Out FM, Sydney’s gay and lesbian radio station in waiting, is preparing for one last shot at permanent air time.

The Australian Broadcasting Authority has called on interested community groups to apply for a new AM licence and Out FM president Sean Crellin says the station is ready to get in on the act, even if it means taking on a name change.

Crellin told the Star there was a gaping hole in Sydney radio while no gay and lesbian station existed.

For five years we’ve either been on air or lobbying to get back on air,” Crellin said.

The station has until Monday 12 August to prove both its own financial viability and the community’s need for a permanent gay and lesbian radio service.

Crellin has already met with ACON and Mardi Gras to secure financial or in-kind support.

We’re in talks with ACON about financial support -“ Mardi Gras are not in a position to do that at the moment but we’re looking at negotiating some space for the purpose of broadcasting,” he said.

The successful station will have Sydney-wide coverage, transmitting on 1386 AM.

In the short term, Crellin said plans to rebirth Out FM to broadcast during the Gay Games in November were still on the drawing board.

Out FM has conducted several test broadcasts in recent years, and missed out on a permanent FM licence in 2001, when three licences were allocated to other radio providers.

Of the three successful candidates, two have not started broadcasting yet.

A second gay and lesbian station, Free FM, also missed out on the first licence round. Free FM spokesman Craig Payne said he was unsure whether Free FM would apply for the AM licence.

Crellin encouraged the gay and lesbian community to back the Out FM bid by making a public submission in support. Emails can be sent to [email protected] and need to be received by 5pm on Monday 9 September.

All submissions will be posted on the ABA website at www.aba.gov.au from Mon-day 19 August.

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