Indefinite hiatus for Class FM seniors radio

Much-loved seniors radio station, Class 96.5 FM, has gone off the air due to changes in radio licensing.

Long-time listener Fred Mutch was confused when he tried to tune in and found his favourite local station had disappeared from the airwaves.

“It was a pretty popular station among people my age, they played 50’s and 60’s hits, good classic stuff,” he said.

The man behind Class FM, Bob Dalla Volta, had been running the station out of his own pocked since purchasing it 16 years ago.

However, he said that he was recently forced off 96.5 by changes to the radio spectrum use, enforced by the Australian Communication and Media Association (ACMA).

Class FM is a narrowcasting station, which means its reception is limited, both in terms of range and audience.

ACMA has forced narrowcasting stations, many of which are small, local stations that serve niche audiences, to frequencies of 87-88 MHz.

“This meant that as of March 31, broadcasting to our Mandurah listeners… on 96.5 MHz, had to cease,” Mr Dalla Volta said.

After failing to acquire a community license in time before the changes took place, Mr Dalla Volta had only 12 hours to inform his listeners of the shutdown.

Class FM was allocated 87.6 MHz, but Mr Volta has faced a slew of problems, including rebranding costs and interference from a neighbouring narrowcasting station also allocated 87.6 MHz.

He has since had to pin his hopes on a community radio license approval for the newly-formed Mandurah Community Radio Committee.

“Going from radio ownership to a committee position… controlling a community radio venture is certainly not an issue for me,” he said.

He believes it will see more community involvement, enable them to attract sponsorship and grants, and allow people to listen in at home, in their car or on the internet.

“Seniors’ information and golden oldies will still be at the heart of the operation, along with a variety of other acceptable music,” he said.

“It hasn’t been a fun time for seniors’ radio in Mandurah lately, but we are still in there trying and will continue until all avenues are exhausted.”

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