2016 CRAM Guide: Celebrates 40 years of Radical Radio

2016 3CR CRAM Guide 40 years of radical radio


Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR

CRAM 2016

The CRAM Guide is made with the generous contributions of volunteer writers, photographers and 3CR programmers.


2016 Editors Juliet Fox and the Projects Sub Committee

2016 Design and Layout Rachel Kirby

2016 Contributors

Amy Middleton Aoife Cooke Areej Nur Aziza Hussein Christo Crocker Emma Hart Fadzai Jaravaza Gabrielle Reade Helen Gwilliam Helen Hughes Jacqui Brown James McKenzie Keelan O’Hehir Leanne McLean Lou Smith Marian McKeown Namila Benson Sam Wallman

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following pages contain names and images of people who have passed.


3CR STAFF 2016

Station Manager Marian McKeown

Programme Coordinator Gabrielle Reade

Office and Finance Coordinator Loretta O’Brien

Current Affairs Coordinator Zai Zanda

Projects Coordinator Juliet Fox

Training Coordinator Leanne McLean

Volunteer Coordinator Rachel Kirby

Music Coordinator Paul Elliott

Technical Coordinator Greg Segal

Technical Assistant Riah Williams

I.T Worker Luke Neeson

Management Committee

James McKenzie (Chairperson) Therese Virtue (Vice Chairperson) Pat Khor (Vice Chairperson) Terry Costello (Secretary) Peramabalam Senthooran (Treasurer) Helen Gwilliam Marisol Salinas Michele Vescio Aoife Cooke Amy McMurtrie Ewen Kloas Joe Malignaggi


Front cover: Radiothon 2016 poster by Emily Floyd
Back cover: Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

Marian McKeown 3CR Station Manager

Give ‘Em Hell!

Marian McKeown, Station Manager

Welcome to this very special edition of the 3CR CRAM Guide 2016, celebrating 40 years of Australia’s first community-owned and community-controlled licenced radio station. The lead up to the issuing of our licence, which actually occurred in 1975, is a fascinating story and one that has proved to be very telling of where the station is today.

When the Whitlam Government announced in 1974 that it would be receiving applications for a new class of licence, in essence a ‘community’ licence, a group of left-wing activists, some of whom were fresh from campaigning against the Vietnam War, seized the opportunity and mobilised. They organised meetings, produced leaflets and signed up an impressive range of community groups ranging from Gay Liberation to the Waterside Workers Federation (now the MUA who are affiliated to the station to this day). On 23 June 1974 the Community Radio Federation was formed at a meeting at the Pram Factory in Carlton.

An incredible amount of work and passion then went into our first licence application. There were more meetings, more pamphlets and an incredible wave of community interest. Here for the first time ever was to be a radio station genuinely owned and operated by the community.

The campaign was ultimately a successful one and on 10 October 1975 3CR Community Radio was officially granted a licence to broadcast. Broadcasting commenced in 1976.

This celebratory year has been a welcome opportunity for the station to reflect on our remarkable history and achievements over a 40-year period. We are indebted to the Book Working Group who over a period of
more than two years has pulled together the most detailed account of 3CR’s story (and stories) to date. In these pages you can enjoy some small extracts from the book within the pieces on the The Concrete Gang and Beyond the Bars.

In developing the 40th anniversary exhibition ‘If People Powered Radio’, it was simultaneously inspiring and disturbing to look back at all of those materials and documents from 1974-5 to see that the issues that drove the founders of 3CR are the same ones that drive us today—in a media landscape dominated by corporate interests it’s vital that a voice is given to the people. You can read more about the exhibition in the coming pages.

It’s no surprise then that we also have a number of programs on air today that began in 1976, including The Concrete Gang. Originally presented by the Builders Labourers’ Federation, and now presented by the Construction Division of the CFMEU, in the intervening years the attacks on workers and the union bashing has continued unabated.

Through all of the many controversies—the overt and covert attempts to destroy the station, the funding crises—3CR has prevailed. Its creation wasn’t easy. It was something we had to fight for and must continue to fight for as long as it’s necessary. A fundamental part of the station’s resilience and success has been our financial independence, alongside our place as a source of news and culture that is genuinely owned and operated by the community. For this reason we ask all of our listeners and supporters to donate at this time of year to keep us going for another 40 years, when who knows, we may even have transformed into a post-revolutionary radio station.

Until then, Happy Birthday 3CR, give ‘em hell!

James McKenzie 3CR Board Chairperson


'Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!' 

 James McKenzie, Chairperson

During the final weeks of the Whitlam Government 3CR learned its broadcast licence was granted. Six months later, around May Day 1976, 3CR began its test broadcasts from studios in Melbourne’s southeast.

1976 was a highly ideologically driven time: Pol Pot’s ‘Democratic Kampuchea’ was proclaimed the government of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge and the US Supreme Court ruled the death penalty wasn’t inherently cruel or unusual and was therefore constitutionally acceptable.

Meanwhile, the Chilean secret police assassinated Pinochet opponent Orlando Letelier with a car bomb in Washington D.C. and our Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, stood in Parliament and condemned ‘undue world criticism’ of the USA when he announced his government’s foreign policy objectives.

Later in 1976, Fraser’s cabinet agreed to establish the Human Rights Commission while ignoring so many of the human rights abuses that were happening very nearby in south-east Asia. Indonesia and the travesties of its abuses and violations of the East-Timorese spring to mind because East-Timorese independence was an issue very dear to the hearts and microphones of 3CR.

1976 was also a time when many new and emerging communities were able to broadcast themselves for the first time, without being beholden to mainstream interests or commercial and government media outlets. New and emerging communities became instrumental to community broadcasting at 3CR well before the term was given mainstream currency and that commitment continues.

