BENEFITING MUSIC-LOVERS:  Radio 93.3FM vice-president Michael Eckford with one of the morning presenters, Gary Gilday, in the studio.
BENEFITING MUSIC-LOVERS: Radio 93.3FM vice-president Michael Eckford with one of the morning presenters, Gary Gilday, in the studio.

Stars sign up to save Radio Five-O-Plus

THE stars are coming out to play in a benefit concert for 93.3FM Radio Five-O-Plus.

It costs approximately $80,000 a year to keep the community radio station on air.

With no government funding, that's a lot of sausages to sizzle at Bunnings in fundraising drives, to add to membership fees, sponsorship, donations and the station's annual raffle.

But this year, the station is thinking bigger, with the benefit concert at Gosford RSL on Sunday, September 10.

Headliners Lucky Starr, Liz Layton, Warren Williams, Lisa Crouch and Kel-Anne Brandt have all signed up to give their time for free and Gosford RSL has donated the venue.

Radio 93.3FM vice-president Michael Eckford said while the idea had been thrown around in the past, it was presenter Barbara Guerrero who had brought the concert to life this year, organising the star-studded line-up in perfect keeping with the station's appeal.

With tickets just $20 each, Michael said they were confident of a good turn-out and a great afternoon out.

"If all goes well, we stand to clear $4000 and that goes a long way to keeping our heads above water," Michael said.

The station boasts 50 volunteers and 18 presenters, all aged from about 60-80.

"The bulk of them are just ordinary people who love music and want to get involved," Michael said. "We have two studios here and our equipment is pretty first rate."

The station has come a long way from its beginnings in 1993, when it aired twice a week from a small room above a pharmacy in Umina.

Since 1999 it has run 24/7, with tunes from 1945 to 1985, including The Beatles, The Eagles, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Doris Day and Elvis Presley.

Each show runs for three hours and, as well as their own music, presenters have access to a station play list of thousands of songs.

The station has a strong financial membership of about 500. However, Michael said it could be stronger if people realised membership cost just $10 a year, and the difference that could make to the station.

"I have people say to me all the time, 'we love your music, we've been listening to you for years' but when I ask if they are members, they say no," Michael said.

He encouraged everyone who enjoyed the music to get behind the station for this small annual fee.

"It's music people can relate to ... like the concert. As soon as Lucky Starr announces he's doing a concert, tickets go like wildfire, so it's great to have him," Michael said.

And he reckons this year's benefit could be just the platform for something bigger next year, as the station celebrates its 25th year.

On the day of the benefit, the RSL bistro opens at 11.30am. Doors open at 1.30pm, with the show at 2pm. Call 0243251950 for tickets or go to www.fiveoplus.com.au to find out more about the station and becoming a member, a sponsor or a volunteer.


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