Host of award-winning radio program Break-Thru Generation Mal Garvin has passed away in Tasmania, aged 82.
Mal will be remembered for his vast contribution to media and Christian media in Australia.
“At its peak Breakthrough Generation (sic) was on every major radio market in Australia and attracted up to two million listeners regularly for 40 years,” Christianity Today reported.
His dedication to public ministry was even more fascinating as Mal had no interest in church life until he found faith at Sydney City Mission Camp in his teenage years, inspiring him to found Teen Crusaders, which later became known as Fusion Australia – with 17 locations throughout NSW, QLD, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT, and its founding state Tasmania. Fusion also expanded to the UK and Canada.
In 1979 Mal helped with the establishment of the first Christian FM radio station in Sydney. He designed the phone counseling service called People Who Care, and also developed the Captain Midnight Show which he described as “the first of its type on FM radio, Australia”.
In 2007, he received the CMAA Legacy Award for an “Individual who, during their lifetime, has made an outstanding contribution as a Christian Leader in the fields of Media and/or the Arts,” and was honoured at the Association of Christian Broadcasters Conference with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
According to radioinfo, “Many stations around Australia played Mal’s 60 second ‘Godspots’ or took his weekly Sunday night talkback program Conversation of the Nation which was produced at 95.7 Heart FM Poatina, and broadcast on the Community Radio Satellite”.
Two years later, Mal was also awarded the Order of Australia for service to the community through the establishment of Fusion Australia and the development of social welfare programs that support and guide young people, and as a broadcaster and author.
He quietly “retired”, a few month later, from the youth and community network he had built, after Fusion Australia’s national executive found he had engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” and made “errors of judgment”, The Age reported, while according to Vision Christian Media, “In a letter to a newspaper, he wrote: I made a number of errors of judgment and I certainly wish I had done things differently. In 2006, when I turned 65, I announced that even though physically I was ready for retirement I would stay on for another three years to support the transition. These circumstances as well as my deteriorating health confirmed that it was time for me to step aside in my leadership of Fusion”.
Mal is survived by his wife Jenny, two sons and two daughters “all married, with one family living here in Tasmania, one in Canada, one in the UK and one in Jamaica”, and 11 grandchildren.
“All are working in different ways and different situations, to make faith accessible to others,” Mal’s personal website, lifeunderstanding.com, states.
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