Ethnic Radio in Brisbane has come a long way. From its humble beginnings above a Greek Bakery in Brisbane’s West End, Radio 4EB has made its mark as one of the more successful ethnic radio stations and community broadcasters in Australia.
But 4EB’s story starts well before its days in Brisbane’s West End. The First test broadcast of the Ethnic Broadcasting Association of Queensland (EBAQ), formed by a group of Brisbane residents interested in creating an ethnic radio station, took place from the top floor of the Ridge Motel, Spring Hill in 1977.
40 Years in Brisbane 1979 – 2019
In August 1978, the EBAQ applied for an “S” class public broadcasting license. The license was granted, and on 1 December 1979, Radio 4EB commenced broadcasting above the now legendary bakery.
The studio, if it could be called that, was hardly bigger than a domestic pantry, but the members of 4EB were proud of it! At this stage, there were around 20 language groups involved and approximately 800 members. Broadcasting took place after 4 pm and before 11 am, the rest of the time was spent training panel operators to keep up with the demand for on-air programming.
Emmy Stephan was a volunteer with 4EB for 27 years who also did the “Dutch” program and was well known for her “Hello! Beautiful Brisbane” call sign. She organised the R.A.T.S. “Mum” (Radio Active Teenage Show), which included people such as Anthony Frangi, Scott Maimen and Damian Currie who have gone on to Careers in Radio and Television.
A New Home at Kangaroo Point
By 1981, 4EB moved to new larger premises in Montague Road, West End, and commenced full-time broadcasting, 24 hours a day. But 4EB’s sights were set on bigger and more permanent things, and in 1984 fundraising began in earnest to raise enough money for the station to buy its own building. At the same time, the frequency was changed from 1485am to 1053am and the power was increased from 107 watts to 500 watts, ensuring the sound of 4EB truly serviced the ethnic communities of greater Brisbane.
In 1988, a new beginning for 4EB began when a purpose-built heritage style building was completed at 140 Main Street in Kangaroo Point and the station finally had secured a permanent home and its future.
Reflecting Brisbane’s Multicultural Communities
Today, 4EB has over 4500 members and facilitates over 50 language groups from around the world, providing volunteer broadcasters with state of the art technology to broadcast information, entertainment and education our to listeners, both to their community members and to the wider community who may be interested in the richness of our multicultural society.
To many listeners, 4EB was the only source of information for new arrivals to Brisbane, it is the primary source of local community information and settlement advice.
On 1 December 2001 at 12.01 pm Radio 4EB commenced broadcasting in stereo at 98.1FM. The progress at 4EB has taken place with a large amount of hard work and dedication by staff, board members and volunteers and funding.
As 4EB FM has grown, so too has the listenership: 4EB FM is the only full time local ethnic broadcaster based in Brisbane, Queensland. Over 300,000 people living in Brisbane were born overseas Queensland’s population is continually increasing as more people migrate to the region 4EB FM offers programs that many people from English speaking backgrounds prefer as an alternative to commercial radio.
As well as these language groups, 4EB broadcasts a variety of entertainment and information programs including Brisbane Spectrum, news from the Queensland University of Technology, Women’s Profile and more.
4EB Moves to FM
4EB FM 98.1 was previously known as Radio 4EB 1053am and then changed to 4EB FM 98.1 on the Fine Music Band. Broadcasting from AM to FM On 1 December 2001 at 12.01 am, 4EB 98.1 commenced broadcasting in the FM band. After many years of planning, 4EB’s move to the FM band was well within sight. The ABA (Australian Broadcasting Authority) released their final LAP (Licence Area Plan) for Brisbane which recommended a change in frequency for 4EB from 1053kHZ AM to 98.1Mhz FM.
The official process of submitting a form for a change of “technical operating conditions” was completed and the ABA forwarded the much-coveted FM licence within a few weeks. At the time, we had to buy 2 new transmitters – one main and one standby, negotiate a place on Mt Coot-ha and organise a way of getting our signal there. This was a long process of careful planning, followed by a long process of implementation. We have listeners from as far away as Gympie in the North, over the border in New South Wales and west to Toowoomba.
4EB Launches New Digital Radio Station – GLOBAL
On 14 May 2011, Radio 4EB launched its digital radio channel, GLOBAL which focuses on world and traditional music and also new releases in a variety of languages, as well as informative multilingual and English programs.