Station History

Posted in General Content

UGFM first came about in October 1994 when our first low power, mono transmission took place on 98.9 MHz within the town of Alexandra.   The test permit allowed the station to broadcast each weekend from 7.00am Friday until midnight Sunday.

UGFM first came about in October 1994 when our first low power, mono transmission took place on 98.9 MHz within the town of Alexandra. The test permit allowed the station to broadcast each weekend from 7.00am Friday until midnight Sunday.

In October 1995, the service was expanded to a much larger listening area and commissioned a new transmitter site on a mountain overlooking Lake Eildon , this time as a stereo signal, but on a part-time temporary licence. Our prime transmitter is still located at that site.

In October 1997, the station was granted a full time temporary licence and a change of frequency to 106.9 MHz. During the permanent licence allocations of 1998, UGFM was granted a full time permanent licence, which took effect in October of that year. Radio Murrindindi was born.

UGFM's original licence application included provision to install supplementary transmitters in Yea on 88.9 MHz and Marysville on 98.5 MHz, where the rugged terrain causes a shadowing effect. Relayed test transmissions to these sites in early in 2000 proved to be an important communication aid especially in emergencies and final full licence approval was given in 2001. Following extensive discussions and testing in 2006, a further supplementary transmitter was approved for the Flowerdale and Hazeldene areas on 98.9 MHz, UGFM's original test frequency.

The 98.9 MHz transmitter was established with funding through the Community Broadcasting Foundation who also helped upgrade the 98.5 MHz Marysville and our tired 106.9 Alexandra - Eildon transmitter.

Our listener base extends throughout a large portion of the region. From the edge of the Strathbogie Ranges in the North down through the Upper Goulburn and parts of the Yarra Valley to Kinglake, Flowerdale and Hazeldene in the South, across through Marysville and Lake Mountain and into the high country east of Lake Eildon . Many of our programs are also heard on relay through our sister station, Mansfield Community Radio (MCR), which transmits on 99.7 MHz. Likewise, some programs heard on UGFM are taken on relay from MCR.

UGFM has received substantial support from the Murrindindi Shire Council, who provide permanent studio accommodation in the former Council tearooms adjacent to the Shire Hall in Alexandra. This building was the SES headquarters for many years until they relocated to a shared complex with the CFA. The building underwent a major refurbishment in 2005.

With regular national news buletins the station also provides local news, sport and information while also promoting tourism in the region. Major local events are covered with our unique 'house boat' outside broadcast van and our charter includes the provision of assistance to emergency services in times of flood and bushfire emergencies.

Non-profit community groups are able to promote activities free of charge and local schools and colleges have access to facilities for media studies. Many secondary school students join as presenters and some have found UGFM to be the starting point to a rewarding career in the media.

Day-time programming is generally an easy listening 60' s up to the current charts sound, with local interviews and news content. Night-time programs warm up to party-time and request programs on the weekends. Special interest programs feature during weeknights and take in all genres of popular music.

In April 2010 following more than ten years of involvement with emergency management and recognition by the Murrindindi Shire as the local emergency broadcaster within the shire, the Victorian State Goverment signed a MOU with UGFM giving official recognition by the state for UGFM as Australia's first Community Radio Emergency Broadcaster.

UGFM has played a leading role within the community radio sector at all levels encouraging other community stations to become involved within their community as emergency broadcasters. Following some of the interim findinds of the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission of which UGFM presented evidence the gateway for community radio stations to become emergency broadcasters was opened.

UGFM received the coveted Tony Staley award for 'Broadcast Excellence' at the Community Broadcast Association of Australia national conference in Brisbane in November 2009 receiving a standing ovation for its work in helping to save many lives through emergency broadcasting during the February 7th 2009 bushfires that ravaged much of Victoria and 40% of the Murrindindi Shire.

Following the fires with the generous support of many organizations such as Rotary, Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation, Lions, Alexandra & Eildon Opp Shops; UGFM established a remote studio at Marysville and later established a translator for Kinglake Ranges on 94.5 MHz to help with recovery information and the rebuilding of the many communities in our shire like Buxton, Flowerdale, Glenburn, Granton, Hazeldene, Kinglake, Pheasnat Ck, Lake Mountain, Marysville, Narbethong, Taggerty & Strath Creek. The Murrindindi Shire helped establish internet streaming so those dislocated by the fires could keep in touch with home.

The Kinglake frequency is to be handed over to a new station that has been established for the Kinglake Ranges KRR FM and will share programs in a similar way that UGFM does with sister station MCR FM in the Mansfield Shire. This will include emergency information as required depending on size and location of an incident and will also include the sharing of recources in a large scale incident including working with the ABC and Commercial radio.

To maintain the station 'on-air' during emergencies UGFM has back up power generators and is establishing a backup transmitter for the Alexandra studio's should the main & standby 106.9 MHz transmitter fail.

New state of the art portable Outside Broadcast equipment has been purchased with help from the Bendigo Bank Bushfire fund that will enable UGFM to cover even more events from almost anywhere across the Shire.

UGFM is now one of the leading local radio stations in regional Victoria and recognized nationally for our work in emergency broadcasting.