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.

July 18, 2009

Mandurah: 6MM

Mandurah is a coastal community south of the Western Australian capital city of Perth.

In the last 15 years, Mandurah has experienced massive growth from a coastal leisure town of approximately 12,000 people to a city of 67,000.

Local radio station 6MM is a latecomer to the radio dial, having commenced broadcasting in 1988.


This author has little knowledge of the Mandurah region but given its relative proximity to Perth it is possibly likely that 6MM also has to compete with the range of AM and FM stations broadcasting from Perth.

Website: 6MM

July 17, 2009

Hobart: 7TTT

Hobart, the capital of the island state of Tasmania, is the southernmost capital city in Australia.  The city was founded as a penal colony in 1803 and is Australia’s second oldest capital city behind Sydney.

Hobart now has a population of around 200,000 making it Australia’s second smallest capital city.

Hobart’s first commercial FM radio station, 7TTT, was launched in July 1990.  The station was affiliated to the national Austereo network and carried a number of syndicated programs from Austereo and was also marketed to advertisers as part of the company’s national FM network.


The branding stayed as TTT until 2003 when new owners Macquarie Media Group re-branded it as Sea FM, taking on the name of its regional FM network which has coverage along the east coast of Australia.  However, the official call-sign remains as 7TTT.

Website: Sea FM Hobart

July 13, 2009

Perth: 6PPM

6PM was Perth’s third commercial radio station when it launched in 1937 on the frequency 1000 kHz.

During the hey day of Top 40 radio in the ‘60s and ‘70s, 6PM promoted itself with slogans like ‘The Pleasure Machine’, ‘Peppermint Radio’ and later ‘6PMusic’.  In the early-‘80s, 6PM was one of several stations at the time that adopted the signature tune ‘Rhythm Of The City’ as its main slogan.

Later in the ‘80s, while fighting off the growing dominance of FM, 6PM was promoted as ‘Better Music’.

On 31 December 1990, 6PM was the first of two AM radio stations in Perth to convert to the FM bad.  The new station was branded 6PMFM (call-sign 6PPM) on the frequency 92.9 MHz.

The branding was later adjusted to drop the ‘6’ and just be known as PMFM:


PMFM dominated Perth’s radio ratings through much of the ‘90s.  After 2000, PMFM was re-branded as ‘The All New 92.9’ and later just 92.9, which continues today with the slogan ‘Perth’s Hit Music Station’.

92.9 and its sister station Mix 94.5 (6MIX) are owned by the Austereo network.

Website: 92.9

Newcastle: 2NEW

Commercial FM radio began in Australian capital cities in 1980.  It was another eight years before the national capital, Canberra, followed in 1988.

Then followed the Gold Coast in March 1989 and Newcastle in April 1989.  Newcastle’s commercial FM station was, not surprisingly, called New FM (call-sign 2NEW).

The station was launched on the 105.3 MHz frequency.

By the early ‘90s, New FM had some competition on the FM band with AM stations 2KO and 2NX converting to FM.  Also adding to the competition were new FM stations from the Central Coast, south of Newcastle.

New FM, needing to reinforce itself as the original FM station in the market, promoted itself as ‘The Original’ – using the same New FM logo it had since it had launched in 1989


New FM is now partnered with AM radio station 2HD and owned by Broadcast Operations Group as part of their Super Network of stations across New South Wales and parts of Queensland.

Website: New FM

July 11, 2009

Sydney: 2JJJ

In January 1975 the national broadcaster ABC launched its new youth music station, 2JJ, in Sydney.  Broadcasting on 1540 kHz (later changed to 1539 kHz in 1978), it was ABC’s first 24-hour radio station and was intended to be the first link in a national youth-oriented radio network.  Budget cuts meant that the ambition of creating a national network was put on hold until the late 1980s.

