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About Us

Free FM is your voice in the media.

Each week we host more than 80 unique Community Access radio shows and podcasts by, for and about real people - like you!

More about Access radio

Free FM is one of twelve independent Access radio stations operating around New Zealand, and a member of the Association of Community Access Broadcasters (ACAB). With support from NZ On Air, Access radio stations provide broadcasting facilities for individuals or groups not otherwise heard in mainstream media.

Access radio is in essence "radio by the people for the people", where the freedom of expression of ideas, values and beliefs is valued and protected. All Access stations work to the criteria expressed in Section 36c of the Broadcasting Act 1989, which states;

"Access Radio air-time priority must be given to programmes by, for and about women, children, disadvantaged and disabled people, minority groups including ethnic minorities, youth, spiritual and non-profit making community groups who would not otherwise have the opportunity to make and present their own programmes."

To learn more about Access radio, visit the ACAB website.

Free FM - 20 years strong

Free FM (formerly known as 'AM1206' and 'Community Radio Hamilton') began broadcasting on the 7th of December 1991 from a small studio located in Collingwood Street, Hamilton. At that stage the Station broadcast for only a few hours per day, with a limited range of shows.

In 2003 Free FM underwent significant change with the adoption of a new strategic plan, introducing new management roles and a new focus on delivering a more diverse range of programmes and greater community involvement.

Late 2006 saw the first phase of our Internet Broadcasting Strategy, the launch of our live stream, thanks to assistance from the Digital Strategy Community Partnership fund. This was supplemented with the launch of on-demand podcasts in July 2007, making our programming available to a global audience.

On October 2011, and after several years of lobbying, Free FM was allocated Hamilton's 89FM frequency by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. A substantial fundraising campaign raised more than $100,000 to complete the project with the new frequency launched by Prime Minister John Key along with the new Free FM name and logo on 1 August 2012.