It was a sacrifice for Christianity. The 40cm ponytail of radio announcer Peter Court came off first. A crew-cut followed.
Belinda Polden, occupational therapist, offered $2,000 for the privilege. Said Ms Polden, "I’ve never cut hair before but I've watched sheep being shorn."
Belinda Polden (right) and Peter Court
107.9FM Alta Mira is Adelaide's "evangelical radio station that glorifies God". The Station held open days as part of a fundraising campaign and Mr Court had volunteered his hair.
The Alta Mira Annual Report 1995/1996 showed a 20% decline in donations over two years and a 53% decline in membership subscriptions over the same period.
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The pamphlet How You Can Make a Difference explains, "Alta Mira is operated by a membership based non profit organization, Christian Radio Inc., which needs members in order to be able to operate. For just one dollar a week you can become an Alta Mira member!"
Total income over the two years had increased but had not caught up with total costs. However, the deficit decreased and the break-even point got close.
Most of the improvement came through sponsorship which increased from $187,055 in 1994 to $332,907 in 1996.
Total costs calculated for 1996/1997 in the Report – $811,488 – indicated a further deficit of $12,178.
Promotional events for Alta Mira include open days, fun events, airing of community events, and sales of tee-shirts, baseball caps and windcheaters. A video, explaining the Station's work and its need of $800 per day of church support, was released by means of breakfasts for church officers.
Alta Mira opened in October 1993. Sales and Promotions manager Ken Sedun said, "One third of the music we play is Christian contemporary music and two thirds is mainstream."
Alta Mira introduces Christian artists and broadcasts regular short-talk segments with a Christian theme. The announcers include additional Christian comment from their own perspectives.
Mr Sedun said the station has 16 employees and over 60,000 listeners. (5ADFM is first in the share of listening with 374,000 listeners = 25.2%.) Four radio announcers – Peter, Len, Doug and Joanne – are on the staff.
Alta Mira is not linked to any one Church in particular but the Assemblies of God get more mention than others.
All Alta Mira employees are Christians and signed a Declaration of Faith.
Mr Sedun, formerly of Canada, has an Episcopalian, Lutheran and Pentecostal background and currently attends a Baptist church.How You Can Make a Difference says: "40% of our listeners never go to Church... People have already been won to the Lord through our ministry."
Joanne Traeger, one of the announcers, said selected community announcements which promote desirable family events are made free of charge.
Someone offered $1,000 to shave Mr Court's beard after his haircut, but not wanting to look like "Charlie Brown" he declined.
Over $30,000 was pledged during the Alta Mira fund raising. "It will certainly help," said Mr Sedun.
[Note: The name of the Alta Mira radio station has changed and is now 107.9 Life FM Adelaide.]