In fact, that was the licensing point of 3CR—to give a voice to communities denied one in the mainstream media. Forty years on, 3CR is still doing it.

It is a tribute to 3CR that it is still thriving when much of the mainstream media struggles, particularly newspapers and Australia’s old ‘free-to-air’ commercial TV networks.

Perhaps that is because we are a community media outlet, rather than a commercial business that is structured to be viable only when making a profit.

The challenge for the community radio sector is to receive government funds and keep its community function. The current Australian Government would quite happily fund community radio that isn’t made in a community radio station. It sees new technologies as a vehicle for community cost cutting and would be quite happy for community radio to be produced on personal computers in private homes. They see community radio as a vehicle for individuals rather than community organising and use economic savings as a rationale for depleting communities.

3CR is an activist hub with community input embedded in our organisational structures, so the push for community radio to be produced by isolated individuals away from community radio stations is incompatible. We will continue to use community radio as a vehicle for community organising and empowerment. When you take the community out of radio, the result is isolated individuals and less resilient communities. 3CR’s resistance to this latest ideological push from the Australian Government is fundamental to 3CR’s on-going survival and the flourishing of the community radio sector.

As the old saying goes—that was so prominent when 3CR was established in 1976, and is so often heard on air today—’dare to struggle, dare to win’. It’s a motto that continues to be key to the survival of community radio.

Happy fortieth birthday, 3CR.


Everyday Education

Aziza Hussein, Monday Breakfast Show presenter/producer

I’m originally from Sudan, where I worked as a journalist and column writer for a daily newspaper. Over there, I did an MA in community radio projects. And then in late 2014 when I was living in Melbourne, I googled ‘community radio’.

I got the address for 3CR and met with our Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel Kirby. After speaking with her, I went through the process of filling in my details on the volunteers form and registered to do training. I completed the 3CR training program, which took me through different aspects of broadcasting. Soon after, I joined the Monday Breakfast team on the 17 October last year.

I had the idea that community radio in Melbourne would be similar to my previous experience of community radio in Sudan. It’s similar in the way that both serve the community, but it’s different in the way it does it. In Sudan it’s more focused on community education and development projects, and it’s not on air 24 hours a day.

The high level of conversation when doing interviews has been a challenge, but I’m learning all the time. Another big challenge is learning about our boundaries as broadcasters. There is a big difference between Australia and Sudan. In my country, we’re accustomed to boundaries; we know our limits on what we can and can’t say. But in Australia, there are fewer restrictions. I had the opportunity to produce a one-hour show about Sudanese women in Australia as part of the station’s International Women’s Day special programming, and this gave me the confidence to produce a program. And there’s been some powerful feedback from the Sudanese community. This was the first time many had been interviewed in the media and every woman wanted a copy so that they could hear their own voice.

Eventually, I’d like to do a show that focuses on my community, because we have a big presence in Melbourne. There’s currently no program for the Sudanese community here on 3CR and I’d like to do a show that focuses on Sudanese women and the various issues that impact on us. Sudanese women are affected by various challenges settling in and face many changes; but I’m not so sure if they are good changes. I’d like to focus on this.

Being involved with Monday Breakfast educates me everyday in terms of current affairs and the various interviews we do. I’m learning a lot. It helps connect me to Melbourne and Australia. Plus I like the music on our program!

Aziza Hussein Monday 3CR Breakfast Show presenter producer

Above: Aziza Hussein in the studio.


If People Powered Radio: 40 years of 3CR exhibition at Gertrude Contemporary

Helen Hughes, Gertrude Contemporary

3CR Broadcasters Viv Malo and Gilla McGuinness 3CR Exhibition

Above: Broadcasters Viv Malo, Gilla McGuinness and Johnny Mac at the 1 April exhibition outside broadcast.

To begin with some dates: In 1983, a group of young artists who had recently graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts were given the opportunity to set up a studio complex at 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy—a building that had once been a textiles factory and retail outlet, but in more recent years had been subject to little use. A year later, in 1984, 3CR moved from its Cromwell Street studios in Collingwood to 21 Smith Street, its new permanent home. In 1985, while 3CR volunteers were building the studios from scratch, the artists working out of 200 Gertrude Street decided to turn the bottom floor of the building into an art gallery, retaining artist studios on the second and third floors of the building. Shortly after, Louise Neri became the inaugural director of the gallery 200 Gertrude Street, which became Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, and now goes by the truncation, Gertrude Contemporary.

For over thirty years now, 3CR and Gertrude Contemporary have been neighbours—connected by Little Victoria Street which runs between the carpark out the back of 3CR and the rear laneway of Gertrude Contemporary. As organisations, 3CR and Gertrude have several things in common: both are infrastructures that support a diverse community (of political activists, musicians and environmentalists on the one hand, and artists, curators and writers on the other), and both provide a supportive platform for the expression of different, and often times conflicting, ideas and opinions.

Yet where 3CR had the foresight to buy its premises on Smith Street in 1984, and thus remains a permanent fixture in the neighbourhood, Gertrude has become somewhat of a loser in the gentrification of Fitzroy (a process that, albeit, it undoubtedly helped kick-start when it set-up shop in 1983-5). Gertrude’s rent has increased dramatically over the last two decades and is no longer viable for a non-profit arts organisation, and is now, therefore, on the hunt for a new home. Like the neighbouring MAYSAR gymnasium, located just two doors down from the gallery on Gertrude Street, 3CR represents an important site of resistance to the forces of gentrification and the attendant impact it has had on the Indigenous and working-class communities that have, for so long, populated Fitzroy and the surrounding suburbs.

