Ivor JonesMemories

The Hills are Alive

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][us_image image=”67175″ size=”full” align=”left” style=”circle”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_col-lg-4/5 vc_col-md-4/5 vc_col-xs-4/5″][vc_column_text]By Ivor Jones[/vc_column_text][us_post_date][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
I got on the bathroom scales the other day and it read 90.5 as I stood there I thought of the local radio station Alive 90.5 and how and when it came to be.

I was involved in its creation and start up of broadcasting more than thirty years ago but not involved when it was first mooted in 1983.

I first became interested in community radio back in the 1970s when I was the Returning Officer for the Werriwa By-election upon Gough Whitlam’s retirement from Parliamentary life. As part of an awareness campaign to encourage participation in voting at the byelection, I approached the local community radio station (2CT) at Campbelltown (then part of the Werriwa electorate) and arranged for spot announcements regarding the election and roll closure etc. I had previously, in the 1960s, attended a radio announcing school and worked as a disc jockey at local dances in the Fairfield- Cabramatta area and had built up a sizable record library.

Upon seeing an article in a copy of the Parramatta Advertiser in the late 1980s about the move to establish a local radio station I became involved in what is now Alive 90.5. I joined what was then called the Cumberland Media Association (that was the group name on the Training Manual that I still hold) although I have also been informed by a past Chairman it was always called Cumberland Community Radio hence the call sign of 2CCR. I think that the Cumberland Media Association came about when Cumberland Community Radio merged with the Hills Community Radio and also Radio West in the late 1980s. Actually, it was a merger of three groups.

In “A history of 2CCR – Cumberland Community Radio” by Mark Drumgold it is mentioned by the author that he thought that Brian Lankow and myself may have been members of Hills Radio however I was never a member of that group. I joined 2CCR after the merger.

My time with 2CCR, I must say, was interesting. In August 1992 the “Hills News” carried a front page story headed “Bloodless coup at 2CCR” and told of Brian Lankow, John Fitzgibbon and myself becoming the new executive of 2CCR. About the time that the station went to air with continuous broadcasting, Ian Maurice telephoned me and indicated an interest in joining the station. The call went something like this. “Hi I’m Ian Maurice” me “Sorry, who?” Ian “Ian Maurice” me “The name’s familiar”.

I think I must have dented his ego somewhat, as he had to explain that he was a sports broadcaster on television. That said he eventually joined the station. The Hills News had another front page headline in March 1993 which read “2CCR rocked by Maurice walkout” in which Ian Maurice slammed the station. Terry Gaynon, a friend of Ian Maurice, had by April 1993 become the station manager.

After Brian Lankow stepped down as Chairman in 1993, Gary Ridge was appointed Chairman whilst I was Deputy Chairman. Gary left 2CCR to take the position of head of the US multi-national WD40 company and during his time with that company, the company acquired the Solvol soap business claiming that both WD40 and Solvol could be found in workshops everywhere.

I then became Chairman of 2CCR in 1994 and during that time the station won an Australia Day award for outstanding community service. In dispute with Terry Gaynon, the Station Manager, over his moves to format the station into a West Coast Jazz (as in a Californian jazz style station) I resigned from the station as I disagreed with the direction it was heading. The Australian Broadcasting Tribunal carried out an inquiry into the station and the station came close to losing its community licence.

Listening to the station in more recent times I am pleased to see that is now more community oriented and not formatted to one particular style of programming.

A current Board Member recently suggested to me that I consider re-joining the station, however I find that I do not have sufficient time to get reinvolved at the present. I can appreciate that a formatted station would have better audience retention than a community station but the licence for a station such as 2CCR is for representing the community that it serves.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][us_image image=”68893″ size=”full” align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ivor Jones

Ivor Jones has been involved with the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News since 1980.  He specialises in local history and nostalgic items. He has also been involved in community radio having been Chairman of the Board, and broadcaster at Cumberland Community Radio (now known as Alive90.5).  Ivor is also a passionate community volunteer in many community groups

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