The History of Newcastle Radio Stations
By Spero Davias

By Spero Davias

(updated 16/11/2020)

      Radio for me started with the Coca Cola Bottlers Club... After a gruling day at the old Newcastle East Primary School, come afternoon,  we would rush down the hill,  dash up Hunter St and into the CML Building, wait for the slowest lift in town,  then head up to the 6th floor 
 and into the 2KO Studio, grab a seat,  just in time for the start of the Coca Cola Botlers Club with John Laws... the rest is History

Bits n Pieces

2KO Newcastle

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations



Call sign: 2KKO is an Australian radio station, serving Newcastle and surrounds. It broadcasts at 102.9 megahertz on the FM band from its Mount Sugarloaf transmitter via it's studios in the Harbour Forshore . It is owned by Southern Cross Austereo and Its sister station is NXFM. As from the 9-Nov-2018, KOFM  has, been rebadged as Triple M 102.9 Newcastle.


Further notes on 2KO

9th Nov 2018....  KOFM To Become Triple M Newcastle, A new era for Newcastle's No.1 station

The Honourable Sir Allen Fairhall KBE

Sir Allen Fairhall KBE  Sir Allen Fairhall Morrison, Ronald John. Allan Fairhall K.B.E.

Allen Fairhall
was born at Morpeth, NSW on the 24 November 1909, and attended East Maitland Boys' High School. After school he was apprenticed as an electrical fitter at the Walsh Island Dockyard in Newcastle, while attending Newcastle Technical College. At the same time he developed an interest in radio and gained an amateur radio licence. He was able to convince the then Postmaster-General's Department that Newcastle needed a second commercial radio station.
In 1931 he established 2KO
. During World War II he worked on the supply of signals equipment for the Australian armed services. From 1941 to 1944 he was an alderman of the City of Newcastle. He was an Australian politician and a Member of the Parliament of Australiafor the Division of Paterson from 1949 to 1969. During that period he held a number of ministerial portfolios, most notably Supply and Defence.

Former presenters 2KO
Pat Barton. (the Late) between '70s - mid '90s, As Steve Tippett says "I worked with a lot of these people from 1972 til 1981 at both 2KO & 2HD. The 70's was a fantastic time to be in radio. I have many wonderful memories of these people and still catch up today. Not to take away from anyone I worked with but, I had a fantastic time with Pat Barton at 2KO, nothing like seeing that happy smiling face at 3.30 am to start your day! Chris Dibley, wrote,  Stuart Dibley  worked with Pat Barton at 2KO (after WWII went to Wollongong radio first) and the to 2HD with Pat coming over later. Wrote and played in very popular "Yes What" radio comedy evenings, still remembered by most older Novocastrians (BTV = before TV) later became Sales Manager.
David Jones August 1991 until December 1998 with Teenah Bernice James Aloyius Montgomery Max *Elma Gibbs *Ron Roberts
Clayton Brown - Breakfast Producer (David and Tanya)/ Announcer / Voice Artist..."The Fugitive"               Catherine McLaughlin, David Evans, reminded me of Catherine McLaughlin as an early 2KO announcer and the famous Victor Ice Cream show so popular for many years.
David Mulley  mid 60's,  By Golly its the David Mulley show Andy Simpson '80's early '90s & he is still there,
Mal Hedstrom 1987 to 2001 - doing afternoons and 9-12.

Harold Pickhover cheif Announcer 40's John O'Brien John Jones Sam Kronja
Bert Burns  mid 60's Ron Gibson Cliff Musgrave Leon Bailey
Mal Headstrom  '80s/early '90s, Peter Harn Allan Lappan 'where the hits happen'
Gary Meadows
John Laws, 60's Gary Meadows John Melouney Mal Elliott
Warwick Teece  mid 60's John Thompson Gray Clark  mid 60's Ed Webster
Mike Jefferys, 3-6 p.m shift, late 60's
Peter Meehan Tony Stanton John Waite
"Big Steve" Wakely 1968 Peter O'Callaghan
Jim Stewart (Jim Ball) Chuck Hobler
Alan McGirvan Ron French Tommy Tucker (late) Paul Turner 70's
Tony "Music" Williams (the late)
Brian Towers (Wayne Kerrick) Tim Webster Vince Neill
Lee Cornell 70's Ross Weldon 60s-70's
Barry Coleman Iain Edwards
Art Ryan Paul (Cracka) Hardy (late) Peter Graham programmanager Bill Grundy
Matt Tapp Bob Gallagher Mike Connors Ron Hurst 80's
Ray Waite,  '70s/'80s, Richard King    '80s/early '90s, Fiona Cameron Selwyn Jones
David Jones Clif Musgrave Stewart Horne John O'Callaghan

Wayne Mason Frank Fursey Jo King
Nat Jeffery John Paige David Ross Barry Graham
Kev Kellaway '80s/early 90's, Peter Brennan Mike Duncan, The 80's Guys 2010) Pete Davis
Mike Ahern Condon* Dion Clewett John Williams  vk4jjw Nick "Nicko"
Peter Buckley 1982 John Henry  '70s/'80s Ron Gibson
Tina Bernice  early '90s,
Ray Waite Phil Hunter  mid 60's (late) John Jenner "Gray Clarke after dark"

Tim Webster Matt Hayes John Rogers, 60's

The 2KOFM Technical side...
By Sir Allen Fairhall, K.B.E., VK2KB 
This story was originally published in Amateur Radio in 1974

