September 30, 2010

Lismore: 2LM

Radio station 2LM, based in Lismore and broadcasting across the Richmond Rivers district and north coast region of New South Wales, began transmission in September 1936 on the frequency 900 kHz.  The station still broadcasts on that frequency today.

2LM now also broadcasts a translator service in the town of Kyogle on 104.3 MHz and has an FM sister station, 2ZZZ, which began broadcasting in the early ‘90s on 100.9 MHz.


2LM now provides a mix of news and local programming aimed at listeners in the 35 to 55 age group, supplemented by programming from Sydney radio stations 2SM and 2UE.

2LM and 2ZZZ are now part of the Super Radio Network, operated by Broadcast Operations Group.

Website: 2LM

September 04, 2010

Brisbane: 4BH

4BH was Brisbane’s third commercial radio station when it launched in January 1932.  The original broadcast frequency was 1380 kHz, shifting up the dial to 880 kHz in the mid-1970s.

The station then adjusted slightly to 882 kHz to comply with 9 kHz spacing in 1978.

4BH was part of the then national Macquarie network, though unlike its sister stations in Sydney (2GB), Melbourne (3AW) and Adelaide (5DN) which all had news-talkback formats, 4BH since 1975 had a ‘beautiful music’ format.


Above: 4BH in 1988

After the Macquarie network was disbanded, 4BH did attempt a talkback format briefly in the mid-1990s.

The station then wound up in receivership and was later sold to the owners of regional station 4QFM, based in Ipswich.  4BH later ended up under the ownership of the Australian Radio Network and was then sold to DMG Radio Australia – as ARN, which also owned music station 4KQ, had to offload 4BH when it became a joint partner (with DMG) in the new FM station licensed for Brisbane, and ARN could not own more than two stations in the one market.

DMG then sold 4BH to Southern Cross Broadcasting which also owned local talkback station 4BC.  Southern Cross’ radio assets were later sold off to Fairfax Media.

4BH and 4BC now broadcast from shared facilities in the suburb of Cannon Hill.  4BH now plays an ‘easy listening’ playlist.

Website: 4BH

September 01, 2010

Toowoomba: 4AK

Toowoomba is located approximately 127 kilometres west of Brisbane and is one of the two major centres in Queensland’s Darling Downs district.

Radio station 4AK, broadcasting on the frequency 1220 kHz, was launched in August 1935. 


4AK, being in one of the few regional markets with competing commercial stations, was able to provide a more focused playlist (as above, in 1987) rather than a generic one-format-for-all which many regional stations had to adopt.


By 1993 (above), 4AK appears to have softened its image.

4AK is now partnered with 4WK, a station formerly based in nearby Warwick, and both are owned by the Broadcast Operations Group.  4AK now broadcasts on 1242 kHz with a translator station broadcasting on 99.5 MHz in Stanthorpe.

Website: 4AK

August 24, 2010

Albury: 2AY

2AY, covering the ‘twin cities’ of Albury and Wodonga on the NSW-Victoria border, commenced broadcasting in December 1930.  The station was originally owned by Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd and its original broadcast frequency was 1480 kHz.  It changed to 1494 kHz in 1978.


Above: 2AY in 1993.


By 1993, 2AY had obtained a supplementary FM licence (call-sign: 2AAY) and transferred the ‘2AY’ branding to the FM frequency of 104.9 MHz.  This led to the 1494 kHz frequency to be re-branded as 1494AM (above).  The change was short-lived, however, as by 1995 ‘2AY’ was re-instated to the AM frequency (below) and a new branding, B104.9 (now Star FM), was adopted for the FM station.


2AY and Star FM were more recently owned by DMG Radio Australia, who then sold most of its regional stations to Macquarie Regional Radioworks, now Macquarie Southern Cross.  The new owners already held the licence for rival FM station 105.7 The River (call-sign: 2BDR) so to comply with media ownership restrictions chose to sell 2AY and keep Star FM and The River. 

Since 2005, 2AY has been owned by ACE Radio Network, operating a network of AM and FM stations across regional Victoria.  The station carries a mix of local programming and talk-back and sports programming on relay from Melbourne radio station 3AW.