3CR Broadcaster Johnny Mac 3CR Exhibition

In the development of the exhibition ‘If People Powered Radio: 40 years of 3CR’, Gertrude looked to 3CR’s organisational structure and its relationship to the neighbourhood as a source of inspiration and a model of self-organisation, which is at once open and flexible, as well as strong and deeply resilient. It was this bigger picture of the organisation and its history that we, as curators and artists, sought to emphasise, celebrate and learn from in the exhibition.

‘If People Powered Radio’ was largely devoted to the presentation of archival resources from 3CR, including: weeks’ worth of audio recordings expertly compiled by 3CR’s Audio Working Group; photographs of staff, volunteers, outside broadcasts, buildings, and other celebrations, assembled with the help of Marian McKeown, Leanne McLean, Jacqui Brown, Nat Rambaldi and the Book Working Group; posters from the last four decades, including the original design for the 2015 radiothon poster by Sam Wallman alongside posters designed by Destiny Deacon and Judy Horacek; and a technology display, curated by 3CR’s Greg Segal and Riah Williams. As well, 3CR volunteer and historian Nicole Curby helped to create three discrete ‘issue’ stations, which focused on the themes of gay liberation, gentrification and the Jabiluka campaign. These issue stations included audio recordings, photographs and other items of ephemera (such as letters and notebooks), and were housed in display boxes that were attached to chairs found around the building at 21 Smith Street, modified by artist-curator Spiros Panigirakis.

In addition to all these archival documents, ‘If People Powered Radio’ presented new works by ten local artists: Megan Cope (in collaboration with Robbie Thorpe), Charlotte Clemens, Reko Rennie, Emily Floyd, Spiros Panigirakis, Arika Waulu, Lucreccia Quintanella, Trent Walter, Brighid Fitzgerald and Andrew McQualter.

Reko Rennie and Emily Floyd are both former studio artists at Gertrude Contemporary (Rennie was there between 2012 and 2014, while Floyd held a studio between 2000 and 2002). Rennie is renowned for
his vividly coloured, graffiti-inspired paintings and public artworks that celebrate Indigenous resistance and survival; he painted the large mural of the Aboriginal warrior on the side of 3CR’s building, which is set against dynamic bright red and yellow diagonal stripes. As an artist, Floyd is interested in self-organised community structures, and often makes posters, pamphlets and public sculptures with bookshelves embedded in them, which function as free public libraries. For the exhibition, Rennie and Floyd produced new posters for 3CR celebrating the 40th anniversary and advertising the 2016 Radiothon, themed ‘Radical Radio’.

Megan Cope is known for her ‘toponymic interventions’: her drawings of maps whose areas are labelled with their original Aboriginal names. (One of her large-scale public murals can be seen around the corner from 3CR and Gertrude Contemporary on the outside of the Australian Catholic University Fitzroy campus.) For the 3CR exhibition, Cope produced a new semi-transparent vinyl print that adorns the front windows of Gertrude Contemporary. Titled Makin’ Waves, it is a map based on an early drawing that outlined 3CR’s intended broadcast reach, spanning from northern Victoria to northern Tasmania. With Narrm Melbourne in the centre of the map, concentric circles radiate outwards containing a litany of famous Robbie Thorpe-isms, such as ‘“Australia’s” a crime scene, needs investigating’ and ‘white “Australia” has a black history.’ In an act of decolonial cartography, the map of the territory is flipped so as to appear upside- down to European eyes.

Arika Waulu made a new video work for the exhibition titled Belly Fire Call, which montaged footage taken at Camp Sovereignty during the protests against the 2006 ‘Stolenwealth’ Games in Narrm Melbourne. This moving-image work was projected onto a surface made of hand-painted paperbark visas that represented the sovereign Aboriginal nations comprising what we now call ‘Australia’. Brighid Fitzgerald, a young student at the Victorian College of the Arts, decided to work with the 3CR slogan, ‘sowing the seeds of dissent’. For her work, titled Air Waves, Fitzgerald collected all the seeds for plants that have historically, and more recently, grown around the neighbourhood of Fitzroy that she could find. Then, using home-made poster paste-up glue, she attached the seeds onto a wide banner that could be marched through the streets in protest. Tethered to the wall by home-woven rope, the proposition for the work is that the seeds would eventually all break away from the glue and initiate new cycles of growth wherever people marched. 

Photo board at the 3CR ‘If People Powered Radio’ exhibition

Photo board 2 at the 3CR ‘If People Powered Radio’ exhibition

Above: Photo boards at the 3CR ‘If People Powered Radio’ exhibition.

Upstairs, in Studio 12, Andrew McQualter displayed a suite of drawings that he made during a residency at 3CR in January and February of 2016. During his time at 3CR, McQualter interviewed numerous past and present 3CR staff members and volunteers, asking them about their understanding of why 3CR exists and how it operates. McQualter mapped these discussions onto A2 pieces of paper as he and his interlocutors chatted. As a suite, these drawings represent a necessarily partial—and, crucially, polyvocal— introduction to the station’s history and organisational structure.

The whole exhibition pivoted around one major architectural intervention, made by the artist and co-curator of the show, Spiros Panigirakis. Pangirakis reconstructed almost exactly to scale the timber framework of 3CR’s current meeting room, located upstairs at 21 Smith Street. The reconstruction included the unique, mansard ceiling, the two windows that look out onto the laneway, the three doorways into the space, and the cluster of tables in the centre. For Panigirakis, the meeting room at 3CR felt like the most important space to represent in the exhibition, as it is the site where different voices come together to both debate and speak in solidarity. It’s also a place for training: building skills and sharing knowledge. The architectural structure held the whole exhibition together and was designed to facilitate and frame the presentation of both 3CR’s archive and the artists’ work. The structure’s long east-facing wall held all the photographs on flat sheets of timber, which simultaneously acted as a light-block for Waulu’s projection (which requires some darkness); its west-facing wall hosted Fitzgerald’s banner; and its north-facing wall hosted a new sound artwork by Lucreccia Quintanella, in which the artist reads from the recently discovered ten volumes of information compiled on 3CR by ASIO. (Visitors to the exhibition could ‘listen in’ on Quintanella’s work through Panigirakis’s wall by pressing their ears up against it using a number of cups, which act as amplifying devices.)