"I had built my first working receiver in 1924 when there was little official broadcasting but with amateurs providing a good deal of rough interest. When serving an apprenticeship to Electrical Fitting in the years 1925 on, I met fellows who actually knew the amateur broadcasters including 2CS, 2MS and some others. Then the bug bit and I became A2KB in 1927 complete with a UX201A in TPTG, Slop Jar rectifier and an OV1 receiver. 
My interest also led me to build an Electric Gramophone with a pair of UX250's with all of ten watts output. The Great Depression hit the bottom of its curve coincident with the end of my apprenticeship in 1929 and I was looking for a non-existing job for quite a while, meantime filling in the rest of the day on 40 metres. Those were the happy days when amateurs could still romp on the 240 metre band. 
It occurred to me that a little publicity might drum up a little business in radio servicing. So Sunday mornings found tank coils switched to 240, the gramophone tied in as a modulator and 2KB became a regular Sunday Morning Broadcaster to the great content of listeners charmed by faithful rendition of such records as I was able to borrow. Some of it was even very good, since I was ignorant of little things like copyright and played one or two well known works over the air which were banned to every other Broadcaster. Then out of the blue some hopeful business man asked me to do some advertising. Sadly I refused. But a great light dawned and with my hand shaking with eager anticipation I wrote to the Chief Radio Inspector and had the temerity to ask for a "B" Class Licence. 
Twelve months went by while I floated a company, argued myself into the support of local organisations, and waited. Then one day, the licence turned up. However, I soon learned that having a licence was one thing - knowing what to do with it was something else. Money was now needed in what was considerable quantity for the hard times we were enjoying. Raising money for Broadcasting Stations has come a long way since 1931 but the result then was a big round lemon. 
After another six months the Radio Inspector was breathing down my neck, 'Use it or send it back!' I was not going to give in that easily. I bought another length of oregon and raised the rear mast to make it 40'.  
Then  I  turned  my  UX210  TPTG  into  a power amplifier with crystal control, bought a microphone on the 'pay if ever I can basis' and 2KO Newcastle was in business. 
In the 240 metre days I met a young character by the name of Pickhover who knew where there were stacks of gramophone records for the borrowing. He became Chief Announcer and between us we managed to do a reasonable job as engineers, copywriters, announcers, salesman, accountants and anything else that has to be done around a Broadcast Station. 
It seemed acceptable to the Radio Inspector who gave his blessing to the use of 6 watts in a suburban back yard on a temporary basis. Now our 9am Sunday morning station became a fixed 1 hour programme after which it shut down until 7pm. There was one snag. The trawlers fishing the NSW Coast at the time used 240 metres CW to check fish prices to see whether it was worth bringing the catch in. They mostly managed to chose 9am on a Sunday morning and their signals were mostly RST 592 and the QRM was killing our audience. 
Our routine on Sunday mornings became to key the rig and tell the trawlers in Morse to  get the hell off our frequency and let us entertain the populace. This is the only case to my knowledge of a Commercial Broadcasting Station sending CW. For the record it is interesting to note that the 2KO Newcastle Station Log Book shows the revenue for the first month came from two commercial announcements at 4 shillings each!"

Note: Max Spitzkowsky was one of the early technicians at 2KO.

Early Programming on 2KO

As advertised 4th Aug 1931
Wavelength, 212 metres.
Early Playlist
7.30 Band music. Radio rhythm

8.00 Rienzi overture.
8.50 Ruth Ettling.
8.10 "Rose of  Tralee," John McCormack.
8.55 "Viennese Nights."
8.15 "Valse September"
9.00 News service and weather reports.
8.20 "Souvenir."
9.05 Bransby Williams., elocutionist.
8.25 Old Musical comedy gems.
9.10 "Wake Up and Dream."
8.35 Peter Dawson, baritone.
9.15 "Simple Aveu"
8.40 "Belle of New York," selection.
9.20 (Mischa Elman).
8.45 "New Moon.".
9.25 Bransby Williams

9.30 Meditation music

10.00 Close

2KO Bits n Pieces... Various Snippets

David Lister's Grandmother Lydia Lister (née Petherbridge)
 left is ‘Auntie Gwen’ with two of her ‘radio children’, on the right was possibly taken when she was opening a fete
From our contributor David Lister,

From Joyce Baker..

Denise Flannery writes,

From Pamela Naylor:

I attended Ron Hurst's children programme in 1956 (before John Laws) but cannot recall the name. The ads were read by children and in a segment called "Stop the Music" If you correctly identified a group of songs, the prize was a Malvern star bike. Whatever happened to Ron Hurst after that ?

From Contributor:  Janet Heath

I am interested in added just a little more to your 2KO history.  There was a kid’s radio show in the early 50’s before the one you call the Coca Cola Bottlers Club.  
I’m not sure how old I was but just into High School so about 54/55 when I was say 12.  I caught the bus to town, climbed the hill and joined a queue to try and get a front row seat for 2KO’s “Victor Ice Cream Show.” The show opened with us kids all singing “This is the Victor Ice Cream Show, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! we’re on the air at 2KO. It’s brought to you by Victor a name that you all know, it’s the best show on the radio.”  A few more lines which at 77yrs of age unfortunately I have now forgotten.  Of course the best part for most of the kids was we all left with an ice-cream in hand.   
But for me it was the singing and they held a Talent Quest one year which I won singing “Ivory Tower.” It was recorded for me but unfortunately the tape actually stripped off the record after many years in my mothers cupboard.They had a blind chap (and I hate myself for forgetting his name) playing the organ to accompany us.  One year he auditioned a great batch of us girls; in a circle he walked around and put his ear close to our face and gradually we were whittled down to three girls. We became part of The Interval Show along with dog-acts, ventriloquists, balancing acts etc at the very large movie theatre at Broadmeadow 9 ways. One song we sang was “in the Chapel in the Moonlight” where I was selected to sing the middle 8 (bars) of the song solo. When the crowd applauded that was “it” for me, my career path was set, I was going to be a cabaret singer. 
Got carried away a bit there just wanted to let you know about the previous show, sorry. 
Janet Heath (sang as Jan Porter) 

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations


2HD Newcastle
Australia's second oldest existing radio station.


2HD History 1925-1945
2HD began broadcasting on 27 January 1925, a day after Sydney's 2UE began operations, making it Australia's second oldest existing radio station. The station's call sign are the initials of the founder, Harry Douglas, not "Hunter District" as commonly believed. Douglas was a keen amateur radio enthusiast, and an alderman on the Newcastle City Council from 1919 to 1922.
The station was originally in the suburb of Hamilton, but moved to the corner of Darby and King Streets soon after. Douglas sold the station to William Johnston in 1928, who sold the station to the Airsales Broadcasting Company two years later in 1930. Airsales owned the company for 10 years, and was responsible for the move to its landmark studio building in Sandgate, which was 2HD's home for nearly 50 years. Although the building itself is very different, the middle section of the building is still the 1931 building.
Under controversial circumstances during World War II, 2HD was closed in 1941, under the National Security Regulations. At the time, around 25 staff were employed by the station, and stories claimed that the station's owners were sending covert messages, based on the timing of the music being played etc. 2HD remained silent until near the end of the war when the Australian Labor Party and the Labor Council of New South Wales bought the station, and resumed transmissions on 15 January 1945. One of 2HD's notable personalities of the 1930s was Uncle Rex Sinclair, who continued to perform on local radio and stage until shortly before his death in 2001.