Website: 2AY

August 21, 2010

Canberra: 2CC

Forty four years after the launch of its first commercial radio station, Australia’s national capital finally received a second commercial station, 2CC, in 1975.

The station was originally broadcast on 1210 kHz, adjusted to 1206 kHz in 1978.

2CC was quick to dominate Canberra’s newly competitive market with a popular music playlist.

With the launch of 2CC’s secondary station 2KIX in 1988, 2CC’s format was re-focused to ‘Classic Hits’.




2CC and former AM rival 2CA are now owned as a joint venture between Capital Radio Network and Grant Broadcasters.  2CC now broadcasts a news and talk-back format with a mix of local programming supplemented by networked programming from Sydney talk radio stations, 2GB and 2UE.

Website: 2CC

August 16, 2010

Albany: 6VA

Albany, on Western Australia’s south coast, is approximately 390 kilometres south east of Perth.  The city was founded in 1827 – two years before Perth- and  currently has a population of around 33,600.

The city’s first commercial radio station, 6VA, launched in 1956.



Above: 6VA in 1985 (top) and in 1993

6VA, broadcasting on 783 kHz, is now part of the Radio West network, owned by Macquarie Southern Cross Media, and is joined by a secondary license, Hot FM (call-sign: 6AAY) on 106.5 MHz.

Website: 6VA

August 14, 2010

Melbourne: 3FOX

Melbourne’s second commercial FM station, 3FOX, made its debut on 1 August 1980 on the frequency 101.9 MHz.

The first song played on 3FOX was Breezin’ by George Benson, though it was initially played at 45rpm before being slowed down to 33 1/3 rpm.

The station was initially branded on-air with the initials F-O-X (e.g. “3-F-O-X-F-M”) before it was streamlined to the snappier “Fox FM” or sometimes “The Fox”.

Broadcasting from studios co-located with television station ATV10 in the suburb of Nunawading, 3FOX initially had a very easy listening sound and, in an unusual move, had also come to an arrangement to simulcast the ABC radio news each weekday morning at 7.45am.

The station’s first ratings survey late in 1980 returned an audience share of 3.4 per cent for 3FOX, making it the lowest rating commercial station in Melbourne.

By the mid-1980s the music playlist was broadened to include more contemporary hits with some older favourites thrown in, and the station logo had been altered to include the fox motif.


The station had also adopted the slogan that “FM is Fox Music”.

In 1984, the station launched Australia’s first national Top 40 countdown, Take 40 Australia, hosted by Barry Bissell and produced by MCM Entertainment.  The weekly show was syndicated to radio stations around Australia and continues to broadcast today on 85 stations nationwide.

In 1986, 3FOX was bought by Austereo, the licensee of Adelaide’s SAFM, in the first step to the company establishing a national FM network.  The station’s playlist took on a more modern emphasis and with that came a more stylised logo:



In Survey 2, 1987, Fox won the ratings for the first time – with an audience share of 14.8 per cent – and continued to top the ratings in Melbourne until the first survey in 1990 when it was overtaken by FM newcomer KZFM.

Although Fox’s music format would continue to change over the next few years – including a brief dalliance into ‘Classic Rock’ in the early-‘90s – the  new logo would serve Fox in various forms right through until the re-branding of the entire network, including 2DAY, SAFM and B105, in the mid-2000s.

In the mid-90s, Fox was one of the first commercial radio stations in Australia to set up a presence on the World Wide Web.

In 1996, the Austereo network merged with the rival Triple M network which would bring 3FOX under the same roof as rival 3MMM.  Both stations now broadcast from studios in the suburb of South Melbourne.

Website: Fox 101.9

August 08, 2010

Geelong: 3GL, 3CAT

Geelong, Victoria’s largest regional city, south west of Melbourne, received its first radio station, 3GL, in December 1930.

The station originally broadcast on 1400 kHz, shifting up the dial to 1350 kHz when Australia’s radio dial was re-worked in 1935.  The station’s frequency changed again, to 1341 kHz, in 1978.

