In a letter to Robert Hooke in February 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote:
‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’
This is an appropriate thought for us at Pulse 94.1. Everything has a beginning, and it is important to remember the persistence and long suffering work of those gone before us, as they provided the foundational platform which enables us to continue our work today.
Alan Sharpham attended a radio conference in Tasmania where he met Ann Schuurman (even though as it turned out they only lived about 2kms from each other at the time).
Just a year later we agreed to start Living Sound Broadcasters Ltd, which was initially named ‘Illawarra Christian Broadcasters’. This happened sometime mid-year, as it was immediately after the 1983 Australian Christian Broadcasters (now Christian Media Australia) Conference.
The first broadcast was in 1984. The station first went to air in November 1984 for a half an hour test broadcast allowed by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal.
We had a public meeting at St Mark’s Anglican Church West Wollongong in February 1984 to assess public support for the establishment of a Christian radio station and about 100 people attended. Prior to the meeting the name ‘Living Sound’ was originally suggested by Alan & Jeanette Sharpham and put to the small meeting of members.
A steering committee consisting of Ann Schuurman, Alan Sharpham, Gary Dronfield and Malcolm Cooper was formed and a constitution was presented to the public meeting for approval. It was overwhelmingly agreed by that public meeting to establish the radio station and the first test broadcast (consisting of 7 days) was planned. Following this meeting, Grant Hayman became involved and Peter Scheeringa showed interest in helping with the transmission side of broadcasting.
The first broadcast was held at the workshop of Peter Collier, staircase builder, in McGrath Street, Fairy Meadow (opposite KFC/Pizza Hut), at Peter’s invitation. A variety of Christians from various churches and localities around the Illawarra region volunteered their time.
These early broadcasts were conducted in rooms with makeshift sound proofing of egg cartons and heavy drapes on the windows. Music was played on Vinyl records that were loaned by various volunteers. Recordings of local church services were later played over the radio which may have had a different frequency to that of a previous approved on air session months earlier.
The second and third broadcasts were run from a vacant house in Vereker Street, Fairy Meadow owned by Mal Cooper’s family. The first broadcast from the Coniston United Church, Bridge Street, Coniston, our current location, was the fourth overall and was conducted from the Sunday School room as studios had not yet been constructed. The Coniston United Church has always been extremely supportive of, and considerate toward Pulse 94.1. Our current Studio A is named after one of members of the church who was a a driving force behind the establishment of the radio station, “The Keith Searle Memorial Studio”.
Ann Schuurman faithfully served on the Board for many years.
1985 – 1998
For the next 13 years Living Sound Broadcasters Ltd (now trading as Pulse 94.1), was allowed to test broadcast 23 times for limited periods of time. This made it extremely difficult for the station to maintain support among the community, who did not know when we would be on air next!
Intense soliciting among the Christian ‘community of interest” was required in order to demonstrate to the Federal Broadcasting Commission that there was an active community of interest demanding a radio service. This involved visiting the Anglican and Catholic Bishops plus most of the Protestant and some of the Catholic Clergy and requesting them to sign an agreement that they would “sponsor” an allocated segment of at least one hour per week. Approximately one hundred ‘agreements’ were obtained and consequently formed a vital part of the submission for a permanent broadcast license.
There was explicit reticence on the part of the Commissioner to grant Christians a broadcast license as he considered that the ABC and commercial radio adequately serviced the Christian community of interest. Part of the submission for a full time license required a demonstration of the inadequacy of secular radio to meet the needs of the Christian community.
Prayers were answered when the station was granted a temporary full time licence on Valentines Day, 1998. Living Sound Broadcasters were now operating on the 94.1 fm bandwidth.
In November 2000, a permanent full time licence was granted!
Two miracles occurred in the granting of this license. First the original coverage area was only Wollongong to Kiama. However a case was made to the Authority that the Catholic and Anglican Diocese included the Shoalhaven. So uniquely Living Sound Broadcasters was granted a license to broadcast into both the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. Second, and again uniquely the transmitter was located at Saddleback Mountain which is meant to be a communications site and not a radio site. This is perhaps the only site that can effectively send a prescribed weak signalk into both areas. Unbeknown to the Board of Living Sound at the time was that a small group of intercessors had been praying on that mountain regularly for some fifteen years before transmission commenced from this particular site.
Kiama Council which administered the site was impressed with the Christian values being expressed over the radio that they assisted in minimizing the rental on the grounds of Living Sound being a not for profit societal benefit.
In October 2003 we relaunched as ‘ninefourone fm‘ both signifying a new modern era and enabling the station to have a more visible presence in the community.
In October 2008 Josh Reid filled in for Shannon Moir as the breakfast show host for 3 weeks. In November 2008 Josh was appointed the General Manager of the station.
On Monday 5th March, 2012 Living Sound Broadcasters Ltd relaunched as ‘Pulse 94.1′.
After many years of both parties desiring this change, the ownership of the property which Pulse 94.1 sits on was successfully transfer to Living Sound Broadcasters Ltd (Pulse 94.1). This move was given the go ahead by all stakeholders, including blessings from the Uniting Church Property Trust, and The Congregational Union if Australia. This now enabled Pulse 94.1 to grow the ministry by leveraging the new asset.
2016 and beyond…
We are going strong thanks to your support! You make Pulse 94.1 possible – speaking life through word and song across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.