 2HD landmark studio building in Sandgate
The Labor Party and the NSW Labour Council owned 2HD from 1945 until 1999. For the first 29 years of its ownership, the station was under the management of Jim Storey, with his wife Twink acting as program director and on-air personality. Other announcers during this time included Harry Randall, Stuart Dibbley and Tom Delaney.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, 2HD was one of the founding shareholders of local television station NBN Television.
2HD broadcast in the popular The Good Guys of Life format, also used by other stations, including 2SM Sydney.
Presenters during this time included Harry Randall, Tom Delaney, Art Ryan, Haff Enegg, Mal Lamonte, John Hill, Allan McGirvan, Mike Jeffries, Malcolm Elliott, Keith Harris, Graeme Gilbert, Don Mayo, Rob Maynard and Cliff Musgrave. Towards the end of this period, announcer Geoff Gregory joined the station, but was better known as a program director, and host of the Sunday night program Country Sounds.
After the Good Guys era ended, 2HD transmitted other formats including Easy Alternative and country. In 1977, the original office building on Maitland Road Sandgate was closed. Several years prior to that, the building was gradually being demolished, starting with the destruction of the original transmitter building to make way for a dual carriageway along Maitland Road in 1964. The increased traffic and the location of the road near the old building was taking its toll. A new administration building, nicknamed "the submarine" was built, and NSW Premier Neville Wran opened the building in 1977.

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, the station was the subject of a takeover bid from NBN, which resulted in a shake-up in ownership at the television station, and the bid was eventually rejected.
For decades after the end of the "Good Guys" era, the station's ratings were in the doldrums, however, the station accomplished its first number one ratings success in 1987, after adopting a strong news and talk format. Factors in this success were the recruitment of 2KO's Pat Barton to present their breakfast program, and Warwick Teece, whose Openline program was a huge success.
Program Director Peter Butler was a key part of the station's success, guiding the team to the top of the ratings. The coverage of the Newcastle Earthquake in 1989 by the news team, led by Tony Briscoe, won the station a National Radio Award. The 90's saw 2HD confirm its place as the top rating station in Newcastle, led by the breakfast team of David Collins and Tanya Wilks who notched up over 8 years of consecutive survey wins, and supported by Geoff Jay and Richard King.
The station expanded, following the purchase of local FM station New FM in 1995, which resulted in internal remodeling of the building. In 1999, the NSW Labor Party and NSW Labour Council sold the station to Bill Caralis / Super Radio Network
In 1997, the station added the John Laws morning program to its lineup, becoming a ratings success. After Laws retired, Steve Price took on the morning shift, then in 2010, Steve Lieberman. The station lineup in 2011 consists of Richard King for Breakfast, John Laws (returned 31 January 2011), Meryl Swanson in the Afternoons from 12-4pm, Talkin' Sport from 4 - 7pm, Graeme Gilbert with Talk Tonight and Gary Stewart Overnight.

Former presenters on 2HD
Graeme Gilbert mid 60's and still going Allan Lappin 'where the hits happen'
Pat Barton -1987 Recruitment from 2KO David Collins and Tanya Wilks, Breakfast
Mal Hedstrom - 1979 doing drive
Geoff Gregory, PD & Sunday nights Country Sounds

Brian Blacklock Tom Delaney, 50's HarryDouglas, early years Harry Randall  50's
John Rogers, 60's
Stuart Dibley, 50's Steve Price Twink Storey, Victor Icecream show
Graeme Gilbert mid 60's Meryl Swanson,  Afternoons Haff Enegg Art Ryan
Steve Owens 70's Ray Waite Luke Grant, Breakfast Steve Price, Morning
Carter Edwards Alan McGirvan Ted Bull Mal Lamonte
David Collins, Breakfast Peter Bradley Rod Spargo Keith Harris
John Hill   60's
Malcolm T Elliot Scott Maynard aka Rob Brooks
Mike Jeffries Cliff Musgrave Tanya Wilks, Breakfast Steve Lieberman 2010
Brad Carr  '80s, (late)  Night John Laws Keith Harris Gary Stewart, Overnight
Richard King for Breakfast Tim Webster Don Mayo Geoff Jay 70's 80's
John Moorehouse
David Jones, Drive Peter Bradley, Studio Manager
Greg Grainger
Gray Gilbert
Harvey Deegan

Current 2HD Presenters 2018
Richard King and Kim Bauer, breakfast M to F 5.30 till 9.00
The John Laws Morning Show Weekdays 9am-12pm
Brent Bultitude Weekdays 12pm-4pm
Dave Cochrane Weekdays 12am  5am
Graeme Gilbert Weekdays 8pm-12am
Gary Stewart Weekdays 12am-5am
Barry Hill Weekdays 12am-5am
Grant Goldman Weekdays 5am-5.30am
Dean Mackin Sat 12-6pm
Carter Edwards Sat / Sun 6-12am
Pete Davis Sun 8-11am
Dave Sutherland Sun 8-11am
Dave Cochrane, Sun 8-11am

2HD Bits n Pieces... Various Snippets

DAVE AND THE DERROS - Nice Legs, Shame About The Face (1979)

CountDown Video
Dave And The Derros was created by lead singer David Jones. Jones was a radio station disc jockey based in Newcastle N.S.W and wrote novelty songs for his radio show. David had a large repertoire of radio character voices, one of which was his beloved Dave the Derro. David liked to make parody songs for his radio show. This eventually allowed him to work up an act based on "Dave". He complemented his performances with an ever changing backing band of musos. Some of these various musos also backed John Paul Young. Dave and the Derros also released an album in 1980 called 'Live After Death' which features most of these singles.
David Jones (vocals), Trevor Parkinson (guitar), Kevin Buckingham (guitar), Bert Moonen (bass) Steve Connellan (drums), David Baldwin (drums)

From Margaret Burns

 Hi Spero, Thank you for including 2HD, my grandfather, HarryDouglas' station in your radio history project. As you have mentioned, he was a great amateur radio enthusiast and well ahead of his time, not only with radio but also other ventures in Newcastle. He did actually broadcast under the amateur status for many years prior to going commercial in 1925. Also, whilst my grandfather was known as "Harry", his correct name was Hugh Alexander McKay Douglas.
Margaret Burns 2HD - the 1st radio station in Newcastle! Started by my grandfather, Hugh (Harry) Douglas, hence 2HD. Started as a hobby in 1917 and still going strong.
From Joyce Baker...

Remember Mad Mel who used to relay through from Sydney onto, maybe, 2HD.
Of course there was Greg Grainger who did the night shift on 2HD for a while. He went on to bigger and better things.

From.. Lyn McLardy
When I was little girl Twink Story used to host a Saturday morning show for kids who dressed up and paraded to win a prize . I remember once I went as the Queen of Tarts and ate the jam tarts before the parade. Not exactly sure where it was but think it was The Tatler? Or where Theo Goumas had his first theatre.