With Melbourne radio stations being heard loud and clear into Geelong, 3GL could also be heard over much of Melbourne but never posed any real threat to the Melbourne stations.



Above: 3GL in 1987 (top) and in 1989.

3GL was Geelong’s only commercial radio station until the launch of rival Bay FM (call-sign: 3BAY) in December 1989.

On 27 January 1990, 3GL converted to the FM band and the 3GL call-sign was replaced with a new official call-sign, 3CAT – named after the city’s local Australian Rules football team, the Cats – and adopted the on-air branding K-Rock, featuring the “rockin’ ‘roo” that was also used by Brisbane radio station 4MMM.  K-Rock broadcast on 95.5 MHz and 3GL’s former AM frequency, 1341 kHz, is now used by a Chinese-language broadcaster, 3CW.


At the time of its launch, K-Rock was owned by Hoyts Media which also owned Melbourne radio station 3MMM, and carried a hard rock format not unlike its Melbourne sister station.  K-Rock also maintained 3GL’s long tradition of broadcasting matches of the Victorian Football League, which was re-named the Australian Football League in 1990.

K-Rock, carrying much the same logo as it when it launched in 1990 minus the ‘roo, and Bay FM are now both part of the Grant Broadcasters radio network and broadcast from studios in the Geelong CBD.

Website: K-Rock

July 30, 2010

Perth: 6PR

Radio was almost a decade old in Australia when Perth received its first commercial radio station – 6PR – in October 1931, although Perth already had an A-class (funded by listener licence fees) radio station – 6WF – that began broadcasting in 1924 and would be a foundation station in the ABC when it was inaugurated in 1932.

6PR’s original broadcast frequency was 880 kHz – a position that it stayed at until 1978 when it moved slightly up the dial to 882 kHz with the advent of 9 kHz spacing on the AM dial.  The station still broadcasts on that frequency today.

6PR broadcast a range of program formats including ‘beautiful music’ during the 1970s, leading to 6PR gaining dominance in the Perth market.

By the late 70s the station carried a format dominated by talkback and racing coverage, as the station was owned by the state’s TAB agency.  By the early 90s, racing broadcasts were removed from 6PR when the station had secured a second frequency – 1206 kHz, formerly assigned to 6KY – to operate a dedicated racing service.


Above: 6PR in the mid-1990s.

In 1994, 6PR was taken over by Southern Cross Broadcasting which also owned the popular 3AW in Melbourne.  In the late ‘90s, Southern Cross bought FM music station 6NOW to run in tandem with 6PR.  Southern Cross re-branded the FM station on-air as 96FM.

6PR and 6NOW are now owned by Fairfax Media which bought the metropolitan radio network in the carve-up of Southern Cross Broadcasting in the late 2000s.

Website: 6PR

July 24, 2010

Warragul: 3UL, 3GG

Warragul, a town south east of Melbourne and in Victoria’s Gippsland region, received its first local radio station, 3UL, in 1937.  The letters in the call-sign are said to be taken from the last two letters in the town’s name.

The station initially broadcast further down the AM dial but eventually settled at 531 kHz, the lowest AM channel available, and could be received over much of Melbourne as well as Gippsland.

By the mid-1980s 3UL, like most other commercial AM stations at the time, had commenced transmission in stereo:


And in 1987, 3UL celebrated fifty years on-air:


In November 1989, 3UL changed its call-sign to 3GG, reflecting the station’s coverage area of ‘Greater Gippsland’ and continuing the trend of ‘double letter’ call-signs which became popular in the 1970s and ‘80s. The station had also moved its studios to the larger Gippsland town of Traralgon.


3GG is now part of the Macquarie Southern Cross regional radio network and in 2002 launched its FM sister station, Sea FM (call-sign: 3SEA), which is now Star FM, broadcasting on 94.3 MHz in Warragul and 97.9 MHz in Traralgon.

Website: 3GG

July 16, 2010

Adelaide: 5SSA

Adelaide’s first commercial FM radio station, 5SSA, launched in September 1980.  The station was originally branded Double SA-FM and broadcast on the frequency 107.5 MHz.

