Commencing in 1993 with the original purpose of bringing together a devastated and isolated gay community facing the AIDS crisis, JOY is now a multimedia organisation representing the diverse LGBTIQA+ rainbow.

To hear the story of JOY’s first 30 years, complete with interviews and archival audio, check out the In The Beginning podcast.

Key Moments In Our History

    • 1980’s — Amidst the AIDS crisis, founder John Oliver noted there were a lot of gay men laying alone in isolation at Fairfield Infectious Disease Hospital and the Alfred Hospital, cut off from friends, lovers, family, and community, and that it might be beneficial to make contact with them in their isolation through a private, safe and intimate medium: a radio station.
    • 1992 – John presents a gay program on World AIDS Day on an existing community radio station, with mixed success – confirming John’s ambition for a separate licence. 
    • 1993, Feb 8 – With confidence, founder John Oliver applies to the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) for broadcast licences for a new radio station, JOY, to commence on Wednesday 1 Dec 1993 — World AIDS Day — and continue for the following two weekends. Over the next 9 months, without any certainty of being granted a broadcast licence, John’s team registers the business identity of JOY, creates a bank account, assesses the appropriate rules of association and membership, obtains donations of cash and equipment, and negotiates rental of office/studio space in Coventry Street South Melbourne (above Home Hardware). 
    • 1993 – JOY is incorporated on 28 June and named ‘JOY Melbourne Independent Community Broadcasters Association Incorporated’.  
    • 1993 – In November 1993, ABA grants licences for 5 days of broadcasting – the 1 DEC deadline activates the team. Technology is assembled, with final testing occurring in the early hours of Wednesday 1 DEC 1993. A snippet of Jimmy Barnes‘ “Working Class Man” plays. 
    • A few minutes before 6:30am on 1 December – World AIDS Day – John Oliver could be heard saying “Can I have a cup of coffee and then we’ll get going?”. JOY officially begins broadcasting on 90.7 FM as JOY Melbourne at 6:30am. The first music track to be played on-air is Kylie Minogue’s cover of Kool & The Gang’s Celebration. JOY arrives, and we celebrate too. 
    • 1994 – After the successful 5 days of broadcasting, additional test licences are sought, which results in JOY broadcasting every weekend at least, for the rest of the year 1994. 
    • 1994 - The Tasty nightclub raid sees more than 450 mainly-LGBTIQA+ clientele detained and strip-searched over seven hours, generating a large political controversy. JOY protests on air, and provides a safe space for our community to explore legal options. Later, a class action was run by Gary Singer, who was at the club on the night of the raid.
    • 1995 – JOY delivers the first broadcast of Midsumma carnival.  
    • 1996 – JOY broadcasts for 24 hours a day for 3 full weeks to promote the Commercial Rd Diversity Street Party. 
    • 1997 – JOY relocates its transmitter to the top of Melbourne Central for better dispersion of our broadcast signal. 
    • 1998 -JOY adopts a new Mission Statement, and appoints it first full-time Station Manager, Paul Terdich.  
    • 1999 – JOY consolidates its organisational structures and broadcasting expertise; JOY shares its frequency with other aspirant broadcasters. 
    • 2000 – In November, JOY submits an application to Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) for a full-time broadcast licence, following 8 years as an aspirant broadcaster. 
    • 2001 – JOY ceases broadcasting in August and waits in silence for the results of ABA deliberations. There are 19 applicants for 4 licences. 
    • 2001 – On 19 December 2001, advice is received from the ABA that JOY has been granted a Melbourne-Metro Licence to broadcast on 94.9 FM. 
    • 2002 – JOY commences full-time broadcasting on 94.9 FM on 12 January 2002 just 5 weeks later, with the station identity JOY 94.9. 
    • 2003 – JOY obtains tax deductibility status as a registered charity. Annual fund-raising Radiothons begin. 
    • 2004 –  JOY becomes the largest gay and lesbian member organisation in Australia.   
    • 2005 –  JOY broadcasts for the first time from Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.  
