Interview - Christina Alvarez

I/V: Christina Alvarez, General Manager, FBi 94.5FM - 13th November 2003

We speak to Christina about how FBi Radio was formed, what they are all about and how people can get involved in this Sydney based radio station.

Media Man Australia director / broadcaster, Greg Tingle has has a long and successful career working with both corporates and community based organisations.

FBi radio has found the right balance of quality, attracting sponsors and positive media coverage, and still maintaining the community spirit.

In Greg's estimation, the FBi business model should be adopted by main more community based organisations.

*big public thank you to all FBi folks who helped make this interview possible. A follow up article will be written and published on Media Man Australia, and sent to newsrooms and outlets around Australia, and indeed the world.

Listen to the interview

* volunteer required to transcribe article. contact


FBi 94.5 official website

Media Man Australia: Sponsorships

Media Man Australia: Multimedia

Media Man Australia: Radio & TV links

Media Man Australia interviews with notable Australian radio identities:

Doug Mulray - 18th June 2003

Tim Richie - 15th May 2003

Phillip Adams - 3rd April 2003

Debbie Kruger - 12th July 2003

Articles on FBi (articles published for search engine optimization and the benefit of FBi. No money has been exchanged between FBi and Media Man Australia)

August 29, 2003

Wireless operatives make FBi's Sydney most wanted list
By Sue Javes

Not many Sydney breakfast announcers would be pitching in to paint walls, screw desks together and fit ceiling panels in the last few days before airtime, but FBi's Jess Keeley takes it in her stride.

Besides she's running on too much nervous energy to sit around. The 23-year-old former ABC TV children's host and late night TripleJ broadcaster has landed the plum role of breakfast host on Sydney's newest FM radio station.

After nine years of trial broadcasts, government submissions and protracted legal battles that went all the way to the Supreme Court, Sydney's much-anticipated community station FBi 94.5 FM will officially start broadcasting at midday today from its studios in Alexandria.

Perhaps best described as Sydney's version of 3RRR in Melbourne, FBi is expected to be a shot in the arm to the local music and arts scene.

And it won't be one of those scratchy sounding stations you can only pick up from your car radio in certain parts of the city. FBi is operating on a high-powered signal as strong as the frequencies used by Sydney's major FM commercial stations.

Nova paid $155 million for such a licence. But the Australian Broadcasting Authority gave one to FBi for free - although it had to beat 16 other aspirants, including a determined Anthony Gerghetta from dance station WILD FM.

FBi is committed to playing 50 per cent Australian music content, with half of that from Sydney artists. Programmer Meagan Loader says when she searched for interesting local music to play, she discovered acts coming out of Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide, but few from Sydney.

She says the music industry hopes FBi will help change that by giving local musicians a platform which will create a demand for their CDs and live performances.

Radio executives invariably put a great deal of thought into the first song to be heard on a new radio station. In the 1970s, naughty Double J launched with the Skyhooks You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good in Bed which had been censored by commercial stations. Two years ago Nova chose Christine Anu's 'Coz I'm Free to sound different.

For today's launch, FBi has brought together a "super group" of local artists, including hard rock's Front End Loader, grunge pop singer Dave McCormack and dance electronica's Baggsmen, to perform a classic Australian rock song.


August 29, 2003

Wired for sound
They say Sydney's music scene needed a local radio station. It's got one now. FBi starts broadcasting today, reports Sacha Molitorisz.

If the local live scene has been languishing, one reason is that Sydney doesn't have a community station for youth-based music, arts and culture. 2SER does a great job, but there is no equivalent to 3RRR in Melbourne or 4ZZZ in Brisbane.

Fortunately, new Sydney radio station FBi aims to fill the void. The station, which goes to air today, hopes to deliver a blend of music, arts and culture to younger listeners. Half of the music will be Australian; half of that will be from Sydney.

"Sydney needs FBi, for sure," says Scott Blackley, guitarist with Newcastle's Muzzy Pep.

"Regarding FBi, I was beginning to wonder what had happened to it," says Luke Hanigan, singer-songwriter with Lo-Tel. "It's definitely a good thing for live music - it will give a lot of local unsigned artists the chance to raise their profiles.

"It's also interesting that Melbourne's live music scene hasn't really faltered quite the same way Sydney's has over the last few years. A lot of this can be directly attributed to 3RRR's support of local artists. I think FBi will work in much the same way."

Since its first test broadcast in 1995, FBi has been through Supreme Court battles and countless funding crises to get on air. In May 2001, it was awarded a 150 kW licence, the strongest ever granted to a community station. It equals Sydney's most powerful commercial licences.

"We're setting our own agenda," says FBi program director Meagan Loader. "And, hopefully, we'll reinvigorate the live scene. In Melbourne there's 3RRR and PBS, and you go out at night and there's three or four big bands on. But now, if there are two gigs on in Sydney, one's gonna be packed, one's gonna be empty."

FBi general manager Christina Alvarez is confident FBi will have a positive effect.

"If the radio is playing a band and there's promotion at the venue then there's a connection between hearing something for free and then deciding to put your money into it," she says. "There's not a lot of radio in Sydney where you can sample for free before you commit to seeing it."

"Sydney's music community can only flourish with FBi on the airwaves," wrote Wally Kempton, bass player for Melbourne band Even, on the internet recently. "Finally, an outlet for local acts to get airtime. This will cause a flow-on effect of people buying music, more punters at gigs and, hopefully, more live venues for us all to play in."

Blackley says: "Live music in Sydney has been through a weird period. I think there is a little bit of sense in Sydney of a resurgence with a few new venues, and the doof-club thing tapering off a bit. There are definite cycles.

"People will get sick of machines after a while and come back to getting a bit of spit on their face at a live show."

C'mon, Scott, you don't spit on your audience, do you?

"No, but when you're belting your lungs out, you can't help it."