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A piece of history trades sea-waves for air-waves

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by S Lowe for 5THE FM’s online news wattlerangenow.com.au

5THE FM's outside broadcast studio on show at the Millicent Show for the first time.

5THE FM’s outside broadcast studio on show at the Millicent Show for the first time.

A piece of 5THE FM’s history thought to be on a permanent sea-change until recently, rose like phoenix from the ashes exchanging the crystal clear Rivoli Bay sea waves for the air waves of 5THE FM. Approximately 13 years ago 5THE FM owned a caravan intending to turn it into an Outside Broadcast Van. It took part in several local events including one of the hospital parades through George Street.It then took a sea-change to Rivoli Bay after being sold by a former manager 12 years ago. And that was the end of that it seemed; however it was not to be. Just a few weeks ago it resurfaced,  given to Garners Towing and Garage doomed for wrecking or perhaps smashing at the Millicent Show.

Jim Garner recalled the request from 5THE FM to find them a solid van that could be converted into an Outside Broadcast Van. He offered it to the radio station. 5THE FM accepted Jim’s donation of the van and work began on restoring it. Later that day,  Project Supervisor  Matthew Schultz made an amazing discovery. While sanding back the old paint work, he uncovered the former 5THE FM logo.

The van being restored for use by 5THE FM was the original van owned and sold by 5THE FM 12 years ago. Mr Garner had no idea when he decided to donate the van to the station,  he was returning a valuable piece of history to 107.7. This discovery turned what began as just another project into a labour of love, although not without some frustrations as any renovator would know. With just 4 weeks to complete the project work began in earnest with the occasional delay like the shell of the van dropping to the ground unexpectedly and the removal of the ceiling lining exposing a roof resembling a colander,  not much else could phase the team of committed renovators.


Community interest was captured by the return of this piece of 5THE FM’s history with Brian Foster – Fosters Foodland setting the ball rolling by ordering a set of mags for the van. Brian said he believes wheels make a vehicle and he could not let 5THE FM drive around with the current ones on it in the state they were in.

Dennis Muhovics – Lonergan and Muhovics installed the wiring. Andy Varcoe – Millicent Windows and Doors provided the large glass panel studio window, Telsigns provided the logo sign and the window decal, Millicent Banner Mitre 10 contributed to materials, Millicent Post Forming – the desk and then to complete a fabulous community project Dave Reilly – Dave Reilly’s Panel and Paint took the prepared van to his workshop and worked his magic with a professional paint job matching the all important paint colour to the brief provided. It was then safely locked away in Dave’s shed at the Car Wash to be completed with internal painting and fittings being carried out well into the night by a small dedicated crew.



Showtime arrived and the van was complete with a little time to spare. An extended version of Saturday morning Jukebox, the first from the new van, was hosted by 5THE FM’s Julianne and went well into the afternoon with special guests including Wattle Range Councillor Sharon Cox, David Marshman from the RFDS and 5THE FM’ers featuring on the program.

Ms Cox, a former Miss Tantanoola Show girl,  recalled her most memorable show experiences being the entries of her mothers scones and Aunty Elle’s roses. She has volunteered at the show each year from about the age of 11, beginning at the Tantanoola Show and migrating to the Millicent Show more recently she said.

David Marshman from the Adelaide Hills now volunteers with the Royal Flying Doctor Service; spent 10 years flying with the RFDS after a 30 year flying career formerly with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Mr Marshman said he only had one airborne birth in that time.  The RFDS provided 560 flights for regional patients last year sometimes with more than one patient at a time. Fund raising for a new Jet is now in earnest to provide faster travel and the ability to carry  additional patients on each flight. He stressed the necessity of the RFDS in regional areas.

Des Noll made a special visit to the 107.7 site to see the finished product saying. “It’s inspirational, it just shows that with the right people supervising these WFD Activities, they can be successful and this one has been very successful. It’s a credit to you all.”

Long time volunteer of 5THE FM Accountant John McLoughlin and his wife Doriana thought the finished product was nothing short of amazing having seen the state of the van just days earlier.



During the restoration process others lent a hand with Kym Warneke and Millicent Post Forming loaning staple guns and staples to complete the job on time, mates lent a hand with Daniel joining Matthew on the final Sunday to restore the roof. Ralph provided some materials, and Greg a days labour.  Beaurepaires provided  a jack and customised  hub covers. Stewie and Rosie Pounsett provided a lock and ordered a hatch cover.

Manager Sheryl Lowe said “It has been a very exciting and satisfying project with such community support it became a real community project. The team were committed and worked hard to complete the van and the result is outstanding The reception by the public at the show was excellent and we are all looking forward to being out in the community with the new mobile studio.”

” On behalf of 5THE FM we sincerely thank the sponsors for their generosity in making this project so successful and our new asset one to be proud of. We are  grateful to everyone who helped make a long held dream, a reality. Having an Outside Broadcast Van will give 5THE FM a greater presence in the community and give the community a greater involvement in the station”

5THE FM plan to use the van to broadcast from public venues between now and Christmas and will be available to broadcast from sporting and community events in the future.

One thought on “A piece of history trades sea-waves for air-waves

  1. Well done Millicent