    • 2006 – Relocation plans commences in search for larger premises. 
    • 2007 – Interest expressed in City Village location, on offer from Melbourne City Council. Station Manager Paul Terdich finishes up after almost ten years, and Stephen Hahn (ex RRR) is appointed as Station Manager. 
    • 2008 – JOY receives support from both State Government Community Support Fund and the Melbourne City Council to relocate to Melbourne City Village, Bourke Street, Melbourne. 
    • 2009 – JOY launches QNN Q-mmunity Network News which broadcasts JOY to the national Community Radio Network of 160 stations. Stephen Hahn resigns as Station Manager, and Danae Gibson becomes the first woman to become Station Manager. 
    • 2010 – JOY suddenly loses one of our most vital and authorative voices with the passing of Addam Stobbs – teacher, trainer, presenter and Board Member. 
    • 2011 – JOY presents a special broadcast on International Day Against Homophobia. 
    • 2012 JOY launches the JOY iPhone App. 
    • 2013 – JOY supports the first Gay Pride Aussie Rules football match. 
    • 2014 – JOY embarks on the most complicated broadcast of our history from World AIDS 2014 six-day conference, leading to podcasts trending on iTunes, as JOY broadcasts to the world. 
    • 2015 Chicks Talking Footy broadcasts the first AFL Pride Match from Docklands Stadium. 
    • 2016 – JOY broadcasts the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade from the same broadcast position as SBS; while listeners could hear JOY’s commentary live, they had to wait 24 hours for SBS to broadcast an edited version on television. JOY adopts new corporate branding, retiring the male/female symbol logo.  
    • 2017 – JOY advocates heavily for the Same-SexMarriage Bill. Upon the announcement of the postal survey’s success, JOY celebrates with a series of live crosses around the country.  
    • 2018 – JOY 94.9 celebrates 25 years on-air; JOY commences a trial of digital broadcasting.  
    • 2019 – JOY appoints new CEO Ange Barry. JOY receives the key for our new home at the Victorian Pride Centre. The move to the Pride Centre is expected in early 2020. 
    • 2020 – In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forces much of JOY’s programming to temporarily move to remote broadcasting, with presenters broadcasting from their bedrooms, home offices, and cupboards around the country. In April 2020, JOY launches JOY Breakfast as a daily program hosted by Anna and Dean Murphy, followed by the launch of JOY Drive in June, hosted by Dee Mason and Warren Andrew. Both programs are funded by patrons Geoffrey Smith and Gary Singer — the same Gary Singer who led the class action lawsuit following the Tasty raid in 1994. 
    • 2021 – JOY makes the transition to the Victorian Pride Centre where it operates amongst many other amazing LGBTIQA+ organisations whose work, along with JOY, acting as key touch points and supports for the LGBTIQA+ community. As COVID-19 lockdowns continue, JOY remains broadcasting remotely from home studios and with modern technical automation. JOY delivers the #FabJab campaign and becomes a COVID Vax Ambassador.  
    • 2022 – JOY officially rebrands from JOY 94.9 to JOY Media, and launches content and service offerings under three distinct sub brands – JOY 94.9, JOY Academy and JOY Gigs. 
    • 2023JOY continues successfully producing and delivering LGBTIQA+ news and current affairs, talks and music content predominantly by our volunteer teams, and has huge support for our podcasts. JOY receives awards for broadcasting excellence, and for technical excellence and innovation. JOY’s Community Broadcast Licence is secured for a further 5 years. 


Key facts about JOY

  • 1st Broadcast (5 day test licence) on 90.7 FM: 1st December 1993… it was World AIDS Day!
  • 1st on-air presenter: John Oliver
  • 1st official track played: Celebration by Kylie Minogue
  • 1st outside live-cross event: Midsumma 1995
  • 1st outside broadcast: Diversity 1996
  • Last test broadcast as aspirant broadcaster on 90.7 FM28th August 2001
  • Full licence granted: 19th December 2001
  • 1st full time broadcast (24/7) on 94.9 FM: 12th January 2002
  • Transmitter first location 1993:  268A Coventry St South Melbourne (the original aerial is still on the roof!)
  • Transmitter current location 1996: Melbourne Central


Some fun snippets from our past: 


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