In 1980, 2JJ became the first radio station in Australia to move from the AM to the FM band – to the new frequency 105.7 MHz – and assigned a new call-sign 2JJJ, though the station was known on-air just as Triple J.2JJJ_1986

It wasn’t until 1989 that Triple J began to realise its early ambition of national expansion.  Triple J launched in Melbourne (call-sign 3JJJ) in October 1989 and the Triple J network would gradually open in each of the other capital cities, plus the NSW city of Newcastle, over the next twelve months. 

Triple J in 1994:


In the mid-‘90s Triple J embarked on a campaign to expand its coverage to regional markets across Australia.  A total of 44 regional markets were completed in this stage of the national roll-out.


Triple J has also expanded its brand to include online, a monthly magazine (jmag) and Triple J TV.

Website: Triple J

July 10, 2009

Melbourne: 3JOY

During most of the ‘90s there was a battle on Melbourne’s airwaves for control of the last three available FM frequencies assigned for community broadcasters.

One of the aspirant broadcasters was Joy Melbourne, a station run and aimed at Melbourne’s lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual communities. Joy made its first test broadcast on 1 December 1993 (World AIDS Day) and broadcast on a part-time basis as it had to share its frequency – 90.7 MHz – with other aspirant broadcasters. One day you could be listening to Kylie, the next you could be hearing Islamic prayer.

After years of test broadcasts, in 2001 Joy Melbourne was successful in gaining the Melbourne City broadcast licence – covering the CBD and inner suburbs – and from 2002 commences full-time broadcasting on its new permanent frequency of 94.9 MHz. At that time the station was assigned its official call-sign 3JOY.


Website: Joy 94.9

July 09, 2009

Sydney: 2UW, 2WFM

Our first featured Sydney radio station, 2UW, was launched in February 1925.  The station was originally broadcast on the frequency 1125 kHz before moving to 1110 kHz in 1935 – a time when almost every radio station in Australia was assigned a new frequency with a re-organisation of the radio dial.

2UW changed to 1107 kHz in 1978.

Over the years 2UW has featured some of the biggest names in Sydney radio – Howard Craven, Ward Austin, John Burgess, John Laws, Mike Jeffreys, Laurie Bennett, Holger Brockmann, Donnie Sutherland, Ron E Sparks, Ian MacRae, Rob Duckworth and Trevor Sinclair, just to name a few.

In the ‘60s, when radio was experimenting with catchy slogans, 2UW dubbed its announcers ‘The 11-10 Men’.  In the early ‘80s, the station was perhaps less successful when it called itself Magic 11 – nicknamed by some as ‘Tragic 11’. 


Above: 2UW in 1986.


By the early ‘90s, 2UW had settled down with the slogan ‘Classic Hits’ with a style and format that would also be picked up by other radio stations across the country.

While AM radio stations across Australia were converting to the FM band in the early ‘90s, there seemed to be a moratorium on the same happening in Sydney.  My vague memory tells me that legal action was initiated by one disgruntled AM station that had missed out on an FM licence in the bidding process, hence putting any FM conversions in Sydney on hold.  (Somebody might be able to shed some light on this)

Eventually, 2UW did manage to score one of the two FM conversion licences on offer and, in April 1994, it launched as Mix 106.5 FM (call-sign 2WFM).


Mix 106.5 is now partnered with fellow Sydney station WSFM (call-sign 2UUS) as part of the Australian Radio Network

Website: Mix 106.5

July 08, 2009

Melbourne: 3UZ

When radio began in Australia there were two classes of radio stations - ‘A’ class stations, which were funded by licence fees and limited advertising, and ‘B’ class stations which were funded entirely by advertising.

3UZ was Melbourne’s first ‘B’ class radio station when it launched in March 1925.  The original broadcast frequency was 930 kHz.

3UZ was the radio station that ‘discovered’ a young talent by the name of Graham Kennedy who later went on to embrace the new medium of television from the mid-1950s.

The station was also one of the first in Melbourne to adopt a dominant Top 40 format after the introduction of television and won many ratings surveys in the 1960s and early ‘70s.

