History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Publications/Australian Radio History/On this day/February
On this day - February
1937 3SR Shepparton (Chairman Stanisford Rickettson). Originally started as 3WR Wangaratta on 25-1-1925. Moved to Shepparton on 13-9-1934. Opened by Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Joseph Lyons, with new owners the Argus. Their 2,000 watt transmitter had a water cooled three feet long valve. Was to be 3SK (manager Sid Kemp). Received over 1,000 letters weekly. Bought 3YB and 3UL on 4-3-1937.
1972 3WM Horsham Wimmera/Mallee. Previously 3HS Horsham 11-9-1933 then 3LK Lubeck 24-12-1936. First manager, Les Bradley was Vice President of the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters. Started with 52 hours per week of local programs, with 59 hours of 3DB programs. At one stage, 3WM relayed to 3SH, 3YB, 3CS, 3HA, and 3TR. Their slogan was “The Best Songs of All Time”.
1954 3DB Melbourne They started 24 hour broadcasting.
1985 A.M. stereo is introduced throughout Australia. However, only a few retailers stocked A.M. stereo receivers.
1986 2CC Canberra Program director Wayne Mac introduced stereo programming with new equipment costing $300,000.
2UW Sydney 1942. Started broadcasting the first nationally sponsored serial on Australian Radio. It was called “Big Sister” and lasted for five years. (Serials were a large part of their programming until 1964). Photo is their 1944 studio.
1944. Australia’s longest running radio serial until 2018, “The Lawsons” by Gwen Meredith (later “Blue Hills”) started on the A.B.C. with 7,094 episodes (this record now belongs to “How Green was my Cactus”).
1937. The one millionth listener licence was issued.
5DR Darwin 1944. Darwin Radio. Established at a cost of £2,000, and operated by the Australian Army Amenities Service to entertain our troops during WWII, with the 1500 KHz. transmitter at Cemetery Plains. The Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Brian Wright; an announcer from 2GB. The former EMI studios in Homebush, Sydney, were reopened to produce records for all the army stations. 2GB provided transcription programs. They also relayed programs from the B.B.C. and the A.B.C. via a shortwave receiver at Leanyer. They produced a variety style song and comedy program every Saturday night in front of the troops. Often heard in New Zealand. Lieutenant Lionel Lunn from 2GB and Sergeant Len Maugher (later at 3AW, then head of the Nine TV network), were their announcers
2NZ Inverell 1984. Put off the air by a tree falling over their landline to their transmitter.
2AD Armidale 1936. Launched after being designed by Harry Kauper from 5BG, 5CL, and 5DN using 100 watts. Their first manager and announcer was R.A.F. pilot John Creighton from 2CH. Known as “The Voice of the North”, on air 0700-0900, 1200-1400, and 1800-2200. Initially, most records played were donated by listeners. Bought by the Armidale Express on 30-6-1936
7EX Launceston 1938. Established by Denis Cousins, owned by the Examiner, and opened by the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Joseph Lyons. Their slogan was “On Top in Tasmania”. Raised enough money to buy a Spitfire fighter plane for a WWII appeal.
2BE Bega 1952. They broadcast an appeal for trucks to move 2,500 starving cattle to Cooma.
1938. Ferris developed the first practical Australian car radio.
4VL Charleville 1936. Put off the air when a storm destroyed one of their towers.
7HO Hobart 1967. Put off the air when power lines to their transmitter were damaged by a bushfire.
5DR Darwin 1946. This Australian Army station was closed. It was reopened by the A.B.C. on 12-3-1947.
1912. The first of a network of coastal Morse code stations (VIM) opens in Melbourne (closed on 30-6-2002).
2LM Lismore 1936. A relaunch (previously 2CX 6-1-1930 then 2XN 1-5-1930). First planned to open as 2RI. Bought by the Northern Star for £25, moving into their building with the new callsign. Started with an A.W.A. 500 watt transmitter in their Chief Engineer’s home at Alstonville. Often heard in Melbourne and New Zealand. Local towns Casino, Kyogle, and Ballina then all petitioned for their own stations.
1942. The A.B.C. provided four of their daily news broadcasts to commercial stations for the duration of WWII.
2RPH Sydney 1983. Radio for the Print Handicapped. Started testing with 500 watts outside the broadcast band from a studio at 2UV. Programs came from a 2SM studio from April 1983. Moved to the original 2WS 1224 KHz. A.M. frequency in March 1993 with 5,000 watts after 2WS moved to F.M. Known on air as “Your Reading Service”.
4VL Charleville 1936. Launched by Ernest Marrs with 50 watts (previously experimental licence 4EM from 1923). Their manager was Walter Exton from 2XN, 4AY, and 2MB). Put off the air by a flood, and when their electricity bill wasn’t paid, and when a storm felled one of their towers, and when snakes invaded their studio. Later opened relay transmitters at Augathella, Wyandra, Tambo, Scotburn, Quilpie, Morven, and Mingallala.