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations

2NX Newcastle

NXFM (call sign: 2XXX)
Is an Australian radio station, serving Newcastle, New South Wales and surrounding areas. It broadcasts at 106.9 MHz on the FM band from its studios in Charlestown. (Recently moved to Honeysuckle on the harbour) It is owned by Southern Cross Austereo and is a sister station to KOFM.
NXFM's history can be traced back to Singleton radio station 2HR, owned by Hunter River Broadcasters Pty. Ltd. The station launched on August 30, 1937. Shareholders included the Singleton Argus and the Robinson Family. Three years later, the station was moved to Maitland, with transmitter at Lochinvar.
In those days, 2HR operated on 680 kHz with 300 watts of power, and was affiliated with the Macquarie Broadcasting Network. Programs were originated locally between 6:30 am and 6:30 pm, before taking the Macquarie feed at 6:30 pm.
In the 1950s, 2HR was relocated to Newcastle, with its transmitter located in Bolwarra. Station manager Ken Robinson was a former Army officer, and his identification number had the letters NX. Therefore, the station was given the callsign 2NX, and a new frequency at 1341 kHz.

In the period between the 1950s and 1970s, 2NX's owners Hunter Broadcasters were purchased by the Catholic Broadcasting Company, owned by the Catholic Church. 2NX programming was relayed to 2NM overnight during this time, and was identified as 2NXNM.

In the early 1990s, the Catholic Church got out of broadcasting, and sold 2NX to Radio Newcastle, which was later taken over by Austereo, and then sold a 50% stake to RG Capital Radio Network (which was taken over by Macquarie Bank). 

Whilst owned by Kevin Blyton2NX was granted a license to convert to FM in the '90s and moved to 106.9 MHz, branding itself originally as X107, before changing to its current name, NXFM. On April 2011 Southern Cross Media bought out Austereo for more than 700 million giving Southern Cross Media full ownership of NX FM.
NXFM are a sponsor of local A-League team the Newcastle Jets.

Kevin Blyton
Kevin Blyton
One of the most unassuming yet experienced and influential owners and operators in the industry, Kevin Blyton has been in the radio industry for over 35 years. Kevin began his career at the age of 17 as an announcer at 2XL in Cooma and two years later bought the station. He went on to buy and sell stations across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT, Western Australia and Queenstown, New Zealand and was one of the pioneers of the FM band in regional Australia in the early 90s withNewcastles X107FM
Kevin launched Eagle FM & Snow FM in the late 90's then expanded his interests, with the purchase of Snowy Mountains Theatres, Snowy Mountains Airport and Charlotte Pass Ski Resort and the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel.
Kevin served on the Commercial Radio Australia Board since 1999 and during that time chaired both the Regional Committee and the Digital Technical Advisory Committee. Kevin has been a strong and respected voice for regional radio and an advocate of the rights of regional broadcasters to a digital broadcast future. He was inducted into the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame at the 2013 Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs).

2NX History  Thu 10 Dec 1953
2 New Radio Stations For Northern Areas  
A new commercial' radio station, 2NX, will operate in Newcastle, the Coalfields and the Hunter Valley, starting on New Year's Day.
The new broadcasting organisation will commission the main station, 2NX, with a transmitter at Bolwarra, and a relay station, 2NM, which will service the Upper Hunter area. Station 2NM will be at Muswellbrook. Station 2NM will come into operation shortly after station 2NX begins transmission.

2NX Technical Thu 10 Dec 1953

...a bit more to add about 2NX.

it was successful but wasn't clawing back the young listeners from NEWFM & as 2NX wanted desperately to be back at No.1 where they had been, they dropped Classic Hits & even dropped the iconic 2NX call sign in about march '91
Wanting to totally start fresh & launch a new station (not just re-launch an old one) to take on the new NEWFM, they applied to the ABA (as it was then) & officially changed the licence call sign from 2NX to 2XX, they then had 2 days (over a weekend) with only music (no talking or no ads) as an official test broadcast & launched on Monday morning as All New, All Hit Radio X13, the day/weekend 2NX died never to return. 

Upon changing to FM, the licence call sign became 2XXX FM (as it remains today) & they became X107 still All New, All Hit Radio.
In '93 Hunter Broadcasters, owner of 2NM & X107 FM was split & sold, Radio Newcastle (a consortium of local business people) bought X107 & the Cameron's bought Hunter Broadcasters & took control of 2NM Muswellbrook.
Late '93 or early '94, X107 was re branded to NXFM (on air id only) moved out of the 770 Hunter St Newcastle West Studios up to Charlestown with KOFM & changed to a Always Great Rock & Roll Format & stayed that way till Austereo bought Radio Newcastle in the late '90s, it was then icons of Newcastle & Australian radio started to be sacked from KO & NX, & Austereo started bringing in Sydney drop-outs or new potential Sydney/Melbourne talent & using it as a nursery/retirement home, this didn't work, & it wasn't until BOG self destructed NEWFM that NXFM got back to the top where it was all those years ago, the rest they say is history.

While NX & KO are now at the top & doing very well, it's not necessarily what Newcastle wants or likes, but there is effectively no competitor for them & they are the best available at the moment.
Personal Note: Even though the icon 2NX is dead, it still lives on in my heart & house as it was back in the pre - '90s. I still have a 2NX T-shirt that takes pride of place in my wardrobe I got in 1981, with the rainbow coloured band around it with 2NX More Music on the front & Summer is, on the back, also I have some furniture that came out of the 2NX hunter street studios, that dad bought at the auction when he was starting up his business (I'm kicking myself now that I didn't have more money at the time to buy some of the 2NX, X13, X107 signs off the building & promotional stuff), I do have a filing cabinet complete with stickers from other radio stations on it, a whiteboard, a credenza/cupboard, but unfortunately the executive desk chair has passed on.

