History of UGFM

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 bulletins 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 Government 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 findings 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 Op 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, Pheasant Creek, 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.

In August 2011, the temporary Kinglake broadcast licence and frequency of 94.5 MHz was handed over to a new station that was established by the Kinglake Ranges community. KRR shared programs in a similar way that UGFM does with sister station Radio Mansfield MCR FM in the Mansfield Shire. This included emergency information as required depending on size and location of an incident and also include the sharing of resources in a large scale incident including working with the ABC and Commercial radio.

To maintain the station ‘on-air’ during emergencies UGFM has installed back up power generators at our transmitter sites and has established a backup transmitter at the Alexandra studio’s should there be a major failure with the primary or standby 106.9 MHz transmitters. This would not have happened without support from the Marysville & Triangle Community Foundation and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

State of the art portable outside broadcast equipment was purchased with help from the Bendigo Bank Bushfire fund that has helped UGFM to cover many community events from most locations across the Shire.

During March 2009 a new studio was established at the Marysville temporary village to aid the community in the recovery process and a year later with assistance from the Victorian Bushfire Recovery Authority was relocated to purpose build studios located within the Recovery and Advisory Building that later became the Visitor Information Centre now known as MiRA.

Early in 2014 Kinglake Ranges Radio folded and requested that the station and studio located at the Mountain Monthly become part of UGFM. A temporary licence was established and all programs from Kinglake studio were included in UGFM’s program grid as are programs from all our studios.

In December 2015 through months of hard work and funding from the FRRR and CBF and support from the Murrindindi Shire Council a studio for the Yea community was established at the Yea Railway Station and was officially opened by Cathy McGowan AO MP for Indi.

During 2016 Emergency Management Victoria assisted us in provision of new transmitters in the fire effected areas of Flowerdale, Kinglake and Marysville.

Early in April 2017 the Kinglake Ranges broadcast licence area was included as part of UGFM’s overall licence area plan, now taking in most of the Murrindindi Shire and surrounds.

Then during early 2018 the Kinglake studio was re located with support from the Kinglake Ranges community and St Peters Anglican Church to where the studio is now located overlooking Melbourne.

Early 2018 with significant support from the FRRR and MTCF and local businesses we purchased a Ford Transit to be fitted out as an Outside Broadcast Unit after retiring our former OB Unit that was no longer viable. The new OB unit is capable of operation at most locations and since completion has been used heavily across the broadcast area.

EMV and FRRR in 2019 have assisted us in replacement of a computer system and console for emergency broadcasting that will help take UGFM forward well into the future assisting during emergencies as an emergency broadcaster.

With studios located at Alexandra, Kinglake, Marysville and Yea along with broadcasts from community events we are able to provide local access to people in community broadcasting with local news and a variety of programs from across the Murrindindi Shire.

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