/// Est. 2005 /// RIP 2012 /// Faux Pas is Tim Shiel, an electronic music maker from Melbourne ///

3rrr radiothon – keep local radio alive

Published on August 19, 2009

my radio station needs your help! please consider pledging your support, and help to keep melbourne’s strongest independent voice alive! read on if you need some more convincing… or subscribe now online!

a kindred spirit to new york’s wfmu, melbourne’s 102.7 3rrr fm is one of the strongest independent voices in the australian media. unlike 99% of radio stations, triple r has a strict “no playlisting” music policy, is run almost entirely by volunteers, and draws in an incredibly diverse array of broadcasters with the freshest of ideas & sounds.

any of you boffins trying to puzzle out the new music economy / freeconomy / whatever, might want to take a look at how rrr operates. rrr radio is free. its free on the airwaves in melbourne, and its free on the internet stream. but rrr is a non-profit organisation that does not take government funding. and the only sponsorship it takes is from community groups, bands & like-minded independent organisations. it relies on listener subscriptions to cover over 50% of its operational costs. each year, approximately 10,000 people – most of them from melbourne, but many from interstate and overseas – pitch in with an annual pledge, and it is that and only that which allows the station to continue to follow its bold, fiercely independent course.

just think on that for a moment – this time each year, about 10,000 people come together to pay for something that they can get for free. for some its $30, for some particularly passionate benefactors its much much more. but it all adds up, and it keeps the station running for another 12 months. at which time, radiothon starts again, and listeners are asked to pitch in again.

its a remarkable, truly stunning thing, when you think about it. and there’s something in the way the station operates, its ‘operational model’ or whatever, that surely holds some lessons for musicians & record labels not sure what the right way is to sustain their own music-making operations. people will contribute money willingly to support honest, independent & creative communities. hmmm.

anyway. i started out as a listener to rrr, and have them to thank for most of my early formative listening experiences. it was the ghost that introduced me to neu & harmonia, it was steve phillips who showed me outhud and four tet, later on it was woody that was heralding diplo & bmore, and it was declan kelly memorialising dilla and canonising the beat generation. it really says something that in the internet era, when everything is at your fingertips, automated personalised niche playlists – it is often still rrr where i hear the unexpected unknown stuff that i come to truly love. to listen to a rrr show, presented by a volunteer driven by a pure love of music, is to be taken on a unique immediate journey by a real person with a real context. this is, quote unquote, ‘the magic of radio.’

anyway. my journey with rrr. after listening for years, i sent them burnt copies of my very first CD, and they actually played it, which i found staggering. then i sent them copies of my first album, and – despite the fact that i had no retail distribution, no record label, and was only 6 months old as a ‘band’ – they made it album of the week. i felt like i’d won the lottery. nothing beats the time i giddily took that phone call from woody & fee b squared, standing in the middle of sportsgirl in ringwood. except perhaps, the phone call a couple of years later when rrr asked dave and i to join the family and become broadcasters. that call, incidentally, was while i was a on a v-line train to bairnsdale. those 2 phone calls are up there with the most goosebump-y moments in my life, believe it or not.

so. there are few things i’m prouder of than the fact that i am a rrr broadcaster. one of those things, is the fact that i am a rrr subscriber. subscribe, and you’ll feel it too.

please consider subscribing to the station to keep 3rrr – and melbourne’s dynamic, independent music scene – alive for another year.

shit yeah!

subscribe now on or online at www.rrr.org.au

update: still not convinced? here’s austereo/MMM alumni (and regular 3RRR guest) tony martin, recorded live on monday night teaching rrr’s lime champions how to “do radio.”