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3MBS - Presenting fine music

3MBS - Presenting fine music

Melbourne is justly regarded as Australia’s Cultural Capital and is the thriving home for many of our country’s finest arts institutions. Community radio broadcaster 3MBS 103.5FM provides, free to air, the voice of the fine arts in Melbourne.

3MBS plays an important contribution to Melbourne life broadcasting the very best of classical, jazz, world music and arts related programming, each and every day. 3MBS strives to be the premier broadcaster and supporter of classical music in Victoria providing listeners with an experience that enhances their enjoyment of classical music.

Pioneering community radio

The role of the community radio network in Australia is to promote the kind of music (amongst other things) that is not broadcasted by the commercial stations. All the licenses granted by the Federal Government are done so on the grounds that the station in question fills a need within the community that is not served by other broadcasters. In the case of 3MBS, its strength is classical music (the only other station in Melbourne providing similar programming is the nationally broadcast ABC Classical.)

In 1968 the station founder, Brian Cabena, led the way for the introduction of community radio in Australia and was amongst the first to propose FM transmission as a viable broadcasting alternative. Today, from their state of the art premises at the Abbotsford Convent, over 200 volunteers, along with a small team of staff, give their time, energy and passion to broadcasting fine music to listeners 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 3MBS also delivers a range of programs aimed at supporting Melbourne’s music community.


3MBS has a responsibility to deliver a unique mix of music to its 200,000 strong weekly audience. 200 volunteers form the backbone of the station. They invest their passion, energy and time to enable 3MBS to broadcast all year round.

musicCommunity radio does not receive any direct funding from the government for their operations. 3MBS is no exception and relies heavily on support from its subscribers and sponsors. That 3MBS has managed to survive as long as it has reflects the excellent job it has done for its audience.

Supporting local music

3MBS is an organisation that actually delivers directly to the market it supports. The station has an important secondary role of nurturing and providing opportunities for up and coming artists. There are regular concerts, promoted and broadcast, as well as studios for recording.

3MBS is involved at a national level with the annual National Composer Award and has developed the respected 3MBS Young Performers Award (first bestowed in 1989). Artists choose to work with 3MBS because of the station’s positive and encouraging atmosphere.

Saward Dawson and 3MBS

Station General Manager Lin Bender says, “The future for 3MBS is bright and exciting. Melbourne is a large and active market and we have a loyal and expanding audience. Our challenge is to run a sustainable business, while staying relevant and delivering quality broadcasting 24/7”. Lin has many plans as to how these goals will be achieved. But before implementing the strategy to increase station revenue, it was necessary to reconstruct its financial reporting systems.

Saward Dawson initially evaluated 3MBS’s reporting requirements, considered the pros and cons of their existing accounting software and thoroughly interrogated their existing financial reporting systems and desired outcomes.

We advised that the current software was suitable for their budget but that a complete overhaul of their financial reporting structure was necessary to meet their internal reporting requirements. A new look and feel was implemented with a complete reconstruction of the Chart of Accounts, together with a new set of procedures and customised reports. Divisional reporting was designed, flowing through to budgeting. Saward Dawson also assisted staff during the transition process. 3MBS staff are now able to quickly produce a more informative set of reports, enabling more accurate and appropriate decision making.

If you have never listened to 3MBS, tune into 103.5 FM or visit their website at www.3mbs.org.au. 3MBS is the only classical radio station that truly represents what’s happening in fine music in Melbourne and Saward Dawson is proud to be a part of the 3MBS story.

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