2UW Sydney 1925. (Previously experimental broadcasting licence with the same callsign from 26-12-22). Founder Otto Sandell’s radio manufacturing company in Kings Cross was United Wireless. Originally on air Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, 1900-2200. Promoted as “The Little Station with a Big Kick”. First station in the world to broadcast a serial (in 1926 starring Gladys Moncrieff). Relayed to a Wagga Wagga transmitter one night per week as 2UX, using A.W.A. shortwave VK2ME in 1927. Moved into the Palings building with new studios in October 1928 after being sold to Palings. Formed the Federal Radio Network (2HD, 2AY, 3DB, 3BA, 3TR, 4BC, 4GR, 5AD, and 6ML) in 1930. Photo is their early studio (one microphone, one pianola, and one 78 RPM turntable).
4QG Brisbane 1943. Installed a new 10 Kw transmitter at Bald Hills in Brisbane. All testing included the location as being Sydney due to WWII security concerns. Photo is their earlier towers.
8DN Darwin 1992. They closed due to a lack of advertising revenue after launching 8HOT FM.
2CH Sydney 1932. Launched by the N.S.W. Council of Churches using 1,000 watts. Opening transmitter problems were relieved by placing condoms over an oscillating valve. Managed by A.W.A. from 1-5-1936, with the Council of Churches providing all Sunday programs. When a 1943 fire destroyed the only studio at 2UE, 2UE then used a 2CH studio. Their record library had over 25,000 records in 1945. Eric Pearce (later manager of 5KA and 3DB), and Bob Dyer (originally employed as a singer), started their radio careers here
4AT Atherton 1939. Atherton Tablelands. First planned to operate as 4AF (Atherton Farmers). Their slogans were “Towering over North Queensland” and “The Voice of the Tablelands”. Closed by the military during WWII on 8-1-1941 for broadcasting a security breach when owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Reopened as an A.B.C. station on 27-1-1941. This callsign was previously issued as an experimental station at Brisbane in 1927.
2LF Young 1938. Opened with a 500 watt transmitter set at 300 watts at the old Lambing Flats gold fields. Their 240 feet high tower collapsed when half erected. The studio was installed in the A.M.P. building and operated by four staff from 0700-0900 and 1700-2200. Opening broadcast was a radio ball from the Town Hall with 1,000 people attending. Known as “2LF, the Friendly Station”. Applications for several experimental F.M. relay licences in different nearby towns were denied in 1946. On 4-7-1952 they relayed over 500 emergency messages during severe flooding when other emergency communications were wiped out. They were the first regional station to broadcast “Talkback” programs.
5DN Adelaide 1983. News reporter Murray Nicholl, who was also a volunteer fire-fighter, broadcast live the ‘Ash Wednesday’ fire burning down his own house.
2HD Newcastle 1932. They installed new studios and a 500 watt transmitter which were opened to the public. They had 10,000 visitors in nine months.
4CM Brisbane 1920. Experimental station owned by Dr Val McDowall on longwave using 20 watts. Built by Thomas Elliott (Australia’s television pioneer and first Chief Engineer of 4BC). Operated by Charles Stevens from experimental station 4RG (later an original staff member of 4QG). Moved into the Old Windmill Tower in 1926, and conducted the first Australian television experiments from 1929 with a 30 line Baird system. Moved to medium wave (1250 KHz.) using 10 watts in August 1933. Granted Australia’s first television licence in 1935 (also the first television licence in the Southern Hemisphere). Television transmissions (earlier called ‘radiovision’) were daily from 1935 increasing to 180 lines on 136 metres, and often received in Melbourne. The first face on Australian television was Mickey Mouse playing the piano in an M.G.M. cartoon on 10-4-1934, followed by film star Janet Gaynor in 1935.
1955: The periodical “Radio Television and Hobbies” (previously “Radio and Hobbies”) was launched.
2TM Tamworth 1936. They opened a retail outlet selling and installing receivers.
3DB Melbourne 1927. Launched by Druleigh Business College with five staff in two rooms in the Capitol Theatre. Bought by the Herald & Weekly Times on 14-6-1929. Experimented with television in 1929 with 3AR. One station broadcast the sound and the other broadcast the video. H. Holst (3BY), designed, built and installed new equipment in 1929. Fire destroyed the studios in 1930. Manager Dave Worrall hired Harry Kauper (5BG-5DN-5CL-5AD) to rebuild the station in the HWT building. Joined the 2UW Federal Radio Network with 4BC, 5AD, and 6ML in 1930.
