Community Radio for
Mallacoota 101.7 Genoa 96.9

Wilderness Radio

Where we are ...

Genoa is situated upstream from Mallacoota, on the Princes Highway 22 km from Mallacoota.

Mallacoota is a small, remote coastal town in Far East Gippsland, within sight of the border with NSW. It is surrounded by Croajingolong National Park, Bass Strait and a beautiful estuarine lake system on the Genoa River. It is a popular camping destination in Summer.

Why We Are ...

From The Ashes...

In 1983 a series of bush fires ravaged Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Among the many towns affected was Mallacoota. Being surrounded by the Croajingolong National Park Mallacoota was, and still is, at great risk of being destroyed by fire.

With flames sweeping the only road into town and the power and telephone lines cut, fires were threatening on our doorsteps. Apart from a non-updated (and thus useless) bulletin on Bega's ABC radio, communication in and out of Mallacoota was all but impossible.

Most people in Mallacoota evacuated their homes and gathered down either to the waterfront or to the Community Hall. Seeking water, the natural enemy of fire, everyone headed for the lake and packed themselves, and as many belongings they could, into boats. People without boats filled their cars with belongings and parked as close as they could to the Community Hall.

Ex-local resident John Colquhoun said "At the Community Hall they had on stand-by high pressure hoses ready to spray mass volumes of water into the air to protect the surrounding area." The fire, which was by now visible in the distance, had jumped The Narrows to the north and as well was approaching from the west.

Firefighters did what they could but the ruthless fire seemed like it was going to arrive no matter what they tried. Smoke made it impossible to fight it any longer or even locate the front. A daring American helicopter pilot flew up with the late Ken Morrison, to try to locate the fire front and a way that the fire fighters could get to it. The mass volume of thick black smoke meant the mission nearly ended in disaster. They lost track of the town and the fire and had to resort to flying back at tree height following the road into town.

It was just sheer luck that prevented Mallacoota burning to the ground as happened at so many other places. The Mallacoota town centre and homes were left untouched after the wind changed direction and directed the fire back onto itself, Nearly 75% of the National Park was burnt out, but luckily no lives were lost in this area.

After this narrow escape it was strongly evident that Mallacoota needed better communications at such times, and the community decided that the best option would be to start a local radio station which would keep everyone up to date in emergency situations.

After many years of campaigning and many stories later 3MGB fm finally, in 1992, received a licence to broadcast! Sadly, the reason for our existence is now often overlooked, a gap of nearly thirty five years has allowed people to forget the hopelessness felt when faced with a bad bush fire. In addition the population of the area has more than doubled in that time so many residents have never had to cope with such a threat.

However, the next time there is a bush fire (and there will be a next time) the people of Mallacoota will be able to tune into 3MGB at all times to know what is going on. So remember to always include in your emergency planning a battery operated radio (with fresh batteries) because emergency situations can happen at any time. And please try to support 3MGB because in times of crisis 3MGB might become the best friend you ever had!

... To Today

3MGB is a community radio station which is completely staffed by volunteers. This makes us one of only a handful of radio stations that rely totally on continued community support for their existence.

3MGB is a community radio station which pledges to provide a comprehensive community information and entertainment service which is broad-based and offers the opportunity for as wide a community involvement as possible.

Whilst the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia's satellite service, which we integrate with our local programming, is very important, we are pledged to make the local content our top priority.

Currently it costs $23,000 a year to keep our radio station on air, or about $500 per week. That includes all our day to day operating costs, equipment maintenance and updating etc.

The revenue necessary to meet these operating costs is provided by;

  • Sponsors who promote their business on the radio,
  • Donations from many Mallacoota residents, and a regular large contribution from Mallacoota Community Opportunity Shop,
  • Community radio subscribers who pay an annual fee as members,
  • Grants from Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF) for purchase of vital studio and transmission equipment, and subsidies for the costs associated with getting the signal to air,
  • Volunteer's Grants from the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) for the purchase of equipment to support volunteers, and to encourage volunteering,
  • Various fundraising activities, many of which have become features of the Mallacoota calendar. We publish regularly a local phone book. Our Trivia Nights and the occasional Jazz and Classical Concerts have always proved popular and we often seem to have a raffle on the go!

