The history of Australian Radio is quite interesting and impelling. The first Australian radio station was 2Sb of Sydney, Australia. This channel was launched by the Amalgamated Wireless Australia, a radio company, which was trying to experiment with radio broadcasts since the year 1920. The company aimed to sell radio sets, which were tuned to one single frequency. Thereafter two stations were launched in Sydney, followed by 3AR station in Melbourne and 6WF in Perth.
In the year 1927, the Royal Commission for wireless broadcasting was formulated from listener dissatisfaction with the radio channels. As a result, the Government established the National Broadcasting Service in the year 1928, which provided service on payment of a compulsory license fee. The Postmaster General’s Department was invested with the duty of maintaining this radio service, but it failed to do so. As a result, the Australian government set up the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the year 1932 to manage the National Broadcasting Service.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission then handled 12 stations of the Australian Radio—2FC and 2BL in Sydney, 4QG in Brisbane, 6WF in Perth, 3AR and 3LO in Melbourne, 5CL in Adelaide, 7ZL in Hobart and relay stations 2NC in Newcastle, 5CK in Crystal Brook and 4RK in Rockhampton. The first day programmes comprised of the Children’s Session with Bobby Bluegum, British Wireless News, ABC Women’s Association Session, the first sports programme Racing Notes, Morning Devotions, a chat session on goldfish and their care and music. In the initial days, each State ran its own programmes but by the end of 1933, there were customary programme relays between the major Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.
Most of the early programmes were musical ones and Shakespearean drama was performed live on the radio stations. Many eminent personalities were also asked to deliver speeches on the Australian Radio and by 1935, school broadcasting had started. In the year 1936, the first news editor was appointed by the ABC to compile a national news programme, which was broadcast in all states except Western Australia. During the period of Second World War, strict censorship rules were imposed on the radio programmes of Australian Radio. During this period, women gained eminent positions in the Australian Radio stations all over the country as most men participated in the Second World War.
In the year 1975, the Australian Government started ethnic broadcasting to deliver important information to the Australian population, which consisted of non-English speaking people. This plan was finalised with the setting up of Special Broadcasting Service in 1977 to manage 2EA and 3EA stations as multi-lingual one. This service was later expanded to include FM and TV broadcasting. In the 1980’s, the Australian Broadcasting Commission became a Corporation and moved into satellite broadcasting.
In the year 1975, community broadcasting was started on FM band with one or two frequencies available for each Australian city. The latest youth station Triple J was expanded in the year 1989 from 2JJJ and by 1990 was available in all major Australian capital cities. The popular channels of Radio National, ABC Canberra and FM have played an instrumental part in popularising the Australian Radio.