MORE than 60 people, including current and former board members, sponsors, staff and volunteers, attended Life FM Gippsland’s 20th Birthday Celebration at the Traralgon Golf Club last month.


Plenty of memories were shared, fun was had, and food was enjoyed as the Christian community radio station celebrated two decades of broadcasting.


After the president, Yvonne Coffey welcomed guests, singer/songwriter David Eime began the night’s entertainment with a beautiful acoustic sound. Guests then enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by Lisha’s Kitchen.


The station’s manager, David Braithwaite, interviewed Life FM founding Chief Executive, Deb Bye, who spoke about the vision to establish a Christian radio station in Gippsland and the challenges the team faced.


Ms Bye described the four years of hard work by volunteers, along with the support of churches from different denominations, which led to Life FM’s first broadcast on October 29, 2003. The efforts of all who contributed to the station were recognised at the 20th birthday celebrations.


After hearing birthday messages from Christian radio identities from across Australia and New Zealand, Mr Braithwaite interviewed a former production manager, Randell Green.


Mr Green spoke about the many highlights of his time at Life FM, which was more than a decade, including interviews with international artists and the production of content that gained national recognition.


Mr Green’s daughter Natalie, who performs as Ambrose, then wooed the crowd with her music.


Ambrose’s song Breathe Again spent 14 weeks on the Australian Christian music chart in 2021.


The Life FM membership and production co-ordinator, Emily Duncan, presented the vision of Life FM to take the station into the future, which includes new programs, engaging a new generation of volunteers, and reaching out to local churches and community groups.


Life FM prides itself on being part of the Gippsland community, and wants to work alongside local organisations to fulfil its overall vision to “deliver hope of a better life and future to every home in Gippsland”.


The producer and filmmaker, Danielle McAlpine-Johnson, then spoke about one of the exciting new programs that Life FM has in production, ‘Youth On Beat’, which is being produced “by youth, for youth”. The program aims to amplify voices from youth of all backgrounds, tackling social, cultural and political issues relevant to the community.


Ms McAlpine-Johnson’s husband and singer/songwriter, Chico Johnson, helped end the evening on a high note, with his music getting the room jumping.


Mr Braithwaite said the evening was a fitting way to celebrate 20 years of Life FM.


“It was encouraging to see so many people who have contributed to Life FM’s success. We had a great number of former staff members, volunteers, listeners and sponsors attend,” he said.


“There were many renewed connections, and many stories told, while the talented local musicians added to the fun of the night.


“It was wonderful to have Deb Bye attend. Without her vision and passion to see a Christian radio station in Gippsland, many people would have missed out on hearing positive music and powerful and encouraging messages.


“We wanted to honour those who came before us and did the hard work to get Life FM to air. They helped make the station what it is today, and our aim is to ensure their work continues.


“Here’s to another 20 years.”

Behind the mics: Life FM Station Manager, David Braithwaite, secretary Emily Duncan, president Yvonne Coffeey, Pastor Shelley Hermans and vice-president Dorothy Long at the 20th birthday celebration. Photographs supplied

Deserved: Founding Chief Executive Officer Deb Bye (centre) was presented with flowers recognising her role in establishing the radio station by Life FM President Yvonne Coffey (left) and station manager David Braithwaite.