AFTER five years on air and 273 shows, JOY 94.9’s LGBTI current affairs program On the Line aired for the final time yesterday.

The weekly program worked to cover and break stories concerning Melbourne and Australia’s LGBTI community.

The program’s presenter and producer Dean Beck said when the show first started, he wasn’t sure what he was doing.

“It was a pretty big ask to do an hour of solid talk about the news, but I learned a few tricks of the trade,” he told the Star Observer.

“It’s so important for the community to have JOY as its voice but it’s also important for the community to have a critical voice.

“While there are plenty of people that criticise, I don’t think there’s enough of that critical voice that calls all elements to account.”

Beck cited the push to end homophobia in sport as one of the more memorable stories he has covered, along with his long standing coverage of the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC).

While they have worked together to achieve a lot, he said it didn’t begin that way.

“It’s no secret but issues regarding VAC have been a major headache for the station and I guess a major headache for VAC as well,” he said.

“They were very good at telling the community what to do and not very good at listening to the community, nor would they engage if there were any questions.

“When I started poking the fire they shut down, and the more they shut down, the more I poked.

“Now they’re open to having any conversation regarding any concerns, and they work with me to ensure things are communicated right… it’s been wonderful to be able to work with them and I look forward to continuing that relationship for many years to come.”

Beginning next week, JOY 94.9 will commence a new current affairs and news program called The Informer, to be aired at 6.30pm from Monday to Thursday.

Beck will join the team working on the program.

“I’m really looking forward to the different format and challenges the new show presents, it’s a lot more newsy than what I’ve been doing,” he said.

JOY program director James Findlay said he was excited for the new show.

“When I started as program director I knew I wanted to pursue a greater offering in terms of news and current affairs,” he told the Star Observer.

“And this project hasn’t been easy to put together… it’s been months in the making.

“It’s the largest team we have working on any program in the history of JOY and it’s something that hasn’t been done before.

“I had a volunteer tell me I’m a very brave man, but it’s an exciting project.”

The Informer begins on Monday at 6.30pm. You can follow it on Twitter at @TheInformerJOY

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