2NX Bits n Pieces... Various Snippets

Former presenters 2NX

Ron Gibson (the late)  50's Andy Simpson   60's Les Thompson  mid 60's Dick Hemming 60's
Peter Pickover  50's Garry Suprain Neville Graham, 60,s Laurie Ryan 60's
Jim Ball (Stewart) John McGahen Kevin Gardiner Keith Ashton  mid 60's
David Huth  early '90s, Dan Hill Bryson Bush  mid 60's Steve Owens 70's
Todd Sergent Don Dawkins
Jim Pike, mid-dawn
Ed Webster, Morn

Mal Hedstrom -1984 brekky news


Current presenters NX-FM (2019)                                              

Tanya Hennessy
.Ash London
Carrie Bickmore
Tommy Little

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations


NEWFM call sign: 2NEW is an Australian radio station, serving Newcastle and its surrounding area. It is owned by Broadcast Operations Group, and operates at 105.3 megahertz on the FM band. Its callsign is 2NEW, the 2 being a standard prefix for stations in New South Wales, and NEW short for Newcastle. Its sister station is 2HD. On 24 May 2005 NEWFM reverted back to its original 1989 logo which has since been modernised.
NEWFM was the first commercial FM radio station in Newcastle when it commenced broadcasting on the 14th April 1989 from the old Nesca House in King Street Newcastle.
In 2008 NEWFM became the Hub of the Super Network FM Stations (NEWFM Network) supplying programming from its Sandgate based studios to stations from the NSW/Victorian boarder in the south, north to the Sunshine Coast in QLD and West to Broken Hill. The potential reach of the NEWFM Network is over 7 million people.[citation needed]
In 2009, NEWFM, along with its sister station 2HD announced plans to undertake a multi-million dollar ground up rebuild of its studio complex. The rebuild will see it become the most up to date digital studio complex in the country.

The station was launched on 21st April 1989, in the old NESCA House building, as a rock station for Newcastle & the Hunter. It soon screamed up to Number 1 in the Newcastle market, leaving 2NX (now NXFM) on their wake in the younger market. As a NEWFM Shareholder It was a fantastic buzz...It was one of the most EXCITING times in local radio
Since Broadcast Operations Group bought the station in 1999, the station went downhill FAST in both quality & ratings, except for a brief resurgence in the ratings during 2001-2002, when it reaffirmed themselves as a rock station.

Basically speaking, NEWFM is now a much poorer shadow of its former self. 

It's a long way to the top if you wanna  ...
It's' been in our heads all day....
That's because the song that inspired it,  AC/DCs It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n Roll) has been added to the National Film and Sound Archives national register of recorded sounds.
And apart from having a shredding bagpipe solo, the Acca Dacca classic holds special significance for the Hunter. It was the very first song played on Newcastles first commercial FM radio station, NEW-FM.
The station's founder, Mike Webb, chose "Its a Long Way to the Top" to put his baby to air on April 14, 1989

It was one of my most exciting moments listening to AcaDaca blasting the air waves whilst i was standing next to the NEW-FM studio on the 4th floor of Nesca house... Later moving down the street to the 'NESCA bunker' in Darby Street Newcastle, which became HQ for many years to come. 

It was at this stage that i became a shareholder of Newcastle FM.

The new FM player tore off a huge chunk of the ratings at the expense of 2NX, Newcastle's existing hit music station.
NX's audience share plummeted from 24.1per cent to 9.9per cent. NEW-FM remained the city's top station for its first four years, commanding 29.4per cent of listeners.
This was all before NX and 2KO jumped onto the FM band and Austereo took control of NX and KO in 1996. NXFM topped the most recent ratings survey with a 19 percent audience share.

The Mobbs ands Fletch Show weeknights must have been the most ever listened to radio program in the newcastle area.. From my experiance, I would go out on a limb and say they possibly had a rating of over 80% of available listeners.

I remember the time when Young Spero invited his 'Idols' Mobs N Fletch, Liz & I to his house for a Sunday afternoon party .... Billy's (Young Spero's ) Mum and his sister Alice had cooked up a storm of Greek food... After seeing how compitant Alice was, I asked her if  she would like a part time job at Sound World...  my feelings where correct, she turned out to be a fantastic team player... a few more years Later. Young Spero joined the Sound World team as well.

Former presenters NEWFM
Peter Mobbs @ NewFM early '90s, did NEW-FM's first night shift when it first went to air in April 1989 (in 1989-1990,  20 years ago!). Other DJs from NEW's early days included Gavin Comber (mornings), and Chris 'Fletch' Fletcher, who joined Mobbs as the other half of the 'Mobbs and Fletch' duo that did nights in 1989-1990. Young Spiro (so-called as he was the guy that was always winning prizes on NEW-FM sponsored by local record store Sound World, which was owned by a bloke called Spero) ended up with his own shift as well... Bill McFerrin was his real name.. also better known as Billy, yes he eventually got his own shift, he used to hang out at the NEWFM studios most days after school & seeing as he was there so much they thought they might as well give him a job. He worked at NXFM for quite a while behind the scenes in the early '90s, before getting a shift there too, & he actually trained me to be a panel operator at NXFM, (back in the days before computers, when everything was done manually, playing CD's, Carts & Reel to Reel tape).
Mike Webb with the supurb 'radio voice'

Peter Mobbs John Paul Young (JPY)  early '90s, Garth Russel early '90s Terry McKenna
Chris Fletcher Greg Clark, PD Young Spero George Davias shift
Gavin Comber, mornings Andrew Dunkley Steve Carline Craig Lawson
Carol Duncan Tim Carroll

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations

ABC Newcastle 1233 ABC 2NC

History of the ABC in Newcastle
By Brooke Bannister

Newcastle was the first regional radio station to be established in Australia in 1930 and it has been an rich part of the region's history.From World War II through to the 2007 June Long Weekend storms and floods, 1233 ABC Newcastle has been there to inform.
But it has also been there to entertain with events such as A Night at The Wireless.

Image result for abc 2nc logo

The Early Years
When Adrian Jose arrived in Newcastle in late 1930 to set up radio station 2NC, the 22-year-old would hardly have anticipated that he would be instrumental in creating one of Australia's most significant radio stations.
Adrian Jose only joined the broadcasting company in September 1930, as a record library assistant and announcer-in-training. Two months later, he was setting up the Newcastle station and was appointed regional officer at 2NC. ABC Newcastle was Australia's first regional station and went live-to-air for the first time in Newcastle on December 19th 1930.

Standing in front of the Newcastle Symphony Orchestra, conductor Mr J. Stanley Hurn raised his baton and launched them into the William Tell Overture. The sounds of the Newcastle Orchestra were carried across the country and into homes in Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne.

A large audience attended the Newcastle Town Hall to listen to the first broadcast and the Acting Prime Minister, J. E. Fenton, spoke to the Newcastle audience from a Melbourne studio.
"This new station is the first to be erected outside the capital cities, as portion of the construction program of the National Broadcasting Service," Mr Fenton said. "There is quite a large population within range of 2NC and it is evident that the establishment of the local station will benefit listeners. Listeners may rest assured that everything possible will be done to give satisfactory programmes."

