Community radio was established in Australia with the support of the Whitlam and Fraser federal governments in the mid-1970s. In Melbourne, 3CR was set up by a federation of more than 60 groups and began broadcasting in 1976. The radio station was first located in a warehouse in Armadale, moved to Cromwell Street Collingwood in 1977 and finally found a permanent home at 21 Smith Street, Fitzroy in 1983. This part of Smith Street is known for its architectural and social significance as a Victorian and Edwardian-era commercial strip. Adding to this established significance is the meaning of 3CR for queer communities, which lies in its intention to encourage different voices, including those of minority communities, onto the airwaves.
Almost immediately, 3CR began broadcasting a weekly program aimed at gay and lesbian communities. The original half-hour weekly show (Gay Liberation Radio, later the Gay and Lesbian Show), has been expanded over the years by programs such as In Ya Face, which has been on-air since 1992 and is one of the longest running queer radio shows in Australia. The program Out of the Pan is one of the few platforms where pansexual issues (including bisexuality, transgender issues and polyamory) are discussed regularly and at length. Dikes on Mics and HIV Plus (formerly Positively Primed) are other former shows that have made important contributions.
The expansion of 3CR’s offerings speaks to the expansion of LGBTIQ+ communities over the past four decades. At various points in its history, the radio station has also provided meeting rooms for community groups such as Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination.
3CR’s programs have always been, and continue to be, delivered mostly by volunteers whose strong links with their own communities bring issues, debates, news, music and entertainment to listeners.
The survival of 3CR and its queer programs ensure that it remains a leader of social change. The station is important, too, because its programs reach well beyond queer communities, helping to bring queer news and issues to a wider audience.
Included in the Heritage Overlay of the Yarra Planning Scheme (HO464 Smith Street South Precinct, Fitzroy and Collingwood)
‘About 3CR: Station History’, 3CR Community Radio, https://www.3cr.org.au, accessed 27 August 2020.
‘In Ya Face’, 3CR Community Radio, https://www.3cr.org.au/inyaface, accessed 27 August 2020.
‘Smith Street Precinct’, Victorian Heritage Database, https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/73449, accessed 27 August 2020.