For our first nine years 3MGB operated out of a converted flat above one of the petrol stations. We then moved into one of the school houses that had stood empty for some time. As the house provided space for two studios and an office, with easy ground floor access, it proved to be an adequate temporary home.

In 2001 we entered into a joint venture agreement with the Mallacoota Arts Council - Croajingolong Centre for Communications and the Arts (3CA), the objective being the creation of a shared purpose-built permanent home.

In 2011 3CA received sufficient funds to plan and erect the building.

Construction works commenced in June 2013.

Finally, in April 2015 3MGB commenced transmission from the partially completed building. A permanent home at last! The Centre was opened in November 2015.

In mid-2018 a significant boost to our coverage at Genoa was achieved when we were able to relocate our Genoa 96.9MHz transmitter to a high site at Maramingo Hill. Mallacoota Op Shop provided most of the funds necessary to purchase new equipment for this move.

5 reasons to love Community Radio - by Sue Hines - June 2016

1. The lack of endless commercials

A couple of weeks ago I drove to Canberra and switched from CDs to commercial radio when I got within range, listening for traffic reports that might affect my trip. After a couple of minutes I still hadn't heard anything but commercials - all shouted at me in urgent tones that put my teeth on edge. And then - the commercials were replaced by the news, with more commercials between news/sport and weather segments. Then two very shouty presenters (one loud shrieky female and one loud braying male) had a dialogue that was really nothing more than an infomercial for their outdoor broadcast location (a new shopping mall). Eventually there was some music, but not enough to make up for the shouting and nerve-jangling commercial rubbish that filled up far more of the airwaves than I could bear.

I longed for the low-key community radio broadcasts of 3MGB, and switched off the radio in disgust.

2. The variety of programming

Because we don't have a huge range of radio choices in Mallacoota (unless we resort to internet streaming, of course) we can listen to a huge variety of radio programs from 3MGB and the Community Radio Network (CRN).

Local presenters bring us musical programming that ranges from classical to hard rock, golden oldies, easy listening, jazz, blues, folk, country - even bluegrass!

We can also tune in to CRN programs about news, current affairs, indigenous issues, health, science and medical issues, books, world music and so on.

All without twisting that dial.

Variety is key. We're also less likely to hear the same song played over and over and over throughout the course of any given day.

3. Local content

The sponsor messages you hear on 3MGB support local businesses. The community information messages are relevant to residents and visitors to the Mallacoota/Gipsy Point/Genoa area. Programs like the Healthy Living Show (Tuesday 9am) and the Emergency Services Hour (Wednesday 1pm) talk about specific events and services that affect our local area directly. The people you are listening to are your friends and neighbours - people you know.

4. It's a community asset.

3MGB is your local radio station and is open to hearing what you would like, and responding to that message. Keep an eye open for a listener survey in the very near future. The station is staffed by volunteers - it's a community service as well as a fabulous opportunity for individuals to make contact with the community.

5. It's a great way to get some media experience.

In a small town like ours there are often opportunities that big cities simply cannot offer. People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to "give it a go" on community radio.

  • No degrees necessary.
  • No expensive media or radio-school courses.
  • Patient, encouraging on-the-job training is provided by more experienced broadcasters in a welcoming atmosphere.

It's community. So - when it comes to community radio - what's not to love?

Community Radio is a team effort. What we all share in is a common belief in the value of community radio. Many people contribute in different ways. Some volunteers are presenters, some look after management issues, some provide expertise at board level and some are all these things!

It is not so hard to support 3MGB, for only a small cost of $10 you could join 3MGB or you could even volunteer to do a radio show!

You can make a difference and have fun doing it!

How We Do It..


Being an Incorporated Association in the State of Victoria we must conduct our affairs in a responsible manner using rules approved by the Victorian Department of Justice. In 2013 we adopted a set of Model Rules published by the DoJ and modified them slightly to fit our particular needs. They may be read here.

These Rules are expanded and supported by many Policies and Procedures which cover all aspects of the operation of our radio station.

Some are listed below.