The first broadcast came out of the new studios above a billiard room behind the Old Strand Theatre in Market Square, off Hunter Street Mall. A transmitter at Beresfield was set up and connected the Hunter Street studio by landline. The current transmitter is still located at Beresfield.

The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate wrote about the broadcast the following day, "representing an important link in a chain of national broadcasting stations, and a development of considerable importance to the people of the Hunter River District, station 2NC Newcastle went on the air last night." The newspaper article about the first broadcast was bordered by advertisements to buy radios, "Read's Radios: Made in Newcastle for Newcastle for good reception. 27 pound 10 shillings complete with speakers, valves and installed in your own home and ready to listen in."

In those early days, radio was still a comparative novelty, and a good radio receiver cost quite a lot. Despite the significance of Australia's first relay station being in Newcastle, there was no obligation under the national broadcasting scheme for the Australian Broadcasting Company to supply more than one hour a week of local Newcastle content.

Local content that was provided consisted of Newcastle news, market reports, church services, and other important Newcastle activities. 2NC at this time was a part of the Australian Broadcasting Company but it was not until June 1st 1932 that the ABC, as we know it now, opened the airwaves. At first, 2NC remained largely a relay station for the new national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The first broadcast for the new ABC reached every state in the federation and was opened by Conrad Charlton and the then Prime Minister Joseph Lyons.

Opening day programs included the first Children's Session with Bobby Bluegum, the first sports program - "Racing Notes" with W.A. Ferry calling the Randwick races, British Wireless News received by cable from London, weather, stock exchange and shipping news.There was also a talk on goldfish and their care, a slot called "Morning Devotions", music the ABC Women's Association session, which included topics such as commonsense housekeeping and needlecraft.

In the first few years, 2NC would broadcast intermittently in the morning and would often shut down for intervals during the day. At the time, there was no concept of continuous broadcasting.

Former presenters ABC Newcastle

Margaret Doyle 1940
Hec Scott 1945
Hal Hooker 1945
Libby Saunders
Leigh Wallis 
David Patterson
John Clarke
Moya Talty
Geoff Moore 2NC Brekie
Paul Bevan Aaron Kearney, Drive Kia Handley, Morning
Jenny Marchant and Dan Cox,  breakfast Carol Duncan Garth Russel Chateau Patto, Sat afternoons
Marjorie Biggins
Lindy Burns
Aaron Kearney
Madeleine Randall
John Clarke (The General)
Dave Anderson
Helene O'Neill.

Former presenters JJ

Holger Brokmann (first voice on JJ)

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations


Former presenters 2NUR-FM

John McGahen Mike Webb
Todd Sergent was on NXFM Mike Webb

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations

In with the New in 2018 the digital air waves come alive with the new 2UW

David Sayers, Tracy McKelligott, Mark Tinson, Steve Pickett, Michael Blaxland

8th October 2018...  The brainchild of a number of Newcastle and Hunter businesspeople, the station has plenty of on-air experience with David Sayers on breakfast, PR and events expert Tracy McKelligott on mornings and local music guru Mark Tinson and entertainment entrepreneur Steve Pickett paired on drive.

We ask news editor, Michael Blaxland, about the station.
Can you tell me who were the driving forces behind the station and why?

The business side of things is being looked after by a group of local business people who have wanted to do something like this for some time, particularly in light of the fact that local media is increasingly Sydney or Melbourne-based with a contraction of local programming.

What is the target demo?
The is an over-40s station playing the best of the 60s, 70s and 80s with local interviews and content and an outrageous ethos.

Read more at:

31st Jan 2019 :  still in its prime but sounding very good...

As of mid March 2019 the Station has lost most of its staff

June 30th 2019, Its all over baby blue...

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations

16th Nov 2020, Test transmission
Steve Pickett
Tracy McKelligott, Mark Tinson, Michael Blaxland

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations
2NN Classic Hits FM

Darren McErlain was the breakfast announcer on 2NN Newcastle in 2014 and now do the Drive time show.on Classic Hits FM Newcastle 87.8FM 7 days per week 4-6pm.

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations

Bits n Pieces... Various Snippets
History by Spero Davias and others

Notes from days gone by...

Thursday 31 May, 2007
Pat Barton, Newcastle radio's longest serving breakfast announcer, has died aged 92 after suffering a stroke.The Newcastle Herald reported that Barton died at the John Hunter hospital.
Barton dominated the airwaves in the steel city for 55 years and was the man who introduced John Laws to the airwaves.
His career started at 2LF in young in 1938 and by 1941 he was the breakfast announcer at 2KO. He left radio for four years to serve in World War 2.
In 1952 he was poached over to rival station 2HD with a contract that at the time was considered a landmark in Newcastle radio.
He returned to 2KO in 1957 and remained on breakfast until company policy demanded he retire. This was 1982.
2HD meanwhile had other plans and they coaxed Pat out of retirement the following year. He stayed on air in Newcastle until 1993.
"The jingle is from 1962 promoting Elvis's 'new' record Return to Sender. The aircheck grab is Pat's return to the airwaves on 2HD in 1983.
He left KO the previous year. He had to leave KO i.e. retire, in '82 because of his age and the company policy. It was owned by the Lambs in those days and staff had to be compulsorily retired by a certain age."

2009... WAY WAY BACK.....
There were 3 commercial AM stations in Newcastle:
2KO (KO standing for Kotara, a Newcastle suburb)
2NX (Originally a Maitland Station broadcasting from Bolwarra, a Maitland suburb) and
2HD (the second oldest commercial broadcaster in Australia, just behind Sydney's 2UE)

In the 1970's
2NX became the teenage station, the music station. It out rated everything else. It was affiliated with 2NM Muswellbrook and 2SM ISydney (when 2SM was the #1 teenage station in Sydney and 3XY was likewise in Melbourne)
At that time 2KO was owned by the Lamb Family which also owned 2UE in Sydney. 2KO had Pat Barton for Breakfast and 2UE had Gary O'Callaghan. Both were top of the ratings.

David Jones (2NX) and Ian MacRae (2SM) challenged for king of the cornflakes in those markets however.
Also at that time the ALP /State Labour Council owned 2HD. HD tried a few formats including country, beautiful music but talk and sport was the most successful and had it in top spot when David Collins (now at KO-FM) held down the breakfast spot. He paired up Tanya Wilks to make an impressive breakfast duo.
Then along came FM and Newcastle was  awarded one FM licence. A consortium led by Mike Webb bought this licence and NEW FM was an immediate hit and took all the teenage audience from 2NX.

