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

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