An interview between Adrian Basso [PBS radio] & Rebecca Rosario

Since 1979, community broadcaster PBS 106.7FM has been an integral player in Melbourne’s diverse music community – with more than 80 specialist music programs ranging from soul to garage to country to jazz – PBS is dedicated to nurturing, inspiring and championing Melbourne’s diverse music community.
PBS matters because we support musicians and artists from the ground up. We are passionately committed to seeking out, discovering and presenting diverse and independent music. Our announcers are music-loving folk who volunteer their energy, music knowledge and vast record collections to prepare in-depth, specialist, music-centric programs. Every announcer has complete autonomy over what they play. Their programs are a reflection of their ever-evolving musical tastes, enthusiasms and discoveries – a musical journey that is shared intimately with the audience.
The station is run by more than 400 dedicated volunteers and a small team of professional staff.
With 250,000 weekly listeners across Melbourne, PBS depends on its loyal community to support the station’s activities through financial memberships and donations as well as sponsorship. This allows us to pursue our shared vision with integrity and independence
We sat down with PBS General Manager, Adrian Basso to learn more about this unique business.

1. How did you get involved with PBS FM?
In 1998 I started work at another community station 3MBS as a book-keeper and caught the community radio bug – I’ve never looked back. I started at PBS at the start of 2007 as General Manager. PBS is a community radio station where music is the focus, in all of its variety.

2. What makes this radio station so special?
The people and music – there is a variety in both. Community radio is largely about passion – we have over 400 volunteers who do things like announcing (behind the mic), reception, events and much more. Music is also obviously a big element at PBS where we promote and nurture music of all genres – jazz, blues, rock, metal and so on. We play music that is crafted and made with love. No McDonalds music at PBS, but lots of gems and other rarities

3. What aspect of the business are you most passionate about?
We give a voice to those who would not be heard on mainstream media. Radio run by the community, for the community. The media aspect is also very interesting in a time of much upheaval in that medium

4. What was the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced while at PBS?
Every day is different, which is part of the attraction of working here. One example, which isn’t funny or strange, but more memorable is when we had all our telecommunication physically cut last year (removing a tree), which was stressful, but we kept on broadcasting on FM. We had no phones, no Internet, but stayed on air while we did our best to get basic services running. We are ready for next time…fingers crossed.

5. What has challenged you the most in this business?
Keeping everyone on the same page and happy.

Then there is the money…we are pretty independent and not reliant on government funding. While writing this, it’s day one of our main fundraiser of the year where we ask listeners to stump up for the station by becoming a member.

6.Tell me about a memorable client you have gotten to know while working at PBS?
There are many eccentric people both in community radio and the music industry. I might incriminate myself if I go too much into detail…

7. What do you do when you are not working?
I am also the President of the peak body of community radio, so that takes up plenty of time as well. I have a family with two young children and like to hang out with them as much as possible. Food is a big thing in our family, as well as music and radio.

We would like to thank Adrian for sharing this story.