35 Years ago on 20th September 1985 Radio Rhema (Which became Rhema FM in 1989) was first established here in Newcastle and the Hunter region located at Denison Street, Newcastle West.  The very first inaugural meetings about Rhema was held in 1984. Today some of those who were first involved are still with us like Peter McLennan Electrician, Jim Kendall retired electrician and David Badcock Rhema’s Chief Engineer who is still on staff with Rhema today and now retired first original Receptionist Lilian Kennedy. CEO John Marks joined Rhema in 1992 some 7 years after Rhema was first established and is still with the Ministry today.  It was husband and wife Russell and Betty Aitcheson whom the Lord used to first ‘catch’ the vision of having 100% Christian radio in the Hunter back in 1984 and spent their own funds to go to Rhema New Zealand to find out more.

Happy 35th Birthday Rhema! 1

Russell and Betty Aitcheson, Co-founders of RhemaFM 11/7/85 – 16/1/89.

Happy 35th Birthday Rhema! 2

The first Rhema Newcastle studio.

It took 14 years to win Rhema its permanent broadcasting licence which was awarded from 1st December 1999. The first  test broadcast was held on 11th May 1987 for just one week that was all that was allowed under the law at the time. It would be another 18 months before a second broadcast was allowed to occur.  From 1987 – 1999 Rhema FM held 31 Temporary broadcasts consisting of being on air sometimes for a week other times for two weeks. Overall Rhema was only allowed 90 days per annum of temporary  broadcasts. Then in December 1999 Rhema was awarded its permanent licence (although every 5 years Rhema has to re-apply to have it renewed (an application form that takes up to 4 months to complete) The excitement of the licence being awarded in 1999 after 14 years was huge amongst the large Christian Community of Newcastle and the Hunter and why not,  because God gave a promise from Habakkuk chapter 2and verse  3  that said:  “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens towards the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay”

Happy 35th Birthday Rhema! 3

John Marks, Rhema’s current CEO with Dudley Scantlebury, Rhema’s former CEO.

Happy 35th Birthday Rhema! 4

John Marks in Studio A, 1992

Happy 35th Birthday Rhema and we thank God and give Him all the praise, glory and honour for our own 100% Christian radio station that so many fought so hard for, for  so long, so that we could all;  enjoy, receive, be encouraged, uplifted, inspired, nurtured and  challenged daily and so that others may hear the goods news of God’s great gift and free salvation  through His own Son Jesus available to all.

Happy 35th Birthday Rhema! 5

John Marks, David Badcock and Jim Kendall, with Rhema’s first big radio transmitter, 2000.

Happy 35th Birthday Rhema! 6

The first Rhema Newcastle studio.