3MBS Fine Music Melbourne was conceived by music fan and radio engineer Brian Cabena in 1968 to address the lack of classical music being broadcast on the radio. Cabena wrote a letter to The Age newspaper calling for interest in a listener-run classical music radio station. Two hundred people attended that first meeting and founded the Music Broadcasting Society of Victoria Limited – though the station’s first broadcast was still some years away.
A number of years of lobbying followed, and in 1974, an independent inquiry into FM broadcasting (known as the McLean Report) recommended that television should be removed from the FM band to allow the commencement of FM radio broadcasting. Members of the Music Broadcasting Society of Victoria then travelled to Sydney to establish 2MBS (now called Fine Music 102.5FM), which first broadcast later that same year. Finally, and with great excitement 3MBS was launched in July 1975, with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana having the honour of being the first work played by the new station. 3MBS was the first radio station to broadcast on the new FM band in Victoria, and paved the way for the establishment of other community broadcasters who could cater for diverse interests within the community.
In 2007, the station relocated from Brian Cabena’s original radio repair shopfront in Kew to the beautiful cultural precinct of the Abbotsford Convent. At the time of the move, the station looked to the future and invested in digital technology, incorporating digitally-linked studios and a performance studio (complete with control room) into the new premises. These excellent facilities are still in use today, and enable the station to record and broadcast in-house performances by local, national and international musicians. Further funding from subscriptions, donations, bequests and sponsorship continues to be sought in order to maintain and strategically upgrade these facilities. Substantial upgrades will occur in 2019, which will strengthen the station’s position as a major hub of Melbourne’s fine music community.