On April 1, 1977, a switch was flicked and so was born a radio station – Perth’s first ever FM radio station, no less. It was called 6UWA and broadcast from studios on the grounds of the University of Western Australia. However, shortly afterwards, Murdoch University also got involved in the funding of the station and it changed its name to 6UVS.
Sadly, in late November 1990 a decision was made by the UWA Senate to close the station and the transmitter was turned off that same night. 6UVS remained off air for six months while negotiations took place between the University, the 6UVS volunteers and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (now the Australian Communications and Media Authority).
The ABA held a public hearing in Perth, which was the point at which it was legally determined that Universities Radio Ltd
(a joint company of UWA and Murdoch) could become Arts Radio Ltd with the call sign RTRFM.
Murdoch continued to be involved with the station, primarily through the Murdoch Magazine program, which was later to become the unfunded Morning Magazine.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the name RTRFM is a play on “aRTy Radio”, and signifies the station’s strong focus on local arts, music and culture.
The involvement of committed volunteers passionate about alternative music and viewpoints has seen RTRFM go on from funding troubles to become one of Perth’s most diverse and forward-thinking broadcasters. It is home to over 50 different programs, with a strong focus on the arts, local musicians, community issues and politics, and specialist music genres.
The next big change for the station came in January 2005 when RTRFM relocated from its previous home on the second floor of the Sanders Building at UWA to its current premises in the heart of the thriving Mount Lawley strip, on the first floor of 642 Beaufort Street, to be exact.
This is where we continue to broadcast from. Over the years the station has diversified and changed, from being a little known radio station to one of Australia’s most respected and popular community radio stations. Alongside other metro alternative stations, Sydney’s FBI Radio, Melbourne’s Triple R and PBS and Brisbane’s 4ZZZ, RTRFM is proud to promote and broadcast a wide range of music giving independent audiences an outlet from homogenized and increasingly distant commercial stations.
In 2008, RTRFM received a grant from Lotterywest to upgrade all three studios. RTRFM now boasts one of the finest studio set ups of any radio station in Australia.
RTRFM was one of the first stations in Australia both commercial and community to offer re-stream options for past programs and we are proud of our live streaming capabilities. And now we have a new website, a place where we hope to build upon, further spreading the word of local, original music, arts and talks. RTRFM’s local music hub is designed to promote Western Australian music on a national and international level, helping local bands take their rightful place in the world of music.
Who knows what RTRFM will become in the future but we hope you can come with us on the journey.