MELBOURNE’S Jewish community is set to have its very own radio station after a temporary licence was granted to Melbourne Jewish Radio.
But it has been no easy feat for the station, named Lion FM, with the founding committee having engaged in a long and arduous application process with the Australian Communication Media Authority (ACMA).
“The application process was extremely difficult and many times people probably counted us out. I have a belief that nothing worthwhile in life comes easily and sometimes you need to dig in and fight for something,” Melbourne Jewish Radio secretary Stephen Fennell told The AJN.
“Some 18 months after we began this process, here we are about to begin our maiden broadcast. This is such a great achievement for the community.”
Expected to be broadcasting full time within the next six weeks, Lion FM will cater to different listening groups. It will include a mix of news and current affairs, light entertainment, music and special interest programs.
As with the nature of the programming, the Lion FM team is also a mix of people from different sectors of the community.
“People from all walks of life have joined us over the journey and many more come on board every day. We have established subcommittees to implement the requirements for the station, which is all voluntary at this point,” Fennell said.
Among the volunteers is lawyer and Glen Eira councillor Michael Lipshutz, who holds the position of station president.
Lipshutz believes the station will play an important role in bringing more Jewish news and information to Jews and non-Jews alike.
“Jewish audiences want more media. Particularly with Israel always on the back foot and the Jewish community on the back foot because of anti-Semitism, we need to reach out to the general public as well as the Jewish community,” he said, adding that it is particularly pertinent for younger generations who are becoming “less associated with the Jewish community”.
To be transmitted on 96.1 FM, the station must construct its own antenna to carry the signal, and will test broadcast for a few weeks as per its ACMA requirements. Once official broadcasting begins, Melbourne Jewish Radio must prove to the ACMA that it is able to successfully run the station before a permanent licence is granted.
Lipshutz said the group is seeking community support to raise $300,000 to ensure the success of the station.