After a couple of years the station trimmed its on-air branding to SAFM – a moniker it continues to use to this day – and moved slightly up the dial to 107.1 MHz.  A translator station was established in the Adelaide Foothills district on 91.1 MHz – it has since moved to 90.3 MHz.


The logo above served the station in various forms through much of the ‘80s right through to the mid-2000s.

5SSA was the founding station in what has become the Austereo radio network.  The network first expanded outside of Adelaide later in the 1980s with the purchase of Melbourne’s 3FOX and Sydney’s 2DAY.  It also bought Brisbane AM radio station 4BK and successfully converted it to the FM band – as B105 (call-sign: 4BBB) – in 1990.    Austereo also owns radio stations in Perth (including Mix 94.5) and has interests in radio stations in Newcastle and Canberra.

The Austereo network now also incorporates the national Triple M network which also has a presence in Adelaide with 5MMM.

Website: SAFM

July 13, 2010

Cairns: 4CA

Cairns, located in far north Queensland, welcomed its first commercial AM station, 4CA, in May 1936.  The frequency originally allocated to the station was 1470 kHz.  It was later moved up the dial, ending up at 846 kHz, with a translator station installed in Gordonvale on 954 kHz.


4CA in 1988 (above) and in 1992 (below).


4CA did end up converting to the FM band to 102.7 MHz (call-sign: 4CCA) with the on-air branding 4CAFM, while the former AM dial position was assigned to a new station, 4EL, and branded as AM846 and later Easy Mix 846.

Prime Radio, the regional radio network owned by Prime Television, has since bought the 102.7 MHz and 846 kHz frequencies and has now converted 4CAFM back to its former AM frequency and returned its branding to 4CA, while the FM frequency is now branded Zinc 102.7.

However, 4CA (still bearing the same logo as it was back in 1988!) is still assigned the 4EL call-sign for official purposes only, and Zinc 102.7 still carries the official call-sign 4CCA.  Zinc is also relayed via translator stations 93.5 MHz in Little Mulgrave and 92.5 MHz Mossman.

Website: 4CA

July 10, 2010

Melbourne: 3KZ, 3KKZ

3KZ was Melbourne’s third commercial radio station when it launched on 8 December 1930.  The significance of the call-sign ‘KZ’ is unknown, although the station did have ties to the Labor Party which had ‘K’ in all of its radio station call-signs.

The station’s original broadcast frequency was 1350 kHz, moving to 1180 kHz in 1935 and then to 1179 kHz in 1978.

By the 1980s, 3KZ had settled into a popular ‘hits and memories’ format with a playlist focused on the hits of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.  The station also ran one of the most successful sticker promotions ever to be conducted in Melbourne, with the familiar heart-shaped 3KZ logo plastered all over Melbourne:


By the end of the ‘80s, a decade where FM radio was becoming the dominant radio medium, 3KZ more than held its own with strong ratings figures, usually sitting around the top 3 radio stations in Melbourne.  But, despite its popularity, it could not fight against the FM band forever and when the opportunity came to bid for an FM conversion licence in 1989, 3KZ bid $32 million for the privilege. 


3KZ was the highest bidder for one of the two FM conversion licences in Melbourne and chose to convert to the 104.3 MHz frequency which would place it between Melbourne’s existing commercial FM stations, 3FOX (101.9 MHz) and 3MMM (105.1 MHz).

At 12.00am on 1 January 1990, 3KZ re-launched as KZFM (call-sign: 3KKZ).  With 3KZ proven popular on the AM band, there was not much need to alter much of the station’s format in converting to FM, so the station kept its ‘hits and memories’ playlist.


Presenting Melbourne radio listeners with their first new commercial FM station in almost ten years, the conversion to FM paid an immediate dividend.  In the first ratings survey for 1990, KZFM recorded a rating of 14.6 per cent – bringing an end to an almost three-year run at the top for 3FOX – and an increase of more than three points from the last survey as 3KZ.

