Newsreaders - Tim Lennox and Ande KLGBTI community radio station JOY 94.9 is hoping to make it easier for international listeners to become members during Radiothon, the station’s annual membership drive.

JOY listeners can now purchase or renew memberships online, making it easier for the station’s increasing overseas and interstate listeners to support the organisation.

General Manager Conrad Browne told Star Observer an increasing proportion of the station’s listenership is now outside of Melbourne.

“We get messages from people from North America, from Europe, from Africa and lots from Asia as well, especially if they’ve connected to a certain show that they listen to reguarly,” he said.

“We put that down to the fact that people are looking for gay and lesbian radio stations, and also that we’ve got a lot of people who have helped spread the word about JOY.”

The push for international memberships ties in to this year’s Radiothon theme, JOY to the World.

“We know that we’re a really unique organisation and it’s exciting to be able to say that we are gay and lesbian radio that’s made in Melbourne for the world,” said Browne.

Volunteer and presenter Rebecca Savic is organising Radiothon this year, and has been involved with the station for more than ten years.

“I started out in a program support role, helping out with answering the phones and helping out with the programs on air, and after about six months of doing that I started presenting on air,” she said.

Savic said the money raised during Radiothon is the only way the station is able to survive, and explained why JOY is so important to her and to the people who volunteer there.

“It’s that physical connection to the community that, in a day and age where we’re spending a lot of time on computers… this is a really face-to-face way to contribute,” she said.

“If I’m walking down the street, if I’m at work, if I go into another organisation, most people will assume that I’m heterosexual and ask, ‘Do you have a boyfriend’, ‘Are you married’, that type of thing.

“Joy is the only place where that doesn’t happen to me. It’s a really wonderful thing to be completely true to who I am without actually having to correct someone.”

Anyone joining or renewing their membership before Radiothon ends on June 7 goes into the draw to win a Suzuki Swift donated by Joy sponsor Yarra Suzuki.

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