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