But as sharp as KZFM’s rise to the top was, its popularity was short-lived.  By the second survey for 1990, 3FOX was back at #1 and KZFM had dropped to third place.  KZ endured further decreases over the next four surveys, and by mid-1991 the station was sitting on a rating of 7.7 per cent, as other FM stations had emulated part of KZ’s playlist and more modern hits were creeping into KZ’s format, thereby weakening their position.  It was now rating lower than it had been on the AM band and now with the additional pressure of meeting the interest repayments on its $32 million loan that it used to fund the FM conversion bid.

In October 1991, KZFM re-focused on the hits of the ‘60s and ‘70s and re-branded itself as Gold 104 – a move that offered a definite point of difference from the other FM stations and would return ratings increases, but not enough to stop it falling into receivership.  The station later ended up in the hands of the Austereo radio network (which also owned 3FOX) before being sold to the Australian Radio Network which already owned rival station TTFM (call-sign: 3TTT).

Website: Gold 104.3

July 04, 2010

Wagga Wagga: 2WG

Wagga Wagga, located almost exactly midway between Sydney and Melbourne, claims to be the largest inland city in NSW with a population of around 47,000. 

The city’s first commercial radio station, 2WG, launched in June 1932.  It was founded by local husband and wife team, Eric and Nan Roberts.  The original broadcast frequency was 1155 kHz, later adjusted to 1150 kHz in 1935.  It now broadcasts on 1152 kHz.

By the early ‘90s, 2WG had established an FM translator station on 107.9 MHz in the town of Tumut.  It now also has a translator station on 100.7 MHz in Gundagai.



2WG also launched a sister station, FM93 (call-sign: 2WZD), on 93.1 MHz in 1994.  The station is now part of the regional Star FM network.  Star also has a translator station on 103.1 MHz in Tumut

2WG and Star are now part of the Macquarie Southern Cross regional radio network.

Website: 2WG

July 03, 2010

Coffs Harbour: 2CS

2CS was a relative latecomer to the AM dial when it launched on the NSW north coast town of Coffs Harbour.  The station was launched in December 1985, broadcasting at 639 kHz.


The station has since made the conversion to FM (call-sign: 2CFS) and is now broadcasting on 106.3 MHz with a sister station Star FM (call-sign: 2CSF) launching in 2000 on 1o5.5 MHz. 

2CS and Star FM are owned by Macquarie Southern Cross.

Website: 2CS FM 106.3

July 01, 2010

Canberra: 2KIX, 1CBR

Canberra is Australia’s national capital city – founded and designed in the early 20th century as a neutral point between Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and since 1927 has been the centre of Australia’s federal government.

On 27 February 1988, Canberra made Australian broadcasting history with the launch of two commercial FM stations on the same day.  The two stations were the first in Australia to be licensed as secondary stations to pre-existing AM radio stations.  The two new FM stations were also the first new commercial FM stations to launch in Australia since the initial roll-out of commercial FM in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in 1980.

One of the new stations to launch in 1988 was KIX106 (call-sign: 2KIX).  KIX was the supplementary station for AM radio station 2CC which was part of the Australian Radio Network.

KIX106 in 1988 (above) and in 1991 (below)



Above: KIX in 1993

In 1994, KIX was re-branded as Canberra FM 106.3.  The revamped station coincided with a change of official call-sign to 1CBR, as ‘1’ had been adopted as the radio call-sign prefix for Canberra although existing radio stations could elect to retain their NSW-based ‘2’ call-sign.


The station later adopted the branding Mix 106 and is now known as Mix 106.3.  Changes in the ownership of Canberra’s radio stations now have Mix 106.3 and rival FM station, 104.7 (call-sign: 2ROC) operating as sister stations.  The two stations are now owned in a joint venture between  Austereo and the Australian Radio Network.

2CC and its former AM rival, 2CA, are now jointly owned by Capital Radio Network.

Website: Mix 106.3

June 26, 2010

Darwin: 8DN

Darwin, Australia’s smallest capital city, received its first radio station, ABC’s 5DR (later 8DR and now 8DDD), in 1947. 

The first commercial station was 8DN, launched in 1960.  8DN  was Darwin’s only commercial radio station for over 30 years and the launch of the city’s second commercial station, FM station 8HOT in 1991, essentially led to 8DN becoming one of the few radio stations in Australia to simply cease operation.