Through the ‘70s and early ‘80s The Greater 3UZ rated well with a talkback line-up, headed by popular personalities including Bert Newton, Don Lane and Tony Barber, and racing coverage that commanded a much larger audience than what it does now.

But by 1983 3UZ took the controversial step of removing all horse racing coverage and adopted a music format: 


The new format was not a huge hit and, in 1985, the station went another direction with a country music format, again with little success.

By 1988, 3UZ was bought out by the Victorian racing industry and the station resumed exclusive coverage of horse racing, supplemented by morning and drive-time news and talk-back programs.

With a format based heavily on racing and sporting discussion, 3UZ was re-branded 3UZ Good Sports and, in 1996, later changed to Sport 927 which continues today.

With a strong signal on the 927 kHz frequency, 3UZ can be heard across much of Victoria but its regional coverage is also boosted by re-transmission sites across the State including Shepparton (1260 kHz), Bendigo (945 kHz), Ballarat (1314 kHz), Mildura (1359 kHz) and medium and low-powered FM sites in other areas.

Website: Sport 927

July 07, 2009

Geelong: 3BAY

Geelong radio station Bay FM (call-sign 3BAY) was Victoria’s first regional commercial FM station when it began broadcasting in December 1989.

The station was initially partnered with Melbourne radio station 3XY and for a while the two stations simulcast a common program schedule from studios in Geelong.

(But, more on the late 3XY in a later post…)


This logo was what launched Bay FM in 1989 and, twenty years later, is still largely unchanged.

Bay FM is now partnered with K-Rock (call-sign 3CAT) and both are owned by Grant Broadcasters Pty Ltd.

Website: Bay FM

July 06, 2009

Brisbane: 4MMM

Brisbane’s first commercial FM station, 4MMM, launched in August 1980.  The original broadcast frequency was 104.1 MHz.

A few years after its launch 4MMM adopted a new on-air branding, FM104, featuring the “rockin’ roo”.

4MMM would later move slightly up the dial to 104.5 MHz and went back to its original Triple M name as the Triple M brand was being rolled out across Australia.


By the mid-‘90s, the Triple M logo was streamlined.

4MMM and its sister station B105 (4BBB) are owned by the Austereo radio network.

Website: Triple M Brisbane

July 05, 2009

Brisbane: 4BBB

Radio station 4BK was Brisbane’s second commercial station when it launched in September 1930. The station originally broadcast on the frequency 1290 kHz and moved up the dial slightly to 1300 kHz, before moving back to 1296 kHz in 1978.

By the late ‘80s, 4BK had been bought by the Austereo network with the hope of successfully bidding for a licence to convert to the FM band. Up until then the only commercial FM station in the Brisbane market was 4MMM which started back in 1980.

Austereo was successful in gaining a licence to convert 4BK to FM and on 26 February 1990, B105 (call-sign: 4BBB) was born on the frequency 105.3 MHz.

This logo would represent B105 for over a decade:


Within two ratings survey periods of its launch, B105 had taken the old 4BK from a modest rating to be ranked Number One and B105 would continue to top the Brisbane radio ratings until 2004.

In the most recent radio ratings survey for Brisbane, B105 regained the Number One position.

4BBB and 4MMM are both owned by the Austereo network.

Website: B105

Adelaide: 5KA, 5KKA, 5MMM

Adelaide’s second commercial radio station, 5KA, was launched in March 1927. The station was first broadcast on the frequency 1200 kHz, changing to 1197 kHz when 9 kHz spacing was introduced on the AM dial in 1978.

Above: 5KA in 1989.

In 1989, 5KA was one of two AM radio stations in Adelaide to be granted a licence to convert to the FM band. The station changed to KAFM (call-sign: 5KKA) on 1 January 1990. Existing FM station SAFM (call-sign: 5SSA) considered legal action against KAFM over the use of a similar branding but did not proceed as KAFM was assumed to be a legitimate adaptation of the former AM call-sign.


