History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Publications/Australian Radio History/Trivia

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Below are examples of extensive history and interesting trivia collected from a list of over 700 callsigns researched. For further details refer to the six State listings.

Radio Australia started as 3ME in 1921. ** 3AW, 3CS, and 2GB once banned all Beatles records. ** 3AR, 3KZ, 2HD, 2UW, 5KA, 5AU, and 4AT were closed by the military for broadcasting alleged security breaches during WWII. ** 3UZ-3XY, 5AN-5CL, 2SM-2CH, 3GL-3CS, 6PR-6PM, 7BU-7AD, and 4BC-4BK, experimented with stereo in 1958 (left and right audio on separate stations - listeners needed two radios). ** 3DB rejected a job application from John Laws. ** 3BO was the first to employ John Laws. ** 3AK and 2SM both claim to be the first to try talkback radio, but 2UE and 3DB were the first to legally broadcast talkback. ** 2BL was previously 2SB, and actually started as 2HP. ** 2FC broadcast an interview with Adolf Hitler in 1932. ** 2UE started the original Top 40 charts in March 1958. ** 2BL broadcast 5,795 episodes of “Blue Hills”. ** 2UW broadcast 2,276 episodes of “Dad and Dave”. ** 2GB planned to open 3GB, 4GB, 5GB, 6GB, and 7GB. ** 2KY was the first station in the world to broadcast Parliament. ** 2HD opened with 12 records in their library. ** Moss Vale used to have its own commercial station (2MV). ** The studios of country stations 2GZ, 2LE, and 2KA used to be in Sydney. ** 2WG was once kept on air during flooding by an amateur operating his radio link to their transmitter. ** 2DU was often put off the air due to flooding. ** 2CH banned liquor and gambling advertisements, and any mention of the Melbourne Cup. ** 5DN newsreader Murray Nicholl broadcast live his home burning down during the “Ash Wednesday” fires in 1983. ** The Australian Army was issued a broadcast licence for its Adelaide River camp (N.T.) which never went to air. ** Perth had a secret underground radio station in Nedlands to be used if invaded by the Japanese in WWII. ** 4WK lost a grand piano when termites caused it to fall through the studio floor while being played live to air. ** 2BS had the studio, transmitter, record library, and office in one room. The owner and his family lived in the second room. ** The 2KA transmitter was wired with explosives during WWII in case the Japanese attacked. ** 4CM conducted the first Australian TV experiments in 1929, which were later seen regularly in Melbourne. ** 2LM was sold for 25 pounds. ** A 6KY program called “Topless Radio” was banned by the censors. ** 3BA was forced to give up its’ security pistol, and 3XY race caller Ken Howard had his binoculars seized for the war effort in WWII. ** The first F.M. experiments (mono) in Australia were in 1927 on 9 MHz. ** 4BH was the first station in Australia to install a directional aerial, and 2SM was the first to install an active aerial. ** 2UW was the first to broadcast live shark and beach reports from an aeroplane, the first in the British Empire to broadcast 24 hours per day, relayed their broadcast of the Sydney Harbour Bridge opening to 23 stations, and the first station in the world to broadcast serials. ** 2UE was the first to broadcast the 6 pips every hour (1939). ** 7EX listeners raised enough money to buy a Spitfire fighter plane for the war effort in WWII. ** In 1938 2KY was closed for five days by the Federal Government for inciting labour unrest. ** Callsign 2XL was issued to commercial stations in Lismore, Broken Hill, and Cooma. ** 2UE was the first to experiment with transmitting still pictures, and newspapers took one year to mention their existence after they opened. ** 2VM was the first A.M. regional station to be granted an F.M. licence. ** 3SR created a record by airing 40 commercials in one hour. ** 4GR was put off the air when a crop duster plane demolished their tower. ** 4BC was the first to broadcast an Aboriginal corroboree. ** At one stage, 6KG announcers also operated the Royal Flying Doctor Radio Base. ** 2FC used 150 batteries to power a broadcast from a church. ** All the fish in the 2KA reception aquarium died on the opening day of their Penrith studios. ** 7HT once played “High Noon” by Frankie Laine continuously for 24 hours. ** While Billy Thorpe was interviewed on 3XY, a man arrived with a shotgun demanding to see him. ** 7LA was the first station to own an outside broadcast van. ** 3KZ was first to broadcast news of the Japanese surrender. ** Commercial licences issued to 4CH Charleville, 5MG Mount Gambier, 5EP Port Lincoln, 5MC Adelaide, 2LE Meadow Flat, 2SI Singleton, 6XY Perth, and 2NZ Narrabri, never went to air. ** Radio towers at 6WA (700 feet tall), 2LT, 2LF, 2RE (3 times), 2KO, 2QN, 2WL, 3TR, 3YB, 3CS, 4EL, 4GR, 4BU, 4BH, 4AY, 4HI, 4LG, 5UV, and 5RM, all collapsed. ** The first manager of 3XY was Tom Holt; father of Prime Minister Harold Holt. ** Catholic station 2SM banned the song “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, and the words “rape” and “pregnant” in their news. ** Melbourne had three pirate radio stations in the 1970s. ** 3LO received news via Morse code from London. ** John Laws resigned after one shift at 2PK due to a smoking ban. ** 3UZ started with one microphone, one pianola, and one gramophone. ** 2CK (Cessnock) closed after their studio was destroyed by fire for the third time. Other stations put off the air by fires included 6GE, 4QN, 2BE, 2QN, 2NI, 3HA, and 3DB. ** 2GB was the first in Australia to broadcast news on the hour, every hour, and the first to broadcast live on the internet (1998). ** 2XT was a mobile station in a train, broadcasting from 100 N.S.W. rural towns. ** 2NI (Norfolk Island) was operated by the telephone exchange operator. ** 7QT sacked one announcer for only playing hillbilly records, and another for singing along with the records. ** Australian stations at our Antarctic bases include Radio ICY, Radio COLD, and Radio BLIZZARD. ** 6WF opened with a 10,000 watt transmitter bought from Radio Luxembourg. ** An application in 1929 from 5DN to obtain Australia’s first television licence was rejected. ** 5KA experienced Australia’s first announcers strike, caused by a flea infestation. ** In 1978, 2NZ broadcast an appeal for one million green ants to make some anti-venom for a listener. ** 2BL experimented with talkback programs in 1926. ** 2UW had a relay station in Wagga Wagga (2UX) in 1927. ** 2WL started with a homemade 50 watt transmitter. ** AWA forgot that they had been issued a licence for 2GF. ** 2KM enjoyed better reception on Lord Howe Island than in Kempsey. ** 3DB relayed wildlife programs to stations in New Zealand and South Africa. ** 3KZ once stated that television would never be introduced into Australia. ** 3AK was only licensed to broadcast overnight until 1969, and banned all ABBA records. ** All the 3SR equipment in their four studios were destroyed by an announcer. ** Hardened cactus needles were often used as record needles during WWII, due to steel being diverted for military usage. ** 3LO commenced operations with all equipment powered by batteries. ** An unemployed 3DB listener bought a half hour time slot to promote himself seeking work in 1932. ** 3UZ fired 79 out of 84 staff in 1950.