Above: 8DN in 1989

The licensee of 8HOT, Northern Territory FM (NTFM), had taken a financial interest in 8DN prior to 8HOT commencing transmission.  This was deemed a breach of broadcasting laws that stated that no one operator shall own two radio stations in the same license area.  NTFM pledged to sell its interest in 8DN prior to 8HOT commencing broadcast, however the sale was refused by the broadcasting authority as the potential buyer of 8DN, Territory Broadcasters, was buying 8DN with an interest-free loan from NTFM, essentially continuing to give NTFM undue influence over two stations.

8DN therefore had its licence cancelled and the station ceased to broadcast from 1992. 

Ironically, it was not long after 8DN’s closure that the broadcasting rules were changed to allow a licensee to operate two radio stations in one market.

8DN’s broadcast frequency, 1242 kHz, is now used as a relay station for Queensland-based racing station Radio TAB.

June 19, 2010

Melbourne: 3TT, 3TTT

3TT made its debut at 5.00am on Easter Saturday, 2 April 1988 as the new call-sign for the station previously known as 3DB.  The name and format change followed the sale of the 3DB licence to the Albert family, whose radio network was the predecessor to the present-day Australian Radio Network.  The origin of the call-sign is not known, though it may possibly have reflected the station’s broadcast frequency – ‘Ten 26’ – 1026 kHz. 


3TT was programmed as a ‘Classic Hits’ format, featuring hits of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, as a rival to the popular 3KZ which had broadcast a ‘Hits and Memories’ format successfully for several years.  The first song played on 3TT was Listen To The Music by the Doobie Brothers – their initials, DB, providing a link to the station’s predecessor.

In 1989 the Federal Government invited bids from commercial AM radio stations for the right to convert to the FM band – with two conversion licences available in Melbourne.  3KZ gained the first licence after a record $32 million bid while, in a surprising move, low-rated station 3AK presented the second highest bid of $22 million.  3TT missed out on a conversion licence with its third-placed bid of $11 million but the station got a lucky break when 3AK defaulted on its payment – leaving 3TT the right to convert to the FM band at a third of the price of its main rival, 3KZ.

3TT made the move to the FM band at 12.00am on Sunday, 24 June 1990 (almost twenty years ago to the day).  The last song played on 3TT before midnight was the same as the first song played in April 1988 – Listen To The Music by the Doobie Brothers.

3TT’s conversion to FM led to the station adopting a new three-letter call-sign, 3TTT, with the on-air branding as ‘Classic Hits TTFM’, maintaining a similar format to its AM predecessor.  The first song played on TTFM was In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins.


The Classic Hits format still struggled to gain a decent audience on FM, so by the early ‘90s the station adopted a more contemporary format, accompanied by a colourful logo – 101.1 TTFM.  The move led to a ratings boost, with the station eventually claiming #1 spot in two surveys in 1995.


In 2001, TTFM had a change of image.  The station adopted a new branding, Mix 101.1, with a similar logo to its Sydney counterpart Mix 106.5.

Mix 101.1 now plays a contemporary music format, aimed at tackling rival station Fox.

Website: Mix 101.1

June 13, 2010

Sydney: 2UE

2UE was the first “B”-class (the predecessor to commercial) radio station in Australia when it launched on 26 January 1925.  The station’s original call-sign was 2EU, after the station’s owner Electrical Utilities, but it was later directed to change to 2UE.  Apparently, over the air the callsign “2EU” came across as sounding like “who are you?”  The original broadcast frequency was 1025 kHz, changing to 950 kHz in 1935 and then 954 kHz in 1978.

In 1958, with the advent of television threatening radio, 2UE  was the first station in Australia to adopt the “Top 40” music format which had been successful in the United States.  The format led to 2UE publishing Australia’s first Top 40 chart each week. 

The Top 40 concept was later adopted by other stations around Australia, including 3UZ Melbourne, 5AD Adelaide, 4BC Brisbane and 6KY Perth.

In later decades 2UE adopted more a talk-based format but it was in 1986 that 2UE, and its Melbourne counterpart 3AK, launched another bold initiative in radio – network talk-back.


