Melbourne’s Jewish community and the hard-working members of its radio station J-AIR are celebrating as the station began test broadcasting on its own frequency 88 MHz FM in late September.

Securing a new radio licence in Australia’s capital cities is difficult so J-AIR for the past six years has been broadcasting on a shared frequency 87.8 MHz with another aspirant radio station.

J-AIR president Dr George Banky and J-AIR chairman Sean Melzer
J-AIR president Dr George Banky and J-AIR chairman Sean Meltzer Melzer

J-AIR began in a rundown St Kilda East warehouse in 2014 by its founder Robert Bontschek. J-AIR is a niche community broadcasting service in four languages (English, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew) bringing Jewish culture, news, analysis, music, comedy, personalities and performers together. It will rebrand itself under the slogan “J-AIR, bringing the community to you”.

Great news for Melbourne’s Jewish community

Bontschek, vice-president and station manager, said the dedicated frequency was great news, especially for Melbourne’s Jewish community, which centred around the inner south-eastern suburbs.

“I want to thank a dedicated team of J-AIR volunteers who brought about this monumental change to our broadcasting potential,” Bontschek said. “In particular, I want to single out J-AIR president Dr George Banky, our head of engineering, whose tireless efforts against seemingly insurmountable odds, got us over the line.”

J-AIR began test transmission from 21 September 2020 on 88 MHz.

We want to hear from you

Please contact the head of engineering by SMS on 0492 059 200 or by email [email protected] if you have any questions.