In the centre of the reconstructed meeting room were four desks (one pierced by the structural column that holds up Gertrude Contemporary’s ceiling). These desks presented numerous documents pertaining to the birth of 3CR, including a bright red, black and white poster from 1975 advertising the public meeting at Dallas Brooks Hall. Predating the birth of 3CR, it exclaims: ‘Melbourne must have a community radio station!’ And the rest is history.

The ‘If People Powered Radio’ exhibition ran from 18 March - 23 April at Gertrude Contemporary.

3CR exhibition space ‘If People Powered Radio’ at Gertrude ContemporaryBroadcasting live at 3CR exhibition space ‘If People Powered Radio’ at Gertrude Contemporary

Images from the 3CR ‘If People Powered Radio’ exhibition at Gertrude Contemporary. Photos by Cristo Crocker, Keelan O’Hehir and Gertrude Contemporary.


30 Years Of Women On The Line

Written by the Women on the Line team with inspiration from the 40th anniversary book

30 years of Women On the Line - Women on the powerlines, Judy Horacek

Above: Women on the powerlines, Judy Horacek.

As well as the momentous 40th anniversary of 3CR, this year also marks the 30th birthday of groundbreaking women’s current affairs show, Women on the Line.

A revolution in radio, Women on the Line is a broad- ranging current affairs show that broadcasts only women’s voices. Since 1986, it has been produced at 3CR by a group of women with varying interests, ensuring a highly diverse, and reliably feminist, perspective on issues crucial to women.

The program’s seeds were sown when a report from the Public Broadcasting Association highlighted that gender inequality was rife in community radio, as well as so many other industries Australia-wide.

In response to these grim findings, 3CR appointed Deb Welch, now a community radio stalwart, as women’s coordinator at the station. This new role allowed Deb to found Women on the Line—a women’s current affairs program featuring only female voices, and putting a feminist spin on the week’s most pressing issues.

Subject matter for the show in the 1980s ranged from peace campaigns to Indigenous issues, international struggles, and environmental and animal rights issues, as well as coverage of domestic violence, sexual assault and reproductive technologies.

In the 1990s, the program developed a stronger focus on industrial developments and other issues particular to the time period, such as the campaign to sustain Fairlea women’s prison.

Internationally, the program also followed the development of post-apartheid South Africa, women’s initiatives in India and the Philippines, and women’s perspectives on events in East Timor.

Other episodes examined feminist theory, investigated faulty breast implants and profiled Britain’s first all- women’s radio station.

Over the years, Women on the Line has provided a home for several documentary projects, shining light on challenges faced by Gippsland textile workers, women living with HIV, and Aboriginal women involved in native title claims.

By the early 1990s, Women on the Line could be heard on more than 20 radio stations around Australia, around 135 US outlets, via the Women’s International News Gathering Service (WINGS), and on the Costa
Rica-based shortwave station Radio for Peace International. In the last two years, Women on the Line has highlighted issues around blackness, income management, sexuality for ageing women, gender equality in the Australian music scene, women in circus and the student-level push for women working in science and technology.

Since its inception, Women on the Line has encouraged marginalised women to own and communicate their own stories, by prioritising their voices and opinions above all others.

Today, a group of four women produce individual programs on a rotating basis, encouraging a diversity of perspectives on a huge range of issues, and highlighting the variance in the needs and experiences of people who identify as female.

Standing on the shoulders of giants, and with support from the pool of strength and diversity at 3CR, here’s to another 30 years of Women on the Line.

Ground-Breaking Radio

Beyond the Bars

Edited excerpt from the book Radical Radio: Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR. www.3cr.org,au/shop

Beyond the Bars initially began as a conversation in 2001 between Port Phillip Prison Aboriginal Liaison Officer Shaun Braybrook and 3CR program manager Jay Estorninho, with the idea of holding a live broadcast from the men’s maximum-security prison for Sorry Day. However, the project didn’t become reality until 2002, when Shaun broached the idea of broadcasting during NAIDOC Week with then director of Port Phillip Prison, Kelvin Anderson.

In 2002, seven Aboriginal programmers from 3CR broadcast live for four hours from Port Phillip Prison in Laverton. Gilla McGuinness, Johnny Mac, Freddy Norris and Haiden Briggs presented the Koori Youth Show, Kutcha Edwards hosted Songlines, and Ross Morgan and Lester Green presented Living Free, a program dedicated to drug and alcohol rehabilitation. For the inmates involved in the project, Beyond the Bars had an enormous impact. ‘When you’re inside a prison everything’s taken away from you,’ says Shaun. ‘You lose a lot of your power. You’re told when you shower, you’re told when you eat, but it was really empowering for the fellas to speak about culture, to be able to know that family were listening on the outside, that people listen to their stories. It really boosted them up, gave them self-confidence, belief, being able to talk to the community, and they were able to walk proud within the prison. The whole prison would listen to it.’

For Kutcha the injustice of being a member of the Stolen Generations affected his journey through the project. ‘Maybe because I had lived most of my life, my childhood in an institution, you know, eleven years, from age eighteen months to thirteen years old, in an institution in the Eastern suburbs, so I knew what it was like,’ he reflects. ‘I knew how I felt, and how destructive that kind of lifestyle can be, especially as an Aboriginal person. And denial of my human basic right, which is to be with my family, to be denied that. Not only that, my language, my culture, my extended family, my spirituality––in this institution. So I suppose with my work at 3CR, it was only a flow-on effect that we would go on to create Beyond the Bars.’