In June 1986, 2UE and 3AK adopted a single on-air branding – CBC – with much of their schedule in simulcast with each other, with some exceptions for prime shifts such as breakfast where each station had its own program.  It was a bold experiment given that radio audiences are particularly parochial and many talk-back topics do not travel well outside of their home cities.  Melbourne listeners also took umbrage to their 3AK being run by Sydney interests and being dominated by Sydney-based talent, and the ratings reflected that.  The ratings were not as dire in Sydney, but still lagged well behind the top-rating stations at the time.

As a result CBC, in its initial format, was short-lived.  2UE and 3AK later went their separate ways while still maintaining elements of the talk-back format.  Both stations adopted the branding ‘Newsradio’, but 3AK soon ditched the talk format entirely.


2UE continued to present a talk-back format and, with top-rating names like Alan Jones and John Laws starting each weekday, the station built up its ratings to become a dominant force in Sydney radio for many years.



The eventual move of Alan Jones to rival station 2GB, and the retirement of Laws, has seen 2UE lose a lot of its ratings shine and is now sitting well down the ratings ladder.

2UE is now owned by Fairfax Media, the company that also owns talk-back stations 3AW Melbourne, 4BC Brisbane and 6PR Perth and music stations 4BH Brisbane, 96FM Perth and Magic 1278 (3EE) Melbourne.

Website: 2UE

April 18, 2010

Melbourne: 3MP

This blog has been lying dormant for a while… so let’s give it a kick-start on what is a significant day for one Melbourne radio station.

At 12.00pm today, 18 April 2010, radio station 3MP ceased to exist as we have known it.  The station, presenting an Easy Listening format since 1986, has struggled in the ratings competition for the last several years.  3MP’s owners, Pacific Star Network, have now set up a joint venture with Sydney radio broadcaster Macquarie Radio Network (owner of 2CH and top-rating 2GB) to operate a talk-back station on 3MP’s frequency, 1377 kHz, mixing a local talkback format with networked programming from 2GB.

1377 MTR – Melbourne Talk Radio – launches at 6.00am tomorrow morning with Steve Price (ex-3AW and ex-2UE), followed by Steve Vizard, Chris Smith (via 2GB), Martin King (A Current Affair), Ross Greenwood (via 2GB) and Luke Grant (ex-2HD).

The original 3MP was launched in July 1976.  It was the first new commercial radio station in Melbourne since 3XY first appeared in 1935.  The station’s original broadcast frequency was 1380 kHz, shifting slightly to 1377 kHz with the re-alignment of the AM radio band in 1978.


Based in Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula (hence the call-sign “MP”), 3MP traditionally had an emphasis on the southern suburbs and bayside communities and presented a rock music format that was a little softer than 3XY which was not far up the dial on 1420 kHz.

By about 1984, 3MP had mellowed somewhat, settling into a hits-and-memories playlist and the slogan ‘The Way You Are Today’.


When rival station 3AK shocked its listeners by abandoning its long-running, and popular, Beautiful Music format on 1 January 1986, 3MP quickly responded.  The station was to relaunch itself as Easy Listening and spent the next two weeks re-working its music library, recording promos, hiring announcers and updating its logo and publicity material.  Easy Listening 3MP launched by mid-January 1986.

The effect of the radical change in formats between 3AK and 3MP saw both stations literally swap positions in the ratings ladder.  When the first radio ratings survey of 1986 was released, 3MP leapt up from a low 4.5 per cent to a very competitive 10.0 per cent of the Melbourne audience.  3AK in the same period fell from 10.4 to 3.4 per cent.

3MP continued to rate at the top end of the ladder for several years, but it started to come undone in the mid-1990s.  The station had bought rival radio station 3EE – 693 kHz – as the laws had now allowed one owner to have two stations in a single market.  3MP initially turned over 693 kHz to a straight relay of 1377 kHz to strengthen its audience reach across Melbourne, as 1377 was clearer only in the southern, eastern and bayside suburbs.  The broadcasting authority ruled that 3MP was not allowed to broadcast the same program on both frequencies and would have to set up a new format on 693.  3MP then responded with a new station – Magic 693 – broadcasting a big-band and old-time classics playlist from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.  Magic became a hit with listeners and gradually starting taking numbers away from 3MP. 

