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About - History

The history of Triple R has many tales intertwined throughout a great number of different presenters, listeners, volunteers and staff. We can't claim to provide a definitive history of Triple R but we can relay a bit of context to help explain the story so far...

Let's start at the beginning. Around the year 1900 an Italian man name Marconi invented radio. Then not much happened for a while. But on November 17, 1976 the first broadcast of a new radio station coming out of RMIT campus was transmitted across Melbourne's airwaves.

This station was then known as 3RMT and was part of the first wave of community radio broadcasting in Australia, a concept instigated by the Whitlam government. The station initially operated on a one-year ‘experimental' license that stipulated that the station broadcast "messages containing matter of an educational character".

Who says punk can't teach you a thing or two?

The first broadcast began with a message from the vice chancellor of RMIT, followed by 25 minutes of literature reviews. Eventually, the students of RMIT were allowed on air to broadcast some music. This first broadcast serves as a metaphor for how the station has developed over a larger stretch of time.

In August 1978 the station was granted a three-year ‘E' for educational class public broadcasting license. The station chose 3RRR for its new call sign to symbolise the three ‘Rs' in education and R for Rock. It could also be Rebellion, Revelry and Raucousness...

The first decade of Triple R was a tumultuous time. Several times the station came close to folding due to financial difficulties. License renewals were often difficult to obtain due to the arcane attitudes of the licensing board. But due to individual and collective ingenuity, passion and determination the station survived many close calls.

In the early days the station received a lot of flak for its creative interpretation of ‘educational' and for the strange punk and new wave sounds spreading their seeds across the city. Three decades later its well established that the cutting edge music and critical approach to contemporary culture at the heart of Triple R, have helped make Melbourne what it is today.

Over the years we have nurtured much of the cities most creative talent - both in front of and behind the mic. Many of our broadcasters have gone on to grace larger audiences at other media outlets, (Greg Pickhaver, Kate Langbroek, John Safran, Santo Cillauro... and many many more familiar names all started out at Triple R) and most of them come back every now and then to reminisce about the good ol' days.

Triple R is now a solid and much loved tower in the cultural landscape of Melbourne, as well as being the most well respected community broadcaster in the country, and the largest per capita listener supported broadcaster in the world.

In 2004, thanks to the generosity of our listeners and subscribers, the station managed to buy the premises it occupies in East Brunswick, complete with a state of the art Performance Space for special one-off gigs, forums and other subversive and artistic excitements.

We ain't going nowhere now.

For a much more detailed version of the Triple R story so far and the people behind the station, check out our "unoffical biography" the ‘Radio City: The first 30 years of 3RRR.' 

Triple R Radio City Book

Radio City, a book by Mark Philips

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