Eric Allen is using his love and knowledge of music to give back to his local community.
After becoming fed up with the lack of radio programmes for seniors, the 83-year-old Pt Chevalier resident decided to start his own station, Reef Radio, in 2006.
He now runs the station out of a small home studio 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 106.7FM.
He doesn’t make any money, but doesn’t mind a bit.
“It’s good fun and it doesn’t involve much time.”
The 25,000 titles on the station’s playlist are largely from his own record collection which he started “a fair few years ago”.
It includes everything from the 1930s to the early 1970s.
“There’s a bit of everything in there,” he says, including his first love, jazz.
Not just a listener but a musician himself, Mr Allen played drums in his band Lotsa Jazz until October last year.
The idea for the radio station came when the music lover got sick of only hearing commercial radio full of ads aimed at much younger people.
“There was nothing for our age group at all.”
Now the station has been running for almost two years and he has had a lot of positive feedback from listeners within the 5km radius who receive the channel.
“They’re rapt because they don’t have to listen to ads,” he says.
Neighbour and friend Cyril Bell has lived in Pt Chevalier for more than 50 years and says Reef Radio is a great addition to the community.
He and his wife listen every day and he says it is very popular with pensioners.
“There are no commercials which is the big thing for me,” says Mr Bell.
“We really enjoy it, Eric does a great job.”
Beach Haven resident Jacqueline Fisk used to receive the station from across the harbour but says the reception is no longer clear enough.
She says she was so excited when she first discovered Mr Allen’s station that she played it on every radio in the house, including the bathroom.
“It’s good because it’s got such a variety of music that doesn’t repeat.
“There are really no stations for the over-60s.”
© Central Leader 24/06/2008.
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