In 1993, Hoyts Media (owners of the Triple M network in the eastern states) had bought KAFM but were unable to adopt the Triple M branding in Adelaide as a local community radio station already had the call-sign 5MMM. Hoyts then paid 5MMM, reportedly a six-figure sum, for the right to use the call-sign. The community station 5MMM then became 5DDD, allowing KAFM to become Triple M (call-sign 5MMM).


5MMM and 5SSA are now both owned by the national Austereo network. 5MMM also operates a relay transmitter in the Adelaide Hills district on 98.3 MHz.

Website: 5MMM

July 04, 2009

Riverland: 5RM

5RM, serving the Riverland district of South Australia, was opened in 1935.

5RM in 1985 which was also its 50th anniversary year:



And a decade later in 1995:5RM_1995 
5RM now has a sister FM station Magic 93.1 (call-sign 5RIV).

Website (Under Construction): 5RM

Kalgoorlie: 6KG

Kalgoorlie is the hub of Western Australia’s Goldfields region, located around 600 kilometres east of Perth with a population of around 30,000. 

6KG was opened in Kalgoorlie in 1931.  It was the first radio station in the region with ABC’s local station, 6GF, opening in 1936.

Above: 6KG in 1994.

By 1995, 6KG had adopted the Radio West branding as part of a network of AM radio stations across Western Australia.

6KG, still part of the Radio West network, is now owned by Macquarie Southern Cross Media which also operates a sister FM station in Kalgoorlie, Hot 97.9 FM (call-sign: 6KAR)

Website: Radio West Goldfields

Wangaratta: 3NE

3NE, serving Wangaratta and the North East of Victoria, commenced broadcasting in 1954.

Above: 3NE in 1987

By 1992, 3NE had opened a relay transmitter at Mt Buffalo on 105.3 MHz.

And some more FM translators were on air by 1994.

3NE now has a potential audience reach of around 80,000 though this number would fluctuate with tourists tuning into the station in the winter months.  The station presents a mix of locally-based and networked programming from 3AW in Melbourne.

A sister station, Edge 102.1 FM (call-sign: 3NNN), also broadcasts from Wangaratta and has translator sites across North East Victoria.

3NE and Edge FM are owned by North East Broadcasters Pty Ltd who also own radio stations 2QN and Classic Rock 102.5 (2MOR) in Deniliquin, NSW.

Although Edge FM has a website, 3NE does not appear to have an online presence, though it does have a station profile listed at Radio Sales Network.

July 02, 2009

Katoomba: 2ONE

Radio station 2KA was launched in Katoomba, west of Sydney, in 1935.

In the 1980s, TV presenter and businessman Mike Walsh purchased the station.

In 1992, 2KA converted to the FM band to become ONE FM (call-sign 2ONE).


In the late ‘90s, Walsh sold the station to the Australian Radio Network (ARN) and it is now broadcasting as The Edge 96.1.  The station is based at ARN’s Sydney studios but the broadcast signal continues to be based at Katoomba.

Website: The Edge

July 01, 2009

Alice Springs: 8HA, 8SUN

Alice Springs, located in the Northern Territory, is the centre of Australia’s rugged outback. The national broadcaster, ABC, started a local service – 5AL – after World War II though the station was initially a straight relay of ABC radio in Adelaide. (The call-sign later changed to 8AL once ‘8’ was designated for Northern Territory call-signs)

The town’s first commercial radio station, 8HA, began broadcasting in March 1971. The “HA” letters stand for “Heart of Australia”.

Above: 8HA in 1986


Above: 8HA in 1992 (apologies, the original colours are not quite as scanned)

By the early ‘90s, media laws permitted rural stations to open a secondary service on the FM band. This led to the launch of 96.9 SUN FM (call-sign: 8SUN).


Above: SUN FM in 1992.

Websites: 8HA, SUN FM, 783 ABC