By Ivor Jones
Remember the days that radio stations printed out or published their Top 10, 20 or 40 hits of the week? They were available from record stores and also appeared in some newspapers.
Popular radio personalities from the past include Ward “Pally” Austin, Malcolm T. Elliott, Bob Rogers, Gary O’Callaghan, Tony Murphy (aka Murph the Surf).
Some who started on the radio went on to later appear on television including Bob Dyer, Jack Davey and the recently departed Bert Newton.
There are also some local identities who are or have been prominent in the radio industry such as Ray Hadley, Pete Graham and Gareth McCray. The history of radio broadcasting in Australia is quite interesting, a medium that, over the past almost 100 years, has entertained and informed the population.
Within our circulation, we are fortunate to have two local radio stations in Alive 90.5FM and also Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM.
Radio was first introduced to the general population of Australia in Sydney on November 23rd, 1923 when the station 2SB started its daily broadcast. 2SB was named for Broadcasters (Sydney) Ltd (later renamed 2BL) and shortly followed by 2FC which broadcast from the roof of the Department Store of Farmer & Co Ltd.
Initially, radio, or wireless sets, were programmed to receive one station only by way of subscription similar to pay TV stations today. The more technically minded of the day found ways to overcome this so that they could tune into more than one station. The Federal government then changed the system by introducing licencing and commercialisation of stations.
In the 1920s the Albert family had joined a consortium and founded a company named the Australian Broadcasting Company with the rights to manage and program a couple of stations. By the end of the 1920s the Federal Government decided to establish the Australian Broadcasting Commission and took over the licences that the Australian Broadcasting Company had managed.
The Albert-controlled ABC subsequently changed its name to the Commonwealth Broadcasting Company and acquired the radio station 2UW and then a number of stations around the country.
Media companies such as Fairfax and others such as AWA built up nationwide networks which enabled their stations to share in the selling of advertising and also share in the cost of program production. During those early days of radio stations and networks employed actors for their radio serials and live orchestras and vocalists for their music programs and needed to provide studio space which was also used to broadcast quiz shows.
My interest in radio goes back to the mid-1960s when Donnie Sutherland and I attended a radio announcing school in York St Sydney. Donnie went on to radio and television whilst I DJ’d at dances in the Fairfield – Cabramatta area. I later joined Cumberland Community Radio (Licence holder of Alive 90.5) before it received its licence to broadcast and joined the board during the late 1980s and was a board member at the time that the station received its licence to broadcast on December 12th, 1992 with Brian Lankow as Chairman.
I became Chairman of the Station in 1994 and was Chairman when the Station received an Australia Day award for “Outstanding Community Service” in 1995. I enjoyed my time and whilst there presented and produced “Juke Box Jive” from the beginning of the station and it still continues on air today. My first co-host on that program was a young Baulkham Hills resident with a great radio voice, Kylie Roebuck.
After Kylie left the program, I was assisted by a few other people including a very talented 17-year-old student, Jo Abi who went on to commercial radio and television. I then recruited Kerima-Gaye Topp who has continued with “Juke Box Jive” until the present day. I also produced and presented programs called “Romance on the Radio” and “Moments to Remember”. Community Radio is a wonderful addition to any day so tune in when you can.