2RE Taree 1953. Licence obtained by Reginald Eagling. Their first studio and office were under the R.S.L. club. Their rained-out outdoors opening ceremony was conducted by 2SM announcer Tom Jacobs (who later helped start 2GO) and Taree Mayor Ron Butterworth. First manager was Bruce Valentine (from 2BE, 2MG, 2CA, 2PK, 2UW, and 2SM). Started with a 500 watt transmitter from 4AK. Their tower fell down twice before opening, and again in 1965. Known as “The Voice of the Manning”. Opened record and gramophone shops in Taree and Wingham despite criticism from competing shops. Chairman of Directors, Ron Butterworth, was a cast member in a 1953 Anzac tribute. His last read scripted line was “For us they fought, and in their dying, braved death cheerfully”; he then died on air.
3AW Melbourne 1932. Launched by Allans Music, and J.C. Williamson to promote their music and theatre businesses, plus the Age. Started on 300 watts from Her Majesty’s Theatre in Exhibition Street. Known as “The Best Station on the Air”. A phone competition in 1934 saw 3,000 phone calls cued up at the P.M.G. manual exchange.
2UW Sydney 1935: Became the first station in the British Empire to operate 24 hours per day.
5DN Adelaide 1925. First started with an experimental licence on 12-6-1924. Owned by the Adelaide Radio Co. with manager Don Neilson, Lance Jones (5BQ), Harry Kauper (5BG) and the Hume family (Hume Pipe Co.) with 35 watts. Stella Hume was the first female announcer in the world, with the studio in her Parkside house. First programs were lectures from Adelaide University, and classical music from the Elder Conservatorium. Advertisements cost £1, and were never broadcast on Sundays or during music programs.
3WR Wangaratta 1925. Owned by Les Hellier (Gallipoli veteran) using a 40 watt transmitter in his house, where the ‘Church of Christ’ now is. His main advertiser was his own sports store. First licensed country commercial station in Australia. Known as “The Voice of the North East”. Les advertised £5 crystal sets in the local paper. Closed on 22-12-1925 then reopened on 5-1-1931.
3WV Horsham 1937. A.B.C., relaying 3AR with some local programs. Western Victoria service, using a 5,000 watt transmitter at Dooen (later 10,000 watts, then 50,000 watts in 1987). First planned to open as 3WY in 1935. Also had a studio in the Ballarat Post Office, with two hand-wound turntables and 50 records. This station was to replace 3LO during WWII if Melbourne was bombed. They did broadcast some coded messages during WWII for the military.
7DY Derby 1938. They moved to Scottsdale as 7SD on 26-7-1954 due to a poor local economy.
9PA Port Moresby (T.P.N.G.) 1944. Australian Army broadcasting station using a 500 watt transmitter on 1250 KHz. operating at 250 watts, due to electricity restrictions. Controlled by Captain Robin Wood (enlisted from the A.B.C.). Their equipment was installed by technicians from the Australian Post Office, next to the A.W.A. coastal station VIG, with a 90 feet high tower. Opened by General Douglas Macarthur, and A.B.C. Director-General, Sir Charles Moses. Its purpose was to entertain Australian and American troops towards the end of WWII. The callsign was changed to 9AA shortly after opening (Australian Army). Also had some programs in the Papuan Motu language. On air 0630-0800, 1200-1400, and 1600-2200. News was relayed from the A.B.C. and the American Armed Forces Radio Network. Visiting on-air celebrities included Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and Jack Davey.
4EL Cairns 1999. Easy Listening. Opened on the former 4CA 846 KHz. A.M. frequency when 4CA moved to F.M. Now has a relay transmitter at Gordonvale.
2TM Tamworth 1935. First licensed as 2WO, but changed before opening. Their opening broadcast was from the Royal Hotel, including live messages from 2SM and 2UW. Started by the Higginbotham family (see 2VM) and Tom Whitcomb. Sued most of their advertisers for non-payment of their first accounts. First country station to broadcast all day without a break (0700-2200).
FM104 Canberra 1988: Supplementary licence issued to 2CA and known on air as 2ROC.
KIX106 Canberra 1988: Supplementary licence issued to 2CC. Their preferred callsign was 2CCC, however, this was already in use by a community station at Gosford.
9PA Port Moresby 1946: This Army station closed after WWII, with the transmitter equipment being maintained by the P.M.G. until being taken over by the A.B.C. on 1-7-1946.
4WK WARWICK 1973: They joined the Colour Radio Network with 4IP, 4LG, and 4LM.
- "3SR OFFICIAL OPENING". Shepparton Advertiser (Victoria, Australia) 3, (197): p. 3. 3 February 1937. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189079495. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- "Big features in 24-hour 3DB service". The Herald (Victoria, Australia) (23,925): p. 22. 30 January 1954. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245144803. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- "FRIDAY FEBRUARY 15". The Canberra Times (Australian Capital Territory, Australia) 59, (18,033): p. 6 (TIMES TV). 11 February 1985. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article122483228. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- "ON THE AIR". The Armidale Express And New England General Advertiser (New South Wales, Australia) (905): p. 8 (FINAL EDITION). 7 February 1936. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article192533298. Retrieved 12 January 2019.