First Gay Radio in the World

Melbourne had the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world. Starting with a 90 day test licence in 1993, Joy Radio was one of only four community stations to receive a full licence in 2001.

The station now has a wide gay and non-gay listenership in Melbourne.

 

For a gay and lesbian organization that has grown to have the second largest membership in Australia, and a radio station with a current estimated 100,000 listeners during the week, JOY Melbourne had an inauspicious start. "Can I have a cup of coffee and then we'll get going?" were the first words (accidentally) spoken on air on the new station by presented John Oliver, when it first went to air on World AIDS Day, the 1st December 1993.


Broadcasting for a 90-day test licence for the first time, the station was a dream of a group of individuals who had wanted to have an outlet that would be a voice for gay and lesbian people.
"So they would have a voice, they would be able to get on air and talk about their thoughts and feelings. And also for people who were home ill with HIV who couldn't get out could tune in and hear what was going on," Oliver said about his vision. "We had everything else. Why couldn't we have something like this?". The original idea had come to him after a two hour long AIDS special he had planned to commemorate World AIDS Day had been rejected the previous year by a community radio station (they later reneged and aired the special - but by then the idea for gays to have their own station had been born). The new station immediately impacted on the community, with Oliver telling of a young AIDS-stricken man who rang to say he was happy to have heard the first broadcast. He was dead two weeks later.