2NX tried classic hits and open line; then tried to challenge NEW FM as firstly X13 on AM and later as X107 when it moved to FM.
2KO reinvented itself as classic hits KO FM when it moved to the FM band.
2HD stayed on the AM band.
The ALP, as a major shareholder, took over NEW FM as a sister station for 2HD so that it had both the sport/news/talk and music markets sewn up.
KO and NX were then taken over by a the Austereo network and were to tackle HD/NEW.
Bill Caralis then bought HD/NEW and NEW's listener base steadily went back to NX-FM.
David Collins and Tanya Wilks left 2HD. Tanya went overseas with her husband. DC just left.
David Collins and Tanya Wilks returned to Newcastle on KO FM. It is now positioned to capture a lot of the former HD audience (footy , DC & TW) but it has a more modern sound and a wide music mix to appeal to a younger audience.
NX is the teen station; but it also has widened its music to appeal to an older audience.

NEW FM struggles. In country markets, there is one AM and one FM licence ~ usually owned by the same group. Bill Caralis owns many of these and they work where there is no competition. He fails to recognise that 2HD, 2SM and NEW FM are in competitive markets and so treats the potential audiences as he does the country listeners with no commercial choice.
2HD has slipped over the years. The breakfast show with Luke Grant is good radio. 9-12 with Steve Price is OK. 12-3 is Super Radio Network time coming out of the HD studio. 3-5 the same host continues with a local program. 5-7 is talkin 'Sport from 2SM also across the Super radio Network . Then Talk Tonight across the SRN from 2SM appeals to the oldies from 7pm-midnight and a networked program from 2HD fills the SRN from midnight to dawn (5am) when Grant Goldman is networked from 2SM for either 30 or 60 minutes depending upon when the local breakfast hosts start (5.30 am in Newcastle).

A bit more to add to about Newcastle radio .....
NX (and also 2NM Muswellbrook) were also owned by 2SM's owners, the Catholic Church, back in the 80s (hence the 'affiliation').
There used to be a lot of Christian type messages (30 secs or so) aired on NX then (with the tagline of something like "brought to you by the Catholic Church").
Also, 2NX used the ID "2NXNM" at night time (when 2NM took a direct 2NX feed).

When 2NX first went to FM in 1992, it was known as X107FM ... It went to an "Always Great Rock & Roll" format shortly before changing it's name back to NXFM in late 1993
That was mostly modern hits (with something of a 'grungy' feel to it).
2NX beat 2KO in switching to the FM band by 5 months (NX in May 92 and KO in Oct 92).

The 2 FM conversion licences were originally going to be auctioned, before 2HD decided that they wanted to remain on AM.

Tests were carried out on 100.5 FM to see whether it was suitable for a 3rd FM conversion.
I think interference to Television Channel 3 reception ruled that one out.
Apparently, according to another post somewhere on this forum (I think), the frequency allocations of 102.9 and 106.9 between KO and NX were decided by a coin toss.
KO won and chose 102.9 because they didn't want to be next to 2GO Gosford on the dial (2GO converted to 107.7 in Feb 1992).
(So yes, we could have had X103 rather than X107 for instance!).
After 2KO moved to FM, SBS radio moved from 1584khz to KO's old AM frequency (1413).
This allowed for a power increase to the SBS signal.

And there's more....
Other DJs from NEW's early days included Gavin Comber (mornings), and Chris 'Fletch' Fletcher, who joined Mobbs as the other half of the 'Mobbs and Fletch' duo that did nights in 1989-1990.
Young Spero (so-called as he was the guy that was always winning prizes on NEW-FM sponsored by local record store Sound World, which was owned by a bloke called Spero) ended up with his own shift as well...
His real name is Bill McFerrin also better known as Billy, yes he eventually got his own shift, he used to hang out at the NEWFM studios most days after school & seeing as he was there so much they thought they might as well give him a job. He worked at NXFM for quite a while behind the scenes in the early '90s, before getting a shift there too, & he actually trained me to be a panel operator at NXFM, (back in the days before computers, when everything was done manually, playing CD's, Carts & Reel to Reel tape).
Steve Graham did brekky with Garth Russell as the 'Garth and Steve' duo on NEW in the early 90s also.
I think Maynard F Crabbes (formerly JJJ) also did some shifts at NEW around 1990 or thereabouts too... 

Some technical history for those young ones... Take 40 Australia used to arrive at the station on usually 4 tape reels that had to be changed approx. every half hour, so a panel op. had to be in the studio to load up & change over the tapes. The panel op. also had the weeks playlist, so if anything happened to the tape or tape decks, the panel op. could continue the countdown by playing the music themselves off CD's, albeit without the chatter from the host, same for all similar programs. Never happend to me, but I do know of occasions where the tape tangled up in the deck & couldn't continued to be played. 

Billy McFerrin went to Tassie,.... 
Mal Hedstrom began in Newcastle at 2NX as the floater. He has worked for NX, KO and HD. He was at 2KA for Penrith relaunch in 1978. (info thanks to John Rogers)
Andy Simpson came to Newcastle from 7HO Hobart to do drive on 2NX when DJ did breakfast. They both later moved to KOFM. Andy is still there.
Garth Russel is now at 1233 (2NC ABC)
Tim Webster has worked for NX, KO and HD doing music and talk shifts
Ray Waite also worked for both KO and HD.
Alan McGirvan (the first voice on 2JJ (double J Rock  on AM, before it became JJJ on FM) was the breakfast good guy on 2HD. (2HD was linked with 2SM before 2NX was) He went to HD after KO. He started as a booth announcer at NBN  (info thanks to John Rogers) Mike Jeffreys also did a talk back show on both HD and KO before going to UE, UW and is now doing breakfast on ABC in Canberra , I believe.

Yes, Doug Mulley was on WS long ago (circa '79), but the David Mulley referred to elsewhere (no relation) is the one of 2UE/2KO fame.  He was a young jock in the '60s who became GM of 2KO for some time in the '70s and '80s...before Wesgo bought KO in the mid '80sLast heard of running (owning??) a trophy shop in the Newcastle area.

