2SSR-FM, the voice of Sutherland Shire turns 25

2SSR-99.7FM achieves 25 years of broadcasting as Sutherland Shire’s own local community radio station on September 26.

To celebrate, the radio station is inviting its listeners to their Open Day, to be held at the 2SSR-FM studios at Gymea TAFE on Saturday, September 30.

2SSR was born when Sutherland Shire resident Ian Decker thought it would be great for the shire to have its own community radio station.

In 1984 a meeting was held in a coffee shop in Station Street, Engadine to plan the shire’s first community radio station.

In addition to Ian Decker there was Eunice Wingrove, Vicki Civils, Keith Clark,Geoff Goque, Stephen McDonnell, Robert Roulstone, Simone Schwartz, Patrick Shaw and Vicki Simpson.

Eunice Wingrove is the last of the group of ten still involved some 33 years later.

“It would be 7 years before we could obtain a permanent licence, ” Eunice said.

“It was a massive task that involved contacting politicians, schools and businesses to spread the word about this exciting new community service that we could have in the shire.

“We contacted existing community radio groups and the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) – the actual body that would ultimately determine whether our submission for a licence would be approved.

“We conducted seven test transmissions in various locations at Engadine, Sutherland and Miranda.

“With each test we became more and more confident, and with an increase in our membership we were able to bring more presenters on board, many of them learning as they went along.”

One test transmission, on Australia Day, 1988, was part of the shire’s Bicentennial Celebrations at Kareela Oval with the radio station sending its signal via an Aussat satellite link between the Sutherland studio and Kareela, 37,000 km each way.

Granted a licence, the station’s first permanent broadcast day on air, September 26, 1992 was from a small building in Gray Street, Sutherland.

“Keith Clark was our first presenter to go to air, introducing me as the general manager,” Eunice said.

“We made a short announcement of this being the first broadcast on air of 2SSR and welcomed listeners to join us in celebrating this great achievement.

“Other presenters followed on after him, including Scott Docherty who presented his program well into the first night of operation and who has been on air through the 25 years of our existence so far.  

“Another one of our 25 year badge of honour presenters is Ron Hoffmans, while popular presenter Joyce McKenzie recently retired.

“Also Joan Smith, the station’s Administration Officer should be thanked and many others who had also been very actively involved in our development to date.

“25 years on, 2SSRFM is an important part of Shire life.

“Our biggest goal from day one has been to continue to engage with the community to ensure there is a growing number of shire residents, and those who work in the shire, who listen to the station.

“This totally volunteer-based service is as we say on are “For the community - By the community.

“The great thing about community radio is that it is actually about what the community wants to hear. They set the pace and the program for us. The music we play is not played by commercial radio. We play a diverse range of music such as jazz, classics, oldies and newies.

“It’s not only music. We also have interaction with local community organisations, clubs, local identities, and people who have a particular interest in what is happening in the shire.

“We are finding more ways to engage with the community, asking what types of programs they would like to hear, getting their feedback about the way 2SSR operates, encouraging them to join the station and become involved, or support the station by means of donations.

“We are confident that 2SSR-FM can only grow as an important part of shire life.

“It helps bring local residents together to achieve a sense of community in the shire.

“To celebrate the 25th anniversary, we are inviting our listeners to our Open Day to be held on Saturday, September 30 between 1pm and 5pm, at the 2SSR-FM studios in the grounds of Gymea TAFE, in Block F via Kingsway entrance.

“We would love to have their company and show them around their radio station.”

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