In 2003 broadcasting also began with women prisoners at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre at Deer Park, with Kutcha and the late Lisa Bellear. Lisa played a key role in the Deer Park broadcasts, facilitating writing workshops with the women and supporting them to tell stories about their lives.

In 2006 Lisa told The Age: ‘What I tried to do was get them writing and reading poetry for the broadcast. I tell them as long as you’ve got one word down it means you’ve got the ability, and we’ll work from there. People have prejudice against work produced in a prison situation: “Oh, it’s just jail poetry”. But this is a powerful and valid form of expression’.

 Beyond the Bars photo by Jessie Boylan

Above: Beyond the Bars photo by Jessie Boylan.

Listening to Labourers

The Concrete Gang

Edited excerpt from the book Radical Radio: Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR. www.3cr.org,au/shop

The Concrete Gang CFMEU 3CR Radio

The first programming team on The Concrete Gang was a selection of builders labourers who happened to put their hands up at a Builders Labourers’ Federation (BLF) meeting in early 1976. ‘I attended a branch meeting at which we were told that the BLF was an affiliated member of the Community Radio Federation, and that we were able to have our own radio program if there were enough people interested,’ recalls Ian Bolton, one of the founding programmers. ‘Four or five of us put up our hands and we met outside after the meeting was over.’

At the time Ian was a scaffolder working in Melbourne and an active BLF member. ‘We were all rank-and-file workers—a mixed bunch including full-time builders labourers and part-timers working to support themselves through university,’ says Ian. ‘None of us had any prior experience with the media and had never been on the radio.’

The first get-together took place at Phil Court’s place, because he had a house and owned a tape recorder. Phil was also a scaffolder and with Dan Hellier had co- written the Builders Labourers’ Song Book, which was also a builders labourers’ history of Australia, starting from the Aboriginal resistance against invasion and covering workers’ struggles up to 1975. ‘The songs and poetry from this book were often used in our programs over the years,’ says Ian. Phil also wrote the lyrics of the show’s theme song. He is now a Presbyterian minister involved in assisting refugees and others in need in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

‘I got involved because, in those days, I was a left- wing radical who wanted to disseminate news and views that challenged the narratives and presuppositions of the existing mass media,’ says Phil, whose on-air alias was ‘Joe’.

‘We all adopted aliases to avoid the black list and prevent being discriminated against by the Master Builders Federation, who were under the illusion that they really were our masters,’ says Ian, who is a ‘third generation economic refugee’ from Scotland who arrived in Australia in 1969. ‘My alias “Mario” was to emphasise the multicultural nature of the building industry, a Mario with a Scottish accent.’ The tradition of aliases continues on the program today—with ‘Warren’, ‘Rocky’, ‘Gorilla’ and others hitting the airwaves each Sunday morning.

Alongside ‘Mario’ and ‘Joe’ in the 1970s was ‘Bruce’, otherwise known as Paul Komesaroff. ‘We were committed to contributing to radical social change— some of us still are—and were working in the union movement, not just to defend the conditions of workers but also to help transform society at a deeper level,’ reflects Paul.

The popularity of the show continues, as does the union involvement—the show is currently presented by the Victorian Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).


Radical Radio

The making of the 3CR book

Radical Radio 3CR

In 2013 the first sparks of 3CR’s 40th anniversary book ignited, and by the middle of 2014 a group of station volunteers (past and present) came together to form the Book Working Group (BWG). Facilitated by Juliet Fox, 3CR Projects Coordinator, the group of nine people covered all four decades with their experience at the station, and brought together skills in writing, editing, book design and production.

Over the following two years the BWG—Lucy De Kretser, Clare Land, Sam Sowerwine, Pilar Aguilera, Juliet Fox, Rachel Kirby, Denis Evans, Libby Jamieson and Nancy Atkin—oversaw the writing and production of Radical Radio: Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR.

The timeframe was tight, and by the end of 2014 the BWG had mapped out the shape and structure of the book’s content and engaged five chapter coordinators to do the bulk of the work. Areej Nur, Lou Smith, Jenny Denton, Lucy De Kretser and Juliet Fox took on a decade each, while a group of around 40 people joined the process as the project’s Brains Trust—a ‘go to’ set of past and present 3CR volunteers with specific knowledge of the many different shows, campaigns and highlights of 3CR’s four decades of community-controlled radio.

The chapter coordinators also collected images to pass on to designer Rachel Kirby, who worked tirelessly to make a diverse, appealing and radical representation of the station’s forty years. The result is a stunning book with 300 pages, 56 000 words and 180 images that seeks to document just a small portion of the station’s programming and volunteers over the decades, and to celebrate 40 years on the airwaves.

Radical Radio: Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR was launched to a packed Bella Union at Trades Hall on 6 May 2016, and is dedicated to all the 3CR volunteers who have contributed to the last 40 years of grassroots, radical radio. Thank you all!


BEYOND THE BARS 3CR’s live prison broadcasts
Beyond the Bars

3CR’s live prison broadcasts

Connecting Aboriginal prisoners to the wider community in a remarkable radio event that gives voice to the experience of Aboriginal inmates serving time in Victorian prisons.

NAIDOC Week July 4-8, 2016

Mon 4 July 11-2pm
Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Deer Park

Tue 5 July 10-2pm
Barwon Prison, Lara, near Geelong

Wed 6 July 10-12pm
Fulham Correctional Centre, near Sale, Gippsland

Wed 6 July 12-2pm
Loddon Prison, Castlemaine

Thu 7 July 12-3pm
Port Phillip Prison, Laverton

Fri 8 July 11-2pm
Marngoneet Correctional Centre, Lara, near Geelong


Engaging Communities

Namila Benson, broadcaster and temporary Current Affairs Coordinator

Even a quick glance through the station’s historical exhibition was a great chance to explore 3CR’s colourful radical and political broadcasting history. Each Friday evening throughout April, a different programming group took over the airwaves to showcase the station’s history from their perspective as part of the the ‘If People Powered Radio’ exhibition at Gertrude Contemporary.

