Community Broadcasters
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Free FM (formerly Community Radio Hamilton) was formed in December 1991 by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of volunteer broadcasters, with financial assistance from New Zealand on Air and grants and sponsorships from a number of community groups.

The station began broadcasting on the 7th of December 1991 from a small studio located in Collingwood Street, Hamilton. At that stage the station broadcast for only a few hours per day, with a limited range of shows.

In 1993 the station relocated to the current larger premises in upper Collingwood Street, allowing for increased office and production space.

In 2000 the station received several grants from a range of agencies allowing the building of a second studio – used for occasional live broadcasting, but more importantly allowing for effective training and production work.

On the 21st of December 2001 the Prime minister, Helen Clark attended a function to open the studio, and to help celebrate the station’s 10th anniversary.

In 2003 Community Radio Hamilton underwent significant change with the adoption of a new Strategic Plan, which introduced new management roles, and subsequently a new focus on delivering a more diverse range of programmes and greater community involvement.

In February 2005 the station launched a low-power FM signal (106.7), giving our listeners greater choice and making Community Radio Hamilton a viable listening choice for a generation of listeners for whom AM radio is a relic of the past.

The FM launch coincided with the launch of a new corporate ‘brand’.

Late 2006 saw the first phase of our Internet Broadcasting Strategy, the launch of our live stream, thanks to assistance from the Digital Strategy Community Partnership fund. This was supplemented with the launch of on-demand downloads and Podcasts in July 2007, making our programming available to a global audience.

In March 2008 we launched our Free Speech in any Language campaign, raising awareness of the important place Access Radio holds in allowing our communities to speak openly and freely. The high point of the campaign was an Open Day on 5 April.

The success of Community Radio Hamilton today is a testament to the vision and dedication of many people who have held paid positions, volunteered their time as Trustees, and most importantly given their time as volunteer broadcasters over the years.

On August 1st 2012, the station made the transition from AM to full power FM and launched under a new name, Free FM.