After a year of upheavals, Melbourne GLBTI radio station JOY94.9 is looking positively towards 2011.

The station heads into next year with a new board, a $15,000 Brumby Government grant and projections of moving its finances out of the red.

JOY has also announced the appointment of Dean Murphy as it’s new broadcast manager, replacing interim manager Chris Jameson.

Murphy previously held a program manager role at JOY from 2005 – 2007 and has been involved with commercial and community radio for 20 years.

New president David McCarthy told the Star Observer the station had gone through a difficult year financially, but hoped to bounce back.

“The last year has been one of consolidation, what we’re looking towards for the next year is, number one, to give the station a much better financial foundation,” he said.

“And two, volunteer engagement is always a challenge, and that’s going to be a real focus for us because we will be appointing a part time volunteer co-ordinator in the new year.”

McCarthy said the $15,000 grant had been in the pipeline for a year and would be used to air condition the station’s main computer system.

The station posted a $49,000 loss for the 2009/2010 financial year compared to the $106,000 loss the previous year.

Finance and Audit chair Alastair McKenzie said board decisions to cut costs and focus on increasing donations and sponsorship had been key to turning around the station’s financial woes.

He said JOY was now forecasting a profit of $37,000 for the current financial year.

JOY still faces an upheavals in attracting new and ongoing, paid-up members. The Annual Report revealed the station this year faced some of the lowest rates of membership renewals in ‘some years’, which has been blamed on a new program grid, making it difficult to establish listener loyalty.

Some other low lights recorded were decisions to removal the station’s paid week-night drive presenter, program time slot alterations which “created unrest” for volunteers and listeners and staff changes.

Seven new board members were elected at the recent annual general meeting including Cameron Cook, Kyle Minall, Nick Bassett, Breed Lewis, Greg Adkins, Trish Kerin and Jed Gilbert. Board members sit for three-year terms.

McCarthy said he was looking ahead to an improved 2011, with a focus on advocating for the GLBTI community.

“I think the challenge for JOY is, we’ve seen previously from member surveys that they want JOY to be more of an advocate for our community and that’s something we’re quite keen to do,” he said.

“We’ve done that certainly in the federal and state election… we’ve had more than our share of candidates on air, and we see that only expanding.”

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