History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Publications/Australian Radio History/On this day/December
2CM Sydney 1922 The Government issued the first regulations regarding the licensing of broadcast stations. 2CM in Sydney, owned by Charles MacLurcan, then became the first licensed Australian broadcast station. The licence was signed by the Prime Minister Billy Hughes. The Government has decreed that this callsign is not to be reissued in commemoration of this historic event. Photo is Australia’s first female announcer Josie Melville on 2CM in 1923.
4EB Brisbane 1979. Ethnic Broadcaster. Launched as a community station specialising in ethnic programs. Started with 20 languages from a studio above a West End Greek bakery. Moved into their own building at Kangaroo Point in 1988. Became 4EB FM on 1-12-2001 with programs in 50 languages.
4VL Charleville 1937: Edward Gold from 4EG and 4GR (Toowoomba) bought the station. He then built and installed a 200 watt transmitter.
1966: New Zealand pirate station Radio Hauraki commenced regular transmissions, with their first song “Born Free”.
3HA Hamilton 1934. They increased their on-air hours to 90 per week with a 300 watt transmitter.
2BE Bega 1940. Went bankrupt after being sued by the local tannery for comments on air about their “evil smell”. They were fined £2,000. Kept on air by volunteers until sold to 2XL and later, to John Kerr then Ray Rumble.
5CC Port Lincoln 1985. Opened with 38 local shareholders. First considered using callsigns 5EP then 5PL.
6WA Wagin 1936. A.B.C. A bus load of musicians on their way to the opening crashed near their transmitter building, which became a first aid post. Listeners learnt to dance on Saturdays with live broadcasts and instructions from the Government House ballroom. Used a 10,000 watt transmitter (then the most powerful in Australia) bought from Radio Luxembourg, with a 700 feet high tower (the highest in Australia). Their five technicians were given rifles by the Army in WWII to defend the transmitter in case of attack.
3KZ Melbourne 1930. Launched by the Labor Party (they owned it until 1994), with studios in the Trades Hall. Broke the world record for non-stop use of a transmitter in 1931 (197 hours). Their management stated that television will never be introduced into Australia. Closed by the military during WWII for 24 hours for broadcasting a breach of security about the sinking of H.M.A.S. Sydney. In 1955 they joined with the Age, Argus, 3XY and 3AW to apply for Melbourne’s first television licence. Commenced 24 hour broadcasting in 1968.
2BH Broken Hill 1936. For their launch they bought the original transmitter used to launch 5BQ and 5DN.
6GF Kalgoorlie 1936. A.B.C. Gold-fields Service. Their official opening was a concert in the local Town Hall. Started above the Post Office using 2,000 watts. Moved into abandoned R.A.A.F. buildings after WWII.
1951: The transistor (which led to Integrated Circuits) was invented, which eventually revolutionised portable radios and other electronic devices.
4VL Charleville 1936. Launched by Ernest Marrs with 50 watts (originally 4EM in 1923). Their manager was Walter Exton (2XN, 4AY, and 4MB). Put off the air by a flood, and also when the electricity bill wasn’t paid. Also closed when a King Brown snake invaded the studio. Known as “The Voice of Western Queensland”.
7LA Launceston 1930. Installed by A.W.A. in the Findlay building (later the T.A.A. building). Owned by the Findlay’s (A.W.A. radio distributors), who wrongly believed they could cover all Tasmania on 50 watts. The A.B.C. requested a quote to erect relay stations for 3AR and 3LO to operate five hours per day. The £100 quote was rejected. Beamed some programs with New Zealand advertisements to New Zealand in 1934, as advertisements were banned on New Zealand radio. Chief Engineer, Rex McLean, stayed for 50 years from 1936. Their 1937 transmitter is on display in the Queen Victoria Museum.
4GC Charters Towers 1976. Opened as a relay station being owned by 4AY. The 4GC callsign was previously issued as an experimental station at Maryborough in 1925.
7ZL Hobart 1930: Their programming was taken over by the privately owned Australian Broadcasting Company with 60 minutes of advertising daily.
2MV Moss Vale 1930. Designed and installed by A.W.A. Owned by W. Young (a radio dealer in Exeter) as Moss Vale Broadcasting Services Ltd. Received several reports from interstate and overseas despite only using 50 watts. Closed on 16-9-1931, with the licence and equipment being transferred to Goulburn to launch 2GN.
2GF Grafton 1933. Opened on 50 watts. First manager was Charles Coldwell from 2XT. Licensed on 16-8-1932, but criticised by the P.M.G. on 2-2-1933 for not opening. A.W.A. stated they ‘forgot’, while busy opening 2AY and 2GN. Also criticised for planning to have a single staff member as manager-announcer-technician.
9RB Rabaul (T.P.N.G.) 1962. A.B.C. Launched as a relay of 9PA, with some local programs in the Kuanua dialect.
2MBS Sydney 1974: Australia’s first fully licensed F.M. station (Music Broadcasting Society) commenced.
5CL Adelaide 1926: They reopened after being closed for two years. Photo is their main studio.
2CO Albury 1931. Operated by the privately owned Australian Broadcasting Co. with 60 minutes of advertising daily. Their 7,500 watt transmitter was at Corowa (then the most powerful in Australia). Taken over by the A.B.C. on 1-7-1932 as a relay of 3LO/3AR with some local programs. A Dutch plane lost at night in a London to Sydney air race, landed safely after a broadcast appealing for car drivers to light up the Albury air strip with their headlights.
4BU Bundaberg 1935. Launched by their first Chief Engineer and manager Jim Jordan from 4JJ. He built the original 200 watt transmitter and studio equipment. Their tower collapsed before opening. Known as “The Voice of the Burnett”. Started with seven advertisers. Broadcast many live stage plays, revues, and concerts in the 1930s.
