THE BILLABONG RADIO NETWORK STORY
The Billabong Radio Network was the brainchild of Australian Greg Symes and British Born David Gardner way back in June 1999.
Greg returned back home in 2000 and on setting up home in Kyabram, an opportunity came to run the 87.6 FM Frequency in Kyabram, which at that time
was owned by the Chamber of Commerce which was only operated for only 2 weeks of the year at Christmas time.
Greg approached the Kyabram Chamber of Commerce with a proposal to run the station on a 24/7 basis and negotiated with the Chamber of Commerce to
let Billabong Radio Network use their license, and to run the Radio Station on a professional basis from a one room studio in Kyabram, for and on the
benefit of the local Kyabram community.
Greg Symes along with Norris Bell and (now retired from PCFM) Norris Bell were the first presenters to start off Power Country FM in Kyabram .
The first transmission of Power Country FM in Kyabram (Australia) began in July 2002 and is still operating 24/7 hours to this day. Shortly after the Kyabram
station was established Greg applied for and was granted the 88.0 MHz license for Tatura about 25ks away, Power Country FM started transmitting via relay
from Kyabram in Sept 2002. Power Country FM transmitted this way for the next 4 years.(Tatura was eventually exchanged for the Kerang license in 2010)
Soon after that the license for Tongala applied was granted . A small studio was then established at Tongala started and transmitting programs from there to
the other stations in the Billabong Radio Network.
The main Power Country FM live program base comes from Kyabram, Tongala and Leitchville, and these programs are shared by all the individual PCFM
stations at different times throughout the day when the relay stations are not on automation mode.
In February 2007 Greg decided to move to Leitchville to live and to try and expand the Billabong Radio Network, and proceeded to lodge an application for
a radio station license in the Leitchville area, which would cover the towns of Gunbower, Leitchville, and Cohuna on the 88.0 MHz .frequency. PCFM
Leitchville was now born and went to air May 2007.
Licenses for Barham 87.6 and Cohuna88.00 soon became the next target for the network with Cohuna and Barham coming on line in June 2008. In 2009
Lockington and Rochester came on line and they are all proving very successful.
PCFM Pyramid Hill applied for and was granted their license on the 88.00 MHz frequency in April 2008.
STREAMING AUDIO AND VISUAL
Because of the availability and the power of broadband, Power Country FM not only transmits their signal to their relay stations this way, they can now
transmit to the world live with the advent pf the World Wide Webb A studio camera was setup and came into operation at the Tongala studio, allowing
viewers to see how it is all done, plus they are able to interact with the presenters face to face, request songs etc and the studio was now able to chat to our
other listeners from all over the world
The whole aim of the Billabong Radio Network was to attempt to bring people together from these rural broadcasting areas, and for and for these
communities to be able to have access and promote their individual town's tourism and businesses via these stations.
All the stations in the Billabong Radio Network are operated by dedicated volunteers, who receive no wages what so ever, and give their services freely for
the benefit of the community.
The money which is generated from advertising from local businesses help keep the stations on the air by so we can maintain the equipment and paying the
annual license and APRA fees.
Greg Symes is the operations manager and owner of the Billabong Radio Network overall which takes in Leitchville, Cohuna, Lockington, Kerang Kyabram,
Boort, Barham and Pyramid Hill stations.
Doug Hawken owns and heads up PCFM Quambatook station on 88MHz.Both Doug & Kevin Gladman operate out of Leitchville 88.0FM studio complex
We have Lori Hazelman from Tongala 88.00FM who runs her programs from there and in Kyabram (87.6 Fm), Chris Tyack, Norris Bell, Mike Peters and Kevin
Stone operate their programs also from the Kyabram studio.
For the past ten years we have teamed up with ZFM Country, which is the main country radio station along the Hume Freeway from Seymour to Newcastle
and takes in rough-fully 25 stations in their network. We also take the Peter James program every morning from Mon – Fri from 8am – 10am..
In 2018 our digital presence was increased, and we added 2 more streams to the Billabong Radio Network. OzCountry – playing all Australian Country, and
The Rock an Roll Reunion – playing hits from the 50s 60s, and 70s.
We know and understand the direction where radio in Australia is heading, and with new technology we not only serve our local communities like we did
for many years, but transmit to the world now with mobile apps.
THE POWER COUNTRY STORY