A Brief History of Vision Radio Network
Vision Radio Network is a Christian media ministry of United Christian Broadcasters Australia Ltd (UCB). Vision is one important part of UCB's media and resource ministries aimed at building communities of mature Christians across Australia.
We want to connect faith to life for all so our dream is Christian Media for EVERY Australian.
Over the years, we've been able to acquire hundreds of high and low powered open narrowcast licenses to set up up a national network of relay stations reaching listeners everywhere from our largest cities through to regional centres to tiny isolated towns in the bush. Many places have benefited from our cost effective approach of using low-powered FM transmitters. Although typically only one to ten watts, they usually give quite adequate residential coverage in small towns, depending on the antenna height above local terrain. The setup cost is very achievable for most communities and the ongoing cost in minimal due to low maintenance equipment with low power consumption - we even use solar power in remote areas.
Vision's story began in 1999, broadcasting from humble studios in Springwood, Brisbane on the 1st February that year. Two-and-a-half years later we moved into larger premises in nearby Underwood to enable us to better provide 24/7 broadcast coverage to a growing number of relay stations across the nation, plus listeners on the internet as well as direct-from-satellite.
In the twelve months following March 2001 a rapid expansion began, seeing the number of relay stations triple to around 90. Also in April 2001, UCB Australia took the bold step of introducing Australia's first nationwide Christian worldview news service - UCB News - which is heard on Vision as well as around 20 other stations.
During 2003 UCB had opportunity to secure its first high powered open narrowcast licences, which were soon put on air.
The network quickly reached 150 relay stations by the end of 2003, and in the following year its first foray into AM radio followed with sites in Shepparton, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie. Just prior to Christmas 2004 a further 17 high-powered licences were secured to be on-air the following year.
Vision's 200th relay station was powered up on Australia Day 2005 at the Central Australian town of Yulara - right next to Uluru - at the very heart of the nation.
Over the years, the programme content has also continued to mature and develop, with a team of dedicated professional broadcast staff coming from many walks of life and media backgrounds.
- 1995 - The first edition of The Word for Today is published and distributed to just 500 recipients handwritten in an exercise book
- 1998 - UCB Australia establishes national headquarters and broadcast studios in a converted three-bedroom cottage in Springwood, Queensland, with 3-4 staff and a handful of volunteers
- 1st February 1999 - Vision Radio Network (then known as Vision FM) broadcasts to our first relay station at Beaudesert, Queensland, using satellite
- 2001 - UCB Australia moves to our current, larger premises in Underwood, Queensland
- 2002 - Distributing 70000 copies of The Word for Today each quarter, UCB Australia expands to include a distribution warehouse after supporters raise the purchase price through a three-day on-air appeal
- 5 November 2002 - Vision's 100th relay station comes on-air in Southern Cross, Western Australia.
- November 2003 - UCB Direct, UCB Australia's mail-order resources department, is launched
- 1 February 2004 - Five year anniversary of Vision's first broadcast commemorated with Soulframe / Steve Grace concert broadcast to the Vision network plus a second concert back where it all began - Beaudesert. There were 162 relay stations on air at this time.
- 26 January 2005 - Vision's 200th relay station comes on-air at Yulara in the red centre of Australia next to Uluru in the Northern Territory
- 2005 - PrayForMe joins the UCB Australia family
- August 2005 - The 10 year anniversary edition of The Word for Today is published and distributed
- 20 July 2006 - Cairns becomes the 250th relay station after waiting more than 20 years for Christian Radio
- June 2007 - Listeners across Australia donated a record $500 000 to Visionathon: Operation Build in just four days
- September 2007 - The 300th VISION STATION begins broadcasting in Yarrawonga VIC
- March 2009 - The Australian edition of word4U2day is launched at Easterfest.
- 20 October 2009 - Lockhart NSW joins the Vision family and becomes the 400th VISION RELAY STATION
- 24 July 2010 - The 450th VISION STATION starts transmissions in Kerang VIC
- 26 August 2011 - Murphys Creek becomes the site of our 500th VISION RELAY STATION
- 1 December 2012 - The 550th VISION STATION begins broadcasting in Orbost VIC
How is Vision different to Christian Community Broadcasters?
There are essential differences between local community radio stations and the Vision Radio Network.
Community stations are generally limited to serving one city or town, and are awarded their licence by the authorities, based on proving that there is a need and sufficient support for the station to exist. Although some may work closely together, they are all individual, independent organisations with their own autonomous Board or Committee, hold individual negotiations with Broadcasting Authorities, represent only local interests, and set their own programming mix as appropriate to local listening audience. Formats vary depending on the station's target audience and their desired ministry outcomes.
Vision, on the other hand, holds Open Narrowcast licences, with each broadcast site essentially being a repeater of the programme beamed by satellite from our studios in Brisbane, QLD. Vision is a listener supported network. Local individuals and/or churches make requests for Vision to come to local communities and listeners and supporters enable the broadcast to continue via their financial donations and prayers.
As well as the thousands who listen regularly in the hundreds of communities where Vision is broadcasts, many people also listen direct-from-satellite or via the internet. The network primarily covers regional Australia, although Vision is also heard in some of the major centres, including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Townsville, Rockhampton and the Gold Coast.
Through positive music and talk, we aim to deliver a stimulating and compelling programme mix that everyday Aussies can identify with. We hope to challenge our listeners to live a life of real faith in God. We want Vision to be a trusted friend, aiming to ultimately introduce listeners to our trusted friend - Jesus Christ!