Christian radio pioneer Peter Stanton passed away on February 14. Peter’s career in radio spanned 67 years, including his most recent position as president and managing director of Bendigo’s Life FM 105.1. He spent 21 years at Hope 103.2 in Sydney. He passed away overnight on February 14 after a long battle with heart disease.
Peter’s passion for radio began at an early age. He was just nine years old when he started his own radio station, ‘Radio 3PS’, using two turntables, a microphone built from an old speaker, and the amp from his parents’ record player.
His got his first on-air gig at age 13, reading scripts for an after-school kid’s show on Melbourne’s 3DB. At 15 he left school for a job at 3DB – starting out as an office boy, and working his way up to announcing on Horsham’s 3DB/3LK.
In his 20s, Peter trained as an Anglican minister, but once ordained, he went straight back into the media – first as a presenter on the ABC in Melbourne, then as a producer and TV presenter with Anglican TV.
When the Sydney Anglican Diocese started its own radio unit, they hired Peter as its foundation director, and he stayed as CEO for 18 years. Here, Peter oversaw the establishment of faith programs and short God-spots for commercial radio – a concept that continues in Christian radio today. He also ran recording businesses on the side, and he pioneered supermarket radio, having 2SER FM piped into Franklins supermarkets. That concept lives on today in the form of the popular digital station, Coles Radio.
While in Sydney, Peter volunteered on the side as a breakfast presenter on what was then 2CBA. He was instrumental in its name changing to FM 103.2, as well as the setup of the Dalet playout system, and he soon came on staff as a presenter and church partnership manager.
Remaining in this job at 103.2 for 21 years, it was only after a major heart attack that Peter retired and moved to country Victoria in 2007. There he joined the board of 105.1 Life FM in Bendigo, and soon became managing director and president, working in the day to day running of the station on a voluntary basis.
In 2021 Peter was awarded the CMAA Legacy Award for his many years of service to the Christian media sector, and in accepting that award, Peter said that he saw the guiding hand of God throughout his career.
“I’m so very thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to lift Jesus up and know that he will draw all people to himself,” he said.
John O’Donnell, his former colleague and longtime friend, described Peter as a “truly Godly man, a wonderful, faithful friend, funny as all get-out, a brave warrior who overcame, and who never let go of the ministry side of his life.”
“He did an amazing job at turning a radio station that was in a bad way, into something that was going in the right direction,” he said. “I loved him very much as did many across the nation. We talked regularly, I always called him to make him laugh. He loved the Lord, loved being in His service and now is in His presence.”
Penny Mulvey, CMAA chair, said she first met Peter when she was about 17 years old: “He was heading Anglican Media, I knocked on the door and he gave me work.”
“Years later, I crossed paths with him again through CMAA. There was something very special about Peter. He was such a gentleman, quietly doing his job. It’s a great loss and he will be missed by many.”
Nathan Brown, CEO at CMAA, said Peter was a pioneer in not only Christian radio but also the broader media industry, and was a tenacious advocate for quality Christian programming.
“Peter’s recent tenure at his beloved Life FM Bendigo established the station on strong foundations for the future,” said Nathan. “Personally I’ve always appreciated Peter’s prayers and keen interest in the work of all stations across Australia. His legacy will endure. He is now at home.”
Peter is survived by his son Cameron, and daughters Romney and Pip.