The second in this series of Friday broadcasts focused on a history of community language programs. Accent of Women presenters, Jiselle Hanna and Lourdes Garcia-Larque, anchored the broadcast, bringing in a range of different voices, cultures and insights to contribute to a history of community language programming. Considering the breadth of community language programs over the decades, they broke down discussions under the themes of emerging communities, youth, activist and grassroots involvement.

And first up, they focused on women, and the significance of their involvement as community programmers and broadcasters. Discussing the issues was long-term 3CR broadcaster, Vicky Ferrado. Vicky, along with her sister, Marta, present Mafalda; a feminist show that focuses on the news and views of Latin American women.

But Vicky revealed during the outside broadcast that the term ‘feminist’ wasn’t always a comfortable label: ‘It was quite difficult because I had this idea that being part of a feminist program was something rude. I had to change the way I thought in those days [1997], because I didn’t really connect with the word “feminism”. So I had to really learn what feminism was and when I found out the meaning of it, I fell in love with it and never left the feminism title of the program.’ Melba Marginson, Executive Director of the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition, is a former presenter on the Filipino show, Kabayan (run in conjunction with the Centre for Philippine Concerns). The show finished up some years ago and Melba spoke of the importance of radio connecting her community.

‘Kabayan radio, our Filipino radio program, started in 1991. During its time, it became an avenue for newly arrived people to come on-board, to train up and start to feel that they belonged, because that’s what we all want here. We want to feel that we are a part of this country. We’re engaging the communities—not only our communities, but the rest of the communities.’

Both Vicky and Melba’s shows started off as half an hour, before being extended to one-hour shows. They spoke of the vital role radio played in addressing difficult issues within the community, especially family violence. With the recent release of the Royal Commission into Family Violence report (tabled on 30 March, 2016), the role of radio in assisting refugee and migrant women, historically and in the present-day, is brought into sharp focus. 

‘The Spanish-speaking programs were dominated by males and Mafalda was the only feminist program presented by women at that time,’ Vicky explains. ‘It was really hard to have just half an hour every week to deal with a lot of issues; mainly to do with family violence. That’s why the program started, because there was a number of women killed in the community and women didn’t know where to go. They thought that they were trapped, same as they were in their countries of origin.’

Melba agrees with refugee and migrant women feeling vulnerable and not knowing where to access resources. ‘We were also facing family violence around the same time. We had to have a program because in around 1989, three Filipino women were killed in Victoria and these cases all had a history of family violence. I led a campaign—which became a national campaign—to protect Filipino women from domestic violence and we documented around 18 cases of Filipino women being killed across Australia.’

With Mafalda focusing on the sisterhood, Vicky was surprised that women weren’t the only ones in the community who found the show useful.

‘Through the program, we’ve been able to inform women, educate women—and men, very curiously. Because a number of men called us and said, “Well, through your program, I have learned how to treat my woman” and that’s amazing. It’s really amazing to hear the men saying that to us. And some women they say, “Well, I don’t have to tune in. My husband does it for me every Friday evening.”’

During the broadcast Jiselle discussed with Melba and Vicky the importance of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds having access to information via radio to empower them in a safe and anonymous way. And how the roles these trailblazing broadcasters played on-air extended to working off-air as community leaders and activists tackling issues that affect women.

‘Through our program I’m very proud and very privileged to still be here to continue working with a lot of social workers and community workers since starting back in 1991,’ Vicky responded. ‘Mafalda is turning 25 years old this year. It’s a big celebration for us.’

In terms of family violence and other difficult issues, Melba spoke of the pivotal role of radio in the Filipino community. ‘We were always in the media and 3CR was our resident broadcasting avenue. Every time there
was a new case, we would talk about it and as with Mafalda, people were calling us, asking for help. So community radio, there’s nothing like it. It helps with migrants feeling settled, feeling like they belong and it gives them information—and that’s why the radio program is so important.’

Over four Friday evenings from 5–7pm 3CR presented a series of live outside broadcasts from the exhibition space featuring campaigns, current affairs and local musicians, including one curated by sound art organisation, Liquid Architecture, and a Saturday evening live broadcast of 3CR’s experimental music program, Let Your Freak Flag Fly.

 3CR Broadcasters Jiselle Hanna, Lourdes Garcia-Larque, Areej Nur and Namila Benson live at Gertrude Contemporary

Above: Broadcasters Jiselle Hanna, Lourdes Garcia-Larque, Areej Nur and Namila Benson live at Gertrude Contemporary.

LISTEN: Mafalda Fridays 6.30-7.30pm


Radical Radio - Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR
Radical Radio: Celebrating 40 Years of 

Radical Radio: Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR tells the story of 3CR’s contribution to Australian cultural and political life. When 3CR Community Radio hit Melbourne’s airwaves in 1976 it was Australia’s first community-owned and community-run grassroots radio station.

Outspoken and independent, the station still gives voice to issues that would otherwise go unheard, and to people striving for political and social justice.

A collective and collaborative writing project, Radical Radio celebrates these ongoing achievements, and highlights the diversity and dynamism of the programs and people that over 40 years have won 3CR its place in our hearts and on our radio dials.

Book Sales

3CR.org.au/shop | $49.50 + postage

21 Smith Street, Fitzroy

03 9419 8377 (business hours)


SISTA ZAI ZANDA Current Affairs Coordinator 3CR Radio
Sista Zai Zanda

Current Affairs Coordinator

How did you first hear about 3CR?

