The homely cottage-like building that houses Hope Media in Seven Hills says it all — this is a safe place for you to come in and feel at home.
Most people open the door to the Hope community radio station 103.2 via their radio dial, knowing they will be entertained, informed and reassured. And one thing is for certain — they will not be entertained at the expense of someone else’s dignity or in the name of lewdness.
That more than anything sets Hope 103.2 apart from commercial radio stations that seek mass appeal through puerile stunts that set out to belittle people. These stunts can have devastating effects on vulnerable people, as has been famously shown in recent years.
“What we are proud of here is that a mother driving her kids to school can listen to us without fearing that something will come on where they have to explain the facts of life to their children in the car,” Hope CEO Phillip Randall said. “It is all about being part of a caring community as well as being informative and entertaining.”

Of course, that’s what you would expect from a Christian community radio station, although Phillip is quick to point out that it is not all church music and preaching. It is more about working on the Christian ethic without pushing religion down people’s throats, or rather, ears. Interviews and listener feedback can express a range of views but debate is always done in a respectful, if robust, manner — no shock jocks here.
“Announcers at some of the commercial radio stations don’t seem to know how to have a respectful conversation with someone,” Phillip lamented.
He feels that today, in the frightening world of social media where everyone has a voice, it is important that people have a safe environment to discuss issues without being hit with hurtful feedback.
As for music, that covers all genres as there are plenty of hits that are popular without clashing with Christian mores.
“We play the usual latest hits. I like contemporary music,” Phillip said. ”We don’t have just Christian listeners, but people from other faiths or of no faith who relate to our ethic of being caring and helping others.”
The station, one of 400 community stations in Australia, survives on sponsors, advertising and some volunteer work. Most of the announcers and office staff are paid, with some announcers volunteering. But the station stands out from other community stations by its professionalism and slick presentation.
One of the announcers is Emma Mullings, a well known face through her bubbly television infomercials. During our visit, Emma was finishing her morning program, during which the discussion covered the etiquette of a man taking the kerbside when walking beside a woman in the street. A similar debate had been raging on Facebook.

“We look at the issues of the day and get feedback from listeners,” Emma said. “We try to make it fun.”
Yes, just like commercial radio stations, but without debate turning nasty. Hope has an interactive website, as is the norm for radio stations, with interviews and stories that fit in with its general ethos, centred mostly around family issues.
Based in the Hills, but broadcasting all over Sydney and beyond, Hope tends to get involved in locally based causes and projects, such as the Hills Relay for Life.
“We are always encouraging our listeners to contribute to society and become active in their communities,” Phillip said.
Hope 103.2 must be doing something right, as it is “one of the most listened to community radio stations in the country,” said Phillip. “Our main age group is the 25 to 44-year age group,” he said. ☐

Then there is Hope

1953 – Rev Vernon Turner starts the Christian Broadcasting Association Limited (CBA), as a non-profit content production facility at Five Dock, Sydney. Programs were provided free to commercial stations.
A new building and production facilities are officially opened by the Governor of NSW in March 1960.
In March 1979 CBA starts broadcasting as 2CBA FM under the 103.2MHz licence granted the year before. The application had been made in 1956.
Phillip Randall, an experienced radio manager, is appointed managing director of CBA in 2000.
In May 2002 the station starts broadcasting as FM103.2 - The Heart of Sydney from new facilities at Seven Hills, 2WS’s first home.
FM103.2 becomes Hope 103.2 in December 2008.