campus station 3ST applied to the Broadcasting Control Board for a restricted commercial AM licence. The application was done under the name of the SRNA, with 3ST, 3CT, 3MU and newly formed 3SW (Swinburne University). The application was unsuccessful and the licence went to 3CR.
In 1976 Felix Hofmann, who had no affiliation with any broadcasting radio station, called a meeting of interested parties to establish an FM radio station for "progressive music". It was not practical to hold this meeting at his parents’ home in St Kilda East so it was held at 1 Baldwin Street, Armadale a student household that included Rosalie Brookes and Garry Page. To publicise the meeting Felix Hofmann used a press story in "The Southern Cross" newspaper and an advertisement in "The Toorak Times" newspaper; while Garry Page, as a former member of 3ST, extended personal invitations to other 3ST members such as John Maizels and Barry Bron and also posted notices at the 3CR and 3ST studios.
Given his knowledge of the industry and radio licensing process the elected chairman was John Maizels, Technical Manager at 3ST (and son of noted broadcaster Monty Maizels) and co-host of the 'John and Paul Show' on 3ST (with Paul Cuthbert). Although not a member of 3CR, but given his expertise, John Maizels was one of the announcers on 3CR's first test transmission on 1 May 1976. Felix Hofmann was elected vice-chairman and ensured the vision of a progressive music service was not lost. Early active members also included Maria McGuane, David Stubbs, Rosalie Brookes, Alan Quirk, Sally-Ann Rozario and Lee Traynor.
Also during this early period of 3PBS, enthusiasts who had an interest in microprocessors from Intel, Motorola, Signetics 2650, Fairchild F8, etc. were meeting at the Clayton campus of Monash University, Graham Thirkell's Optro premises and went on to form the Microcomputer Club of Melbourne (MICOM). Peter Jetson, who was to play a significant role in 3PBS plus MICOM, and Garry Page, a broadcast technical officer who was employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) to perform studio maintenance, were both members of MICOM. Rosalie Brookes facilitated the meeting when the 'Progressive Broadcasting Service' name was adopted. Subsequently, membership cards were printed for the unincorporated 3PBS group with the first memberships to John Maizels, Felix Hofmann and Garry Page.
As the initial meeting was about 400 metres from the 3CR radio station in High Street, Armadale there were a significant number of curious 3CR members in attendance. Although names and addresses were recorded and used for initial mailouts, the vast majority of 3CR members were not seen at subsequent meetings, did not pay memberships or become active members of 3PBS. Garry Page managed the membership records on his account on the Control Data Corporation (CDC) Cyber 6000 series mainframe computer system at St Kilda Road. For convenience, the initial 3PBS mailing address was a post box in Armadale. The 3PBS membership records were later transferred by John Maizels to an IBM mainframe after some difficulty with a magnetic tape formatted on the CDC system using packed BCD that had to be converted into EBCIDIC for the IBM mainframe. Subsequently, the 3PBS postal address was moved from Armadale. Therefore, 3PBS could claim the first use of computer-based membership records by an Australian public radio broadcaster.
Soon after the 3PBS group was established meetings moved to John Maizels home in Port Melbourne. 3PBS membership was drawn from ABC, 3ST, unaffiliated public and some 3CR members. It is a myth that 3PBS was an early splinter group of 3CR headed by John Maizels. The group registered as the Progressive Broadcasting Service Co-operative Limited at a meeting at Ken Fargher's upstairs room, Peel Street, North Melbourne.
3PBS test transmissions from a low power FM transmitter located on the BHP Building, corner of Bourke and William Streets in the Melbourne CBD occurred from a studio at John Maizels' Port Melbourne home in 1977 and 1978. Reception reports were received from listeners throughout Melbourne's extended metropolitan area. In August 1978 the station was successful in its application to the Australian Broadcasting Authority for a licence and subsequently began a series of short broadcasts from temporary studios. The fledgling station started to make regular broadcasts to inner Melbourne in the early 1980s on 107.7 MHz from its studios at the Prince of Wales Hotel and a 200W transmitter on the old Royal Women's Hospital site in Carlton. The first programme was presented by David Stubbs at 4:30pm on 21 December 1979, and the first track broadcast was I'll Be Gone (Someday I'll Have Money) by Spectrum. David Stubbs selection of I'll Be Gone was significant for Melbourne radio as it had been the final rock track played on the formerly top rating, commercial station 3AK 3AK#1970s-1980s when it had changed from a Rock/Pop format. Initially, PBS-FM's broadcast hours were restricted to exclude daytime on weekdays with Melbourne University claiming interference from the nearby transmitter.
The station moved from the Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda up Acland Street to the Park Lake building in 1985. From there it began broadcasting 24 hours a day to greater Melbourne in late 1987, only becoming possible with the transmitter relocating to Mt. Dandenong on the new frequency of 106.7 MHz. The official frequency changeover took place on 16 November 1987.
Separate from internal newsletters (Ripples and Unreal News), PBS has produced several magazines for financial members and the public during its history. The first was Waves from 1977 until it was discontinued in March 1988. Static emerged as a short-lived replacement in 1989, of which there were only three issues leading up to the station's 10th Anniversary; Issue Minus 3 (July 1989), Minus 2 (Oct 1989) and Minus 1 (Dec 1989). Largely for financial reasons, there was hiatus until late 2002 when a single issue of Over Easey appeared. Subsequently, this was renamed Easey magazine in 2003, initially published every three months. Easey magazine is still the official PBS print magazine, and is now posted out to all PBS Members twice a year.
Mick Geyer Award
Mick Geyer was a broadcaster and journalist in the alternative Melbourne music scene in the 1980s and 1990s. His influence was widespread, but remained largely outside the public view. In honour of his legacy as a fierce campaigner for the role of alternative and community radio (and PBS in particular), this occasional award was introduced by PBS in 2012 to acknowledge enormous contributions to the station and its community.
The recipients to date are; Peter Merrett (2012), Mike Glover (2013), David Heard (2014), Helen Jennings (2015), John Carver (2016), Jan Dale (2017), Maddy MacFarlane (2018), Pierre Baroni (2019).
- "MELBOURNE RA1" (PDF). Australian Communications and Media Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 February 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "PBS History: 25 Years and Still Kicking Out the Jams!". 3PBS. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "About PBS". PBS 106.7FM. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "PBS Policy and Procedure". PBS 106.7FM. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
- "Previous Winners". Music Victoria. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- "A History of PBS". PBS 106.7FM. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- Official website
- ACMA Community Radio Broadcasting Licences
- A History of PBS (with audio)
- 3ST History