In 2009 or 2010. My friends, Phoebe Barton and Bec Smith, invited me to subscribe to 3CR. They hosted a show called Hip Sista Hop. I bought one of the famous limited edition hoodies, which I still have. At about that time, I had started a black women’s storytelling collective and was excited to find a radio show with a similar objective as that of the collective. In 2010/2011 Bec and Phoebe passed on the baton and invited me and four other women to co-host Hip Sista Hop. In time, I became a 3CR trainer and a volunteer at reception and got to know the organisation from various angles.

What attracted you to working here in the role of Current Affairs Coordinator?

Well, 3CR is an amazing organisation. I love that we support and provide access to under-heard and misrepresented voices – which is the ethic of my storytelling practice. While I am a storyteller/educator/ DJ, I have an academic background in International Relations, International Development and Law with a focus on Gender and Africa. So it seems like a dream come true that one role can bring together all of these aspects of myself. I’m really looking forward to supporting and resourcing 3CR programmers so this iconic station continues to broadcast cutting edge and alternative grassroots current affairs. What are your favourite shows? I’m not sure I should say … but I am partial to all of the women’s programming. Overall, I do love the fact that I can turn on 3CR and I am guaranteed to learn something new and get an alternative perspective on everything from gardening to Queer issues. I firmly believe that the revolution begins within through a commitment to critical thinking; and then extends to our interpersonal relationship and then systems and structures. All 3CR shows foster consciousness raising, critical thinking and solidarity for the purposes of radical transformation.

What are you looking forward to achieving this year?

Well, I’m just filling the position for a short period. So, the aim is to continue as we always have. I am really excited to be here during our 40th Anniversary year, which is a unique experience in itself.

What Are Your Interests Away From 3CR?

Give me five minutes alone and you will find me with my head in a book. I also really cannot resist dancing up a sweat on either a reggae dance floor or at home with friends who share a love for the music. I love to share (and cook) good food. I run an open mic event called the Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe, where I connect with new, emerging and established Afrikan voices. I love to sing and will release my first dub poetry single this year, with my good friend and producer, Third Culture.


Keep Independent, Progressive Radio on Air...Subscribe to 3CR!


$70 Waged / $35 Concession / $130 Solidarity


Online through the 3CR website 3cr.org.au
Call 03 9419 8377 (credit card payments only)
Visit the station at 21 Smith Street, Fitzroy (cash, credit or cheque)
Post your cheque/money order to PO Box 1277, Collingwood, 3066


3CR Subscriber Love

Meet one of our newest and one of our oldest subscribers

Marissa Johnpillai 3CR Subscriber
Marissa Johnpillai is one of 3CR’s newest subscribers! Marissa joined in 2016 and volunteers with the Done By Law show.

Why did you join 3CR?
When I moved to Melbourne a couple of years ago I heard about 3CR and Done By Law. I’ve been involved in community radio and community law for a while. Before moving here I volunteered at community radio stations in Christchurch, New Zealand. I’ve also worked in community legal centres as a volunteer and a worker. I’m interested in the injustices of the legal system, and Done By Law provides a space for people who are passionate about critiquing the legal system.

Why is community radio important to you?
I love the freedom you get in community radio to cover issues in a more autonomous way than you can in mainstream media, and I love the diversity of community radio. You may not have the same interests or political views as other volunteers, but making radio together means you share interests in speaking for yourself, and in creativity and collaboration.

What are your favourite shows?
I love Lost in Science. It makes me feel like I’m a scientist just by listening! Another favourite is Global Intifada, and I often listen to Nostalgia Unlimited on Sunday night. I also enjoy the community language shows. I think it’s vital that 3CR keeps supporting different communities and languages.

What do you think radio will be like in 40 years time?
I love how radio and audio has survived so long. I’d like to think whatever state the world is in, sound and stories will still be important to people.


Norm Donald 3CR Subscriber
Norm Donald has been a subscriber since 1976 when 3CR began broadcasting, and in recognition of his loyalty was awarded a lifetime membership.


Why did you join 3CR?
I was in the Plumbers’ Union and they told us about this new radio station in Melbourne that was for the workers, and so we all joined up. I started as a plumbing apprentice in 1945 and joined the Union in 1947. I did all sorts of plumbing work. I worked at Thomas Walkers in South Melbourne. I did maintenance work on factories. I did work for the government at Laverton airfield, at Point Cook and at the dockyards.

What are your favourite shows?
I listen to all the union shows. I usually listen from 7 o’clock on a Saturday morning and listen to Stick Together and Solidarity Breakfast, and carry on listening to all of the Saturday morning shows.

What else do you, when you’re not listening to 3CR?
I’m still a retired member of the union, so I stay involved with that. I go ballroom dancing three or four times a week with my wife. We go all over, to dances for the over-60s. We go to Maryborough and Yarrawonga and places like that for dance weekends.

Why is 3CR still important to you?
When you’ve got something like 3CR you need to hold on to it, you need to keep it there. Workers need a radio station like 3CR. It’s the only place you’re going to hear about the workers.


Programming Updates

Since 1976, 3CR has delivered current affairs, music, and community language programming that can’t be heard anywhere else. Currently, almost 130 programs are created, produced and put to air every week on
3CR. Below are key updates to our programming grid.

New Programs

Enpsychedelia Sundays 2pm
Harm reduction and drug law reform activism, a counter voice to current drug narratives. Breathing reality into the myths, fabrications and distortions that exist around drugs. News, academia, and culture.

Kids With Attitude Thursdays 2pm
An hour of Aboriginal kids opinions, talks, shout-outs, music and current affairs. Inclusive of kids from all cultures.

