Station News

    2020/ 2021 Annual General Meeting

    27 November 2021

    2020/ 2021 CHAIRMAN‘S REPORT

    The 2019/ 2020 Annual General Meeting was as we reported unable to be held due to Covid restrictions. A report and financial for that period we sent to members.

    Over the past two years your 99.9 Voice FM has been faced with the challenge of adapting and changing the way we work and survive as a community radio station.

    Your Board has had to make some difficult decisions over the past 18 months, including the closure of the station’s studios intermittently from March 2020 and moving to an automated format. This meant that our committed and talented volunteers had to take a step away from the station to comply with federal, state and local restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We take this opportunity to thank all of our committed and loyal volunteers for their support, compassion and understanding over these challenging months.

    We also thank our landlord, Ballarat Group Training (BGT), for its support, as we do Widgery and Wilson, the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF), the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) the state and federal governments, our donors as well as an important thank you to our volunteers who have donated to our cause.

    Throughout this period your Board has kept everyone updated as to the challenges we have faced over the past 18 months. And there are challenges ahead if we don’t make changes to our programming and our operations. We have a plan to reinvigorate our station particularly our programming with new programs relevant to and about our community and new presenters.

    A ‘Fresh Voice’ is 2022

    Our plan is to create a ‘fresh’ 99.9 Voice FM in 2022.

    Changing the way we operate and boosting our programming with new innovative and relevant programs is essential for the station to grow our listeners and hence attract sponsorship, which will creating financial stability for your Voice FM. At an absolute minimum, we need to raise $2500 per month to operate, ideally we are planning for $4000 per month so as to create a fund for capital requirements and equipment replacements.

    Your Board knows it now must focus on the strategic direction of the organisation, more particularly on a five-year realistic plan – a ‘feet-on-the-ground’ approach that focuses on business development, new relevant programming, sponsorship and fundraising. We have created an operations group led by Neil Steinman that will oversee the day-to-day operations of the station.

    In 2020 we introduced a new hourly news service – news from across the state, nationally and internationally. In 2021 we introduced the SEN Sports Program weeknights at 6pm and Saturday mornings from 11am, we also have an AFL match of the day and this summer the big bash cricket coverage. There will also be programs focused on lifestyle, health and wellbeing to name a few.

    New Opportunities

    We know there is a wealth of expertise within our volunteer team – we just need you to come forward so as to assist with our operations. Can you provide four hours a week to assist across our operations?

    We are seeking young and older, motivated and engaged individuals to support Voice FM into its next stage of recovery, growth and opportunity. We are looking for volunteers to assist in the following positions:

    • Sponsorship coordinator
    • Office / reception coordinators - assist at reception as meet and greet, answer phones, and assist with some administrative duties
    • Production assistants
    • Panel operators – training provided
    • Marketing coordinator
    • Marketing / social media support
    • And presenters

    Are you interested in being a ‘voice’ for the station – reading promos, sponsor announcements and greetings?

    Change will be a feature for Voice in 2022. Those changes will only be made in the very best interests of our station and growing our listeners

    If you are interested in any of these areas of our operations, please email the Board at boardThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    If Covid wasn’t enough more recently 99.9 Voice FM experienced serious technical breakdowns due to the storms, which required the station to go on to automation, and then with further equipment failure we were off air until this morning.

    We have also experienced IT failures that require major replacement of our IT system. We have no computers operating, no internet, no phones and no CCTV. We are doing everything possible to keep the station on air.

    Being a community broadcaster and a not-for-profit organisation, this predicament is close to catastrophic for our fledgling organisation – not to mention the effect the Covid lockdowns and restrictions that seriously affected our broadcasting ability. All these are not of our making! Now the replacement of our IT system over the next 60 days will require the station to be off air intermittently.

    We are reliably advised that it won’t be possible without a complete replacement of our IT system, estimated to cost a minimum of $25,000. We have a grant application lodged for funding.

    The Team at Voice FM just wants to get back to doing what we do best – being our community’s radio station. Again, we need sponsorship and donations so as to be able to introduce these programs.

    Reopening of our studios

    During October we reopened our studios in a COVID-safe manner, anyone entering the station and Barkly Square must be fully vaccinated. Logging in via the QR code or signing in to the Covid Register is also essential. Please remember that social distancing and the wearing of masks are essential.

    Special thanks

    Cait Larcombe resigned from her position on the Board relocating to Melbourne for further study at Melbourne University. Cait has been an essential member of our station and we extend our thanks to her for her service to Voice and wish her well with her future endeavours.

    We also in part farewell our lawyer James Remington and accountant Matt Callahan. Fortunately both James and Matt have agreed to become consultants to our 99.9 Voice FM

    I also wish to thank our talented Board members; Justin Thompson, Dylan Billington, Wes McKnight, Samantha McIntosh, Matt Hustwaite and Mark Scott, along with Lynne Greene the Board’s Executive Officer and Administration Coordinator, for providing their expertise and considered direction for the organisation, particularly during these most difficult of times.

    Last but certainly not least, we are again delighted to report that a replay of the 2021 Ballarat’s Carols by Candlelight will be broadcast from 8am Christmas morning.

    As we said earlier, getting back on air and changing the way we operate and boosting our programming with new innovative and relevant programs is essential for the station to grow its listener audience, which will then encourage sponsorship and create financial stability for 99.9 Voice FM. That’s the PLAN.

    Following the latest incident affecting our ability to broadcast combined with the previous issues and, of course, Covid, the Board is leading the renewal of our operations. The replacement of our IT System and other equipment that has been affected is scheduled and, importantly, the revitalisation of our programming requires continuity of direction and implementation.

    Voice FM cannot afford any further changes as we implement these essential changes. We simply need to maintain the status quo so as to ensure we get Voice back on track.

    At the November Annual General Meeting the former Board was retained except for Dylan Billington who did not seek reelection. There was only one other nomination and that was Garry West who was duly elected.

    At it’s December meeting your Board elected the following to Board positions:

    Board of Directors 2021 / 2022

    Ron Egeberg            Chairman and Secretary

    Justin Thompson    Deputy Chairman

    Wes McKnight

    Samantha McIntosh

    Wes McKnight

    Matt Hustwaite      Treasurer

    Mark Scott

    Garry West               Board representative on the Operations Group.

    As you know we broadcast in Ballarat and across the region, which is bordered by Talbot, Greendale, Ballan, Meredith, Linton and Beaufort, the communities that you live and work in and are both the audience and the makers of community radio. The station itself is a mini-community made up of representatives from these regional and rural communities.

    Community radio strives to not only represent but to also provide opportunities to create awareness within that community – to question and encourage debate and promote healthy attitudes,

    Because the people who volunteer at the station live locally, they are deeply connected to their community.  Collectively, they represent many different social networks. And this is generally reflected in their programs.  So the content is aimed at our diverse audience, not just ratings. 

    On behalf of the Board, we also wish you all a very happy Christmas and a safe holiday period and look forward to a new year of opportunity for our Voice FM in 2022.

    For and on behalf of your Board

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