On Australia Day, Christian radio station 98five Sonshine FM celebrated 25 years on the airwaves of Perth.
Thousands attended the station’s celebrations at the Town of Bassendean’s Family Fireworks event, where the station broadcast live throughout the evening.
Sonshine FM general manager Bevan Jones said the station hopes to expand its broadcasts throughout the entire state, as well as developing a diverse range of multiple online stations.
“We are at an important place in our journey, celebrating the past and looking to the exciting new future,” he said.
“It’s been a generation of hope over the last 25 years and we are asking everyone to help us create a new generation of hope for the next 25 years.”
The station, which now broadcasts to over 285,000 listeners each week through its FM band and website, was nothing more than a dream of a few enthusiasts in the 1970s. Mr Jones said he was humbled and inspired by the commitment and dedication shown by those who established the radio station.
“It took 15 years of applications, prayer, hard work and commitment from many people in Perth before Sonshine FM got to do its first test broadcast in 1982,” he said.
Six years later the station began broadcasting with just three employees and countless volunteers.
Mr Jones said the first station manager, Keith Morgan, was a pioneer of what is called “mixed format” radio.
“No one had ever mixed main-stream music and Christian artists in regular airplay before,” he said.
“His example now sees 98five’s broadcast reach daily into the homes and cars of people who might never go near a church.
“Sonshine FM has always been about ‘reaching out to the lost’ and engaging them with the positive message of hope in Jesus Christ.”
As a station that relies on the generosity of listeners and sponsors, Sonshine FM has built strong relationships with the Perth community.
“We regularly partner with over 21 major groups and 350 churches and community groups,” Mr Jones said.
“A highlight for me is my file with hundreds of letters and emails from listeners who tell us that through Sonshine FM they found hope of a better life, and a relationship with God.
“We are humbled when we receive feedback from these people whose lives are changed for the better through listening to us”.
The station plans to hold a major celebration of its 25-year anniversary in September.