Progressive Beats Saturdays 1am
Bringing progressive house, electronica and dance from artists often discriminated from radio play to the 3CR airwaves. Mixed live in the studio. Showcasing interviews with local artists from Melbourne and Australia.

Sweet Dreams Sundays 11pm
Specialist music program with a focus on women and queer musicians making electronic, noise, experimental, pop and punk in Australia and NZ.

The Raven’s Lair Mondays Midnight
Music from beyond the mainstream. One and a half hours of diverse alternative music. From pre and post punk rock, funk, hard core, local artists and demos.

3CR Boom Box
Departing Shows

We said farewell to the following programs: Corzza’s Deadly Lifestyle Show, Feminist Focus, Indearts and African Australian Voice. Thanks to everyone involved.

Special Broadcasts

Left after Breakfast Lunch – 1 November 2015
Good food, good company, good environment and a good cause. Historic broadcast and lunch with Left After Breakfast, at the EcoCentre, Blessington Street, St Kilda.

Eureka Rebellion – 3 December 2015
Broadcast 4am-6am from the Eureka Dawn Ceremony at the site of the Eureka Massacre as part of the day long series of events organised by the Anarchist Media Institute commemorating the 160th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade massacre.

Disability Day – 3 December 2015
For International Day of People with Disability on Wednesday 3 December, 3CR celebrated with 12 hours of disability resistance, culture and pride.

Summer Programming – January 2016
A diverse range of radio specials and highlights from a focus on Palestine to David Bowie retrospectives and Gaelic Punk. These can still be found at www.3cr.org.au/summerspecials

Invasion Day – 26 January 2016
Aboriginal activists have broadcast on 3CR for the stations entire 40 year history. This year featured 3 hours of special programming from 11-2pm with live coverage of the WAR No Pride in Genocide Invasion Day rally in Melbourne.

Tunnerminnerwait Maulboyheener – 20 January 2016
Commemorating the anniversary of the execution of two Tasmanian indigenous freedom fighters who were the first to be publicly executed in Victoria. They were executed on 20 January 1842 on the corner of Bowen and Franklin Streets Melbourne, where campaigners have lobbied for due recognition.

International Women’s Day – 8 March 2016
24 hours of fabulous feminism in celebration of 3CR’s 40th Birthday. Featuring the powerful voices of women’s resistance to imperialism, cultural and historical revisionism, intersectionality, creative non violence, contributions to science, music and highlights from the past 40 years of 3CR’s women’s programming.

Sustainable Breakfast – 15-18 March 2016
Now in its third year, grassroots radio served up a delicious free breakfast and local music live over four days from the Friends of the Earth Food Coop.
3CR breakfast presenters spoke with campaigners, commentators and innovators talking about the most important challenge of our time: how to achieve environmental sustainability with social justice.

Where the Heart Is – 18 March 2016
A live outside broadcast (12-2pm) from the Where the Heart Is Homelessness Festival presented by Roominations. Organised by RDNS Homeless Persons Program to provide a day out for Melbourne’s homeless community.

Sisters Akousmatica – 8 May 2016
Collaboration with women artists on radical autonomous transmissions as part of Next Wave Festival 2016 in partnership with Liquid Architecture. www.3cr.org.au/sistersakousmatica

Still to Come in 2016

Naidoc Week Beyond the Bars – 4-8 July 2016
Beyond the bars connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners to the wider community and is a unique radio event that gives voice to the experience of inmates in Victorian prisons.


We were finalists in two 2015 CBAA award categories. What’s The Score Sport was shortlisted for the Troy Garner Excellence in Sports Programming and Queering The Air was shortlisted for Excellence in Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasting.

Happy Birthday 3CR  Cake by Sam Wallman
3CR’s Nationally Syndicated Programs

ACCENT OF WOMEN A program by and about women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with a commitment to progressive politics. www.3cr.org.au/accentofwomen
LISTEN: Tuesday 8.30-9am

ANARCHIST WORLD THIS WEEK An anarchist analysis on local, national and international news and events. www.3cr.org.au/anarchistworld
www.anarchistmedia.org/ LISTEN: Wednesday 10-11am

BEYOND ZERO EMISSIONS Find out about the latest science and climate solutions available now. www.3cr.org.au/beyondzero www.facebook.com/beyondzeroemissions
LISTEN: Friday 8.30-9am and Monday 5-6pm
(Community Show)

EARTH MATTERS Local, national and international environmental issues with a strong social justice bent www.3cr.org.au/earthmatters www.facebook.com/Earth.Matters.radio
LISTEN: Sunday 11-11.30am

LET THE BANDS PLAY Music of brass bands and concert bands from worldwide sources, biographical comments regarding composers, conductors, bands and interesting historical events relating to much of the music. www.3cr.org.au/bandsplay
LISTEN: Sunday 7-8pm

LOST IN SCIENCE Presents a wide range of science and technology news, entertaining news and discussion about research and its impact on society. www.3cr.org.au/lostinscience www.facebook.com/LostInScience
LISTEN: Thursday 8.30-9am

THE RADIOACTIVE SHOW An anti-nuclear program with up-to-date news and information on global nuclear, peace and energy issues.
www.3cr.org.au/radioactive www.facebook.com/radioactiveshow LISTEN: Saturday 10-10.30am

STICK TOGETHER Australia’s only national radio show dedicated to union and workplace justice issues. www.3cr.org.au/sticktogether www.facebook.com/stick.together3cr
LISTEN: Wednesday 8.30-9am

WOMEN ON THE LINE The show provides a gender analysis of contemporary issues, as well as in-depth analysis by a range of women around Australia and internationally.
www.3cr.org.au/womenontheline www.facebook.com/WomenOnTheLine LISTEN: Monday 8.30-9am