4PM Port Moresby: This AWA station closed in 1941 to allow the AWA staff to work for the Australian Military, establishing Military communications throughout Papua/New Guinea during WWII.
2CS Coffs Harbour 1985. Launched using an Adult Contemporary format, with music from the 1970s onwards. Moved to F.M., with 2HC starting on their former 639 KHz. frequency in 2000. This callsign was originally issued as an experimental licence at Newcastle in 1924. Back in 1938 a joint venture with 2KA and 2KM was going to use this callsign for a commercial station at Casino which never went to air.
7ZL Hobart 1924. First planned to open as 7AA, then 7AR. Owned by 3AR and started with their original 350 watt transmitter (1,000 watts in 1927). A “sealed set” station, located in one Mercury newspaper office room with one staff. Later they moved their studios into the old Hobart railway station. Programs were provided by the privately owned Australian Broadcasting Co. from 14-12-1930, with 60 minutes of advertisements daily. Their original “Reisz” microphone is on display at the Tasmanian Museum. Photo is the old Hobart railway station.
2AY Albury 1930. First planned to open as 2RI (owned by Charles Rice). Charles’s son, Cecil, was the first manager. Often heard in New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S.A. while using only 50 watts. Taken over by A.W.A. on 1-6-1932, with 100 watts, and known as “The Border Station” (later “Riverina’s Fine Station”). Often used a shortwave transmitter to relay live outside broadcasts to their studio. Photo is Eric Patterson in 1949.
2003: Sydney and Melbourne stations begin digital broadcasting trials.
2NC Newcastle 1930. Launched with programs provided by the privately owned Australian Broadcasting Company with 60 minutes of advertising per day on 2,000 watts. Opening broadcast was from the Newcastle Town Hall. Their first studio was behind the old Strand Theatre.
2CM Sydney 1921. Experimental station owned by “Australia’s leading amateur”, Charles MacLurcan. Started on long wave (214 KHz.) using seven watts, with Sunday night classical concerts. Often heard in San Francisco. The only Australian amateur allowed to operate during WW1. Later Issued with the first broadcasting licence in Australia (licence number one, signed by the Prime Minister, Billy Hughes on 1-12-1922). 2CM is the only callsign listed by the Federal Government as “Never to be reissued”, in recognition of the pioneering achievements of Charles MacLurcan. Photo is their QSL card issued after moving to shortwave.
Radio Australia 1939: “Australia Calling”, the forerunner of “Radio Australia”, was launched on short wave. Each program started and ended with a kookaburra laugh, which was continued by Radio Australia.
2KY Sydney 1938: Closed down by the Government for five days for inciting labour unrest.
4MK Mackay 1952: Put off the air by a lightning strike.
3WR Wangaratta 1925: Australia’s first regional commercial station closed, but reopened six years later.
6LN Carnarvon 1982. A Classic Hits format commercial licence. Had a relay transmitter at Exmouth until it was wiped out by a cyclone on 22-3-1999. The Exmouth licence is now programmed by Red F.M. via satellite.
2CY Canberra 1938. A.B.C. Used a 10,000 watt transmitter feeding a 620 feet high tower. Officially opened by the Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Joseph Lyons. Started with a studio next to their Gungahlin transmitter site. Instigated regular national broadcasts of Parliament House sessions on 10-7-1946.
2PK Parkes 1946: Their office, studio, and transmitter were destroyed by fire. Eventually they were back on air with a transmitter borrowed from 2GB.
2SM Sydney 1931. Started in St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church in Drummoyne by Monsignor James Meany. Father Archibald Shaw, who provided all the radio equipment to Douglas Mawson for his 1912 Antarctic expedition, was his technician. Photo is Harry Millard on air in 1935.
5MU Murray Bridge 1954: Raised £8,300 during a Christmas radiothon for local charities.
8DN Darwin 1974: Put off the air by cyclone Tracy. The Army regarded them as an emergency communications service, and freighted some equipment from Adelaide to get them back on air.
2UW Sydney 1922. Launched with a broadcast licence owned by Otto Sandell. Transmitter at Bellevue Hill. Otto produced 200 Sandell radio sets per week from his United Wireless factory in Kings Cross. First station to broadcast a political speech. On 13-2-1925 Otto was issued a commercial licence, with an increase in power from 15 to 400 watts.
2BE Sydney 1926: They held a Radio Dance Night raising funds for Cancer Research with their Radio Jazz Band. Listeners were asked to hold dance parties in their homes, with guests making a donation.
1947. A Letter to the Editor stated “Is there any truth in the belief that radio serials are so bad that they may drive some people to suicide? It seems that a large portion of radio time is taken up with absolutely rotten radio serials”.
6SJ Perth 1979. Scout Jamboree Radio. Used an ex Cocos Islands civil airport transmitter on 1610 KHz. The equipment was installed by Vic Kitney (VK6VK). Operated by Girl Guides from 0600-0000 daily until 7-1-1980.
4SJ Ipswich 1982. Scout Jamboree Radio. Operated by boy scouts from 0600-2200. All the studio equipment was loaned and installed by 4KQ. Their tower and 50 watt 1610 KHz. transmitter were installed by Telecom. They also operated an amateur station (VK4ASJ) and a television station (SJQ-4 TV), and produced a daily newsletter. Closed on 7-1-1983.
3GL Geelong 1930. Launched by the Geelong Advertiser (Victoria’s oldest existing newspaper), with the transmitter on their building, and a studio above Suttons music store. Often received in the U.S.A. and New Zealand using a 50 watt transmitter built by their Chief Engineer, Morris Israel from 3ZN.
2KA Katoomba 1963. Bruce Carty became Australia’s youngest commercial radio announcer at 14 years old.