Forging new connections: One man’s lasting legacy


Gordon Coad was a farmer. But his name will always be synonymous with radio.

A ham radio enthusiast, Coad used to sit atop his tractor, dreaming about setting up a community station in his local area of Bordertown, South Australia.

Four decades on, 5TCB – the station he founded in the mid 1980s – has just ushered in a new era, officially rebranding to Connect FM.

Station General Manager Sardia Kakoschke (pictured above and below) tells Radio Today there were a number of reasons for the name change.

“5TCB stands for Tatiara Community Broadcasters and the station’s reach has expanded over the years to the Limestone Coast, and of course, through streaming.”

“One thing that stood out in recent years was when individuals would stream in or be on their way home (to Bordertown). One of the first things they would do is switch into the station because they instantly felt connected to home.”

It’s a world away from the days when Bordertown and the Tatiara region had been likened to a ‘radio desert.’

While the ABC covered some local news and community issues, there was no dedicated local radio station, let alone FM radio.

When Coad heard a segment on ABC Radio discussing the emergence of community radio, it got him thinking.

He set to work on his ultimate goal of establishing a community radio station in the Tatiara region.

Coad studied the operations of the community station two hours away in Mount Gambier, and – armed with his research – he approached his local council.

Coad’s idea was well received and – and despite much bureaucracy and concerns from the doubters who thought it would never see the light of day – 5TCB was born.

The station’s first test transmission was conducted in a makeshift home-based studio (long before they were even a thing) using a borrowed transmitter and an aerial measuring all of 30 centimetres.

The broadcast reached an audience within a 25 kilometre radius of the town.

The locals loved it.

The station officially began operations in a spartan studio with two mics, one cassette deck, a mixer and 10 watt power.

Inundated with phone calls of support, Coad described it at the time as a staggering event he’d never forget.

In the years since, a recording studio complex and facilities have been created at the station to train budding radio broadcasters.

It also produced a satellite rural news service for stations around Australia.

All this was achieved despite the high cost of running a radio station in an area with a small population.

In recent years, the station approached the Tatiara District Council for a loan and grant to undertake a complete upgrade of electronics, networking and cabling.

Proceeds from the station’s annual Radiothon were also put towards the refit.

With members of the local community rolling up their sleeves to complete extensive renovations and rebuilds, Kakoschke says the station now boasts one of the best community radio set ups in Australia.

Kakoschke says Coad – who passed away in 1993 – leaves a strong and lasting legacy.

“I never had the privilege of meeting him, but he was loved by so many.”

A longtime supporter of the station, Coad’s wife Bev attended the recent rebrand launch.

The Gordon Coad Museum has been established within the station, honouring its founder.

The room is a treasure trove of old photos, newspaper clippings and vintage radio equipment, including the station’s original console.

But there’s always room for more.

If you have any newspaper articles about the station or photos you’d like to share, Connect FM would love to add them to the collection.


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Mick C
7 Oct 2023 - 1:48 pm

Nothing like community radio ..
Congrats on the ” re branding ” and launch of Connect FM

I listen to Connect FM ( 2BCAR)
100.9 in the Bankstown/ Auburn LGA

Bennie Gee
8 Oct 2023 - 9:15 am

Great article Sarah! What a legacy.

Congratulations to Sardia and them team on their success and their rebrand! So great to see thriving community radio providing a service to the local community that they serve!


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