Then 3MP and Magic 693 were sold to Southern Cross Broadcasting which also owned radio stations 3AW and 3AK.  Southern Cross decided to keep 3AW and Magic and sell off the lower-rating stations, 3MP and 3AK.  3MP’s decline continued when Magic then broadened its playlist to a wider playlist, and so 1377 became less of a match for 693.

3MP was sold to Goulburn Valley Broadcasters and then to Data and Commerce Limited (now Pacific Star Network).

The first song played on 3MP back in July 1976 was Howzat! by Sherbet – it was also the last song played on 3MP before handing over to MTR 1377.

Website: Melbourne Talk Radio

August 02, 2009

Sydney: 2DAY

One radio station that’s been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons…

2DAY was one of Sydney’s first two commercial FM stations when it launched in August 1980.  The station’s original licence holders included a consortium of prominent media identities including Mike Willesee, John Laws and Graham Kennedy.

The station originally broadcast with a soft rock/easy listening theme and even included a weekly comedy segment presented by Kennedy.

By the late ‘80s 2DAY was bought out by the Austereo network, which at that stage already owned 5SSA Adelaide and 3FOX Melbourne, and the playlist was turned into a pop/rock-oriented format.


A new logo was launched in 1990 which served in various forms until the mid-2000s:


Website: 2DAY

August 01, 2009

Launceston: 7LA

7LA was the first commercial radio station in Launceston, Northern Tasmania, when it launched in 1930.  The station originally broadcast on 1100 kHz before shifting to 1098 kHz in 1978.

In the early 1930s, 7LA offered to carry a relay of programs from the national broadcaster, ABC, from Melbourne for several hours a day as the broadcaster did not have a local presence in Northern Tasmania.  ABC declined the offer and instead opened their own station, 7NT, in 1935 on the frequency 750 kHz (later adjusted to 711 kHz).

Launceston’s second commercial station, 7EX, opened in 1938.


Above: 7LA in 1993.

For reasons not known to this author, Launceston remained excluded from the spread of commercial FM throughout regional Australia – with 7LA and 7EX left plugging away on the AM band.  Development of the FM band in the region may have been hampered by ABC’s local TV outlet – ABNT3 – occupying a VHF frequency that interfered with the FM band.  ABC eventually moved ABNT to a UHF channel during the ‘90s but continued to simulcast on both VHF and UHF channels until well into the 2000s.

It was not until late-2008 that 7LA made the move to the FM band, re-launching as LAFM (call-sign 7LAA), broadcasting on the frequency 89.3 MHz.

7NT and 7EX have also moved to the FM band to 91.7 MHz and 90.1 MHz respectively.

LAFM is now a member of Tasmanian Broadcasters, operated by Grant Broadcasters.

Website: LAFM

July 20, 2009

Hobart: 7HT, 7TAB

7HT was Hobart’s second commercial radio station when it launched in 1937.  For the next 53 years, 7HT and its older rival 7HO would be the only commercial radio stations in Hobart.


7HT in 1988, above, and a few years later, in 1992:


With the arrival of commercial FM radio into the city in 1990, top-rating local station 7HO chose to convert to FM to rival newcomer 7TTT.  7HT chose to stay on the AM band and, along with its Northern Tasmanian partner 7EX, it converted to a talk and racing format with the new branding 7TAB:


A more sophisticated look followed in 1994:


As a result of the change 7HT changed its licence from a commercial radio station to a narrowcast licence devoted to racing.  This led to the licencing of a new commercial radio station in Hobart, 7XXX on 107.3 MHz which commenced operation in 1998.

7TAB is now known as TOTE Sports Radio with 1080 kHz in Hobart the primary transmitter and FM transmitter sites across Tasmania, including Launceston where 7EX is now on 90.1 MHz (call-sign: 7EXX).  TOTE Sports Radio broadcasts a combination of local programming and program content relayed from Sport 927 (3UZ) in Melbourne.