Rhema FM Newcastle is a ‘home mission, with a mission to reach every home.’ We aspire to reach those within our community and beyond, and to be a source of light by the will of God. We wish to assist the body of Christ across Newcastle and the Hunter, whilst providing quality and 100% Christian music and content.
From Humble Beginnings
Rhema FM Newcastle is a Christian music and program provider. In 1984 there was an advert from Christchurch in the Newcastle Herald asking if anyone were interested in starting up a Christian radio station in Newcastle. This is where the journey began on the 20th September 1985. Russell and Betty Aitcheson bought fares to Christchurch and brought back the vision for Rhema FM Newcastle. They knew nothing about how to begin a radio station. One year later a small group of Christians formed a group in the hope to get it up and running, despite lack of resources. It would take almost two years be fore the first ‘Test’ broadcast was held on the 11th of May 1987 for just one week.
It would be another 18 months before the then Australian Broadcasting Authority would allow a 2nd test broadcast from 1988 for just one week. In all from 1987 until 1999 Rhema FM held 31 temporary broadcasts ranging from one week to a month and a number of those broadcasts were up to 4 months in duration. The Australian Broadcasting Association allowed only a maximum of three months a year for temporary broadcasts. From the 1st of February to the 1st August 1999 Rhema FM held yet another temporary broadcast (number 31) and by this time it had been over 14 years since Rhema was first established.
They were told to give up and that they would never get a permanent license. Habakuk verse 2:3 kept them going:
For the Vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.
Rhema held a “Memberthon” in June 1999, in which Rhema’s membership numbers stood at 2,100 and over just 7 days grew to 5,100 financial members. No other community radio station in Australia had ever witnessed something happening like this in just seven days. Not long after the Australian Broadcasting Authority invited applications from interested parties in Newcastle to apply for the frequency of 99.7. From music dance stations to the Hellenic radio, Rhema FM was faced with competition and was forced to stop temporarily broadcasting. In this time thousands of letters were sent to the ABA requesting a licensing grant for Rhema. One month later on the 1st December 1999 Rhema FM received a call from the ABA granting full-time Community licensing after years of persistency.
FAST FOWARD TO 2018
Rhema FM Newcastle has been established for over 32 years and has been on air full-time for over 18. Each year Rhema FM faithfully believes in being provided with the funds needed each year through their Rhemathon weekend in May. God continues to provide the funds each year without fail! We have 13 full-time staff and regular volunteers who keep the station afloat. We are funded primarily by our supporters, as well as generous business sponsors.
May God be given the Glory, Honour and Praise.