Also other Newcastle radio stars from what were (in my opinion) - a few that spring to mind are matt Hayes,  Gray Clark, Mike Jefferys, David Mulley, Clif Musgrave, Art Ryan, John Hill, Alan McGirvan, Rod Spargo, Graeme Gilbert, Twink Story, Dick Comerford, Malcolm T, Tony "Music" Williams.
Phil Hunter was a star in his own right during these heady day of Radio. If I have a good look through the notes in my old diaries I can come up with dozens of others that worked in Newcastle Radio in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Radio was fun in those days before accountants and corporations found out that radio licences were a milch cow!
Besides the studio at the Newcastle Showground I also remember the 2KO OB studios at Jesmond Centre and Kotara Fair - the punters loved it - I know because I was one of those kids pressing his snotty nose up against the glass!  I have always wanted to worked on the wireless but now at 59 I'm still at the bank - some would think I'm lucky I guess looking at what has happened to the radio industry since they started handing out BAs in Communications to idiots!
Phil Hunter (passed away in June 2019) rip

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations

By... Spero Davias

Recent Local radio notes:

Radio Newcastle Pty Ltd

Around the 10th July 1990, Word had got around that Wesgo Communications Pty Ltd had got itself into financial trouble and had to unload 2KO as soon as possible. News of the Wesgo drama had spread throughout the business community like wilefire... Within a couple of hours of hearing this information, a consortium of local business people, including Myself, formed a new company, Radio Newcastle Pty Ltd, where just in a few days a 'unit trust' was formed, to purchase 2KO from Westgo.

By October 12, 1992, after much deliberation, it was aggreed that we transform the old 2KO AM station into the all new KOFM. There were rumers flying around that 2NX could be up for grabs... A few weeks later, at a shareholders meeting  I suggested that we should as a group , purchase the old 2NX (X107) in keeping with the trend at time, that its more profitable to run multiple radio stations under the one management.

I also told the group that if they did'nt buy the station I would.
It didn't take the chairman of Radio Newcastle long to convince the board that Radio Newcastle should undertake the purchase. so a few weeks later  Radio Newcastle purchased 2NX (X107) from Snowy Mountains Radio Pty Ltd

Later 2NX was also converterd over to NXFM using an FM transmitter we bought second hand from a radio station in Western Australia

The next step was for us to purchase 2GO in Gosford, as we had reached the 'crossroads.' 
At the time, it was common practice  for single station operators  to aquire and spread their management over several radio stations.
During the next few board meeting it had to be decided on which path we follow.  To march forward and purchase more radio stations to increase profitability or sell out and capitalize.

During the late 1990's, there was a lot of uncertainty in the radio industry so it was decided by the board to sell both KOFM and NXFM.  

On the 22nd Jan 1996 Radio Newcastle Pty Ltd sold the company including the new KOFM and NXFM to the Austereo Network.
By Spero Davias

Hunter Valley radio call signs and their meanings.
By: Mike Scanlon/Newcastle Herald 26 JAN 2012

Memories are fading. People might forget that commercial radio history and the important role the famous Lamb family and Allen Fairhall played up here.
Well, it's far too big a subject to cover fully here, so I'll merely touch on the Fairhall legacy. 
It's a fascinating yarn of how a once amateur wireless enthusiast started Radio 2K0 (now KOFM with a sister station NXFM).
It was August 1931, in the depths of the Great Depression. Despite few funds, 2K0 grew to become one of Australia's leading regional radio stations.
Launched from a suburban house, the licensee's dining room was 2K0's first studio. Fairhall (later Sir Allen) then became a politician, rose to become the nation's defence minister and, people say, could have been Prime Minister had he ever nominated. 

But now back to Dungog's main street early last winter. There, on public display in the front window of a local bakery, was a broadcasting relic - an almost historic mini-radio studio, full of dark dials, knobs and record turntables, part of Dungog community radio station 107.9FM. "The equipment's not there now though. It's been dismantled and is in my garage," owner and former valley radio identity David Sayers revealed. "This 1969-70 broadcast equipment was used there until last August. A lot of its components were from the same year as the moon landing. That's why it worked wonderfully and lasted so long.
The equipment's as tough as old nails,"he said."I bought it from the old 2K0 before it moved to Charlestown because it was so reliable." Sayers said he was no longer involved with the Dungog radio station.
This "Voice of the Valley" was now instead called "Dungog Shire's Own".
"As for Valley radio call signs, I believe the KO in 2K0 stood for Fairhall's Newcastle suburb of Kotara, and Oregon. His [13-metre] backyard timber mast to broadcast was made out of Oregon," Sayers said.

He said the old call sign 2CK stood for Cessnock, but there was a mistaken belief Radio 2HD might be shorthand for "Hunter district". "It's actually named after Harry Douglas, the man who started the station [in 1925]," Sayers said. Twiddling radio dials in the past used to be a simple thing. Now there's at least 27 listed Hunter Valley radio stations (mostly FM) crowding the airwaves from Woy Woy to Port Stephens and Upper Hunter. They include Christian and hospital radio operations to stations such as 2CHR-FM (for Central Hunter Community Radio) and 2G0 at Gosford. Even Newcastle radio veteran John McGahen was surprised."In the old Newcastle days, about the 1960s, there were only 2HD, 2K0, 2NX and the ABC," he said.

John McGahen, a retired general manager of 2NUR-FM as well as 2K0 and NXFM and 2NM (at Muswellbrook), has seen many changes over the years. "The real story behind the early radio call signs 2NX and 2NM is that NX was actually a wartime prefix to designate our servicemen who had gone overseas. NM was the code for those who stayed in Australia," he said. "I also remember that in 1978 all AM radio frequencies had to be changed to get more band space. For example. Radio 2K01410 went to 1413, while 2NX1360 went to 1341. I think that old spot is now Racing Radio," McGahen said. Popular 2NUR-FM community radio volunteer Russell Thornton later gave more insights into the radio game.

"Back in the mid-1950s, the old gramophones had the station on their radio dials, but 2NX wasn't there. So management then had the clever idea of getting its people to doorknock listeners asking if they would like to have their radio's tuned". he said. "After they did that, they also left a little red sticker on the dial so people could easily find 2NX again.
"And up at Radio 2CK an announcer was once blamed for burning the station down after accidentally leaving a heater on overnight.
Thanks to - Mike Scanlon / Newcastle Herald 26 JAN 2012 for this article.

Yet to come... Up and coming events that chaged the face of local radio 
  • Radio Newcastle Pty Ltd is made up of local Newcastle business people., Accountants, lawyers, Record store owner, and other various business people. 
  • Wesgo regional manager, Mr John McGahen is appointed General Mgr 2KO, 
  • 2KO from around 1989
  • How and why we purchased 2NX from Snowy Mountains Radio Pty Ltd
  • The two camps 2KO & NEWFM 
  • Shareholders revolt in downtown Darby St
  • The undoing of one of Newcastle's most famous FM radio  stations
  • Radio Newcastle Pty Ltd. sells KOFM & NXFM to The Austereo Network, why Austereo ?

Other FM Radio stations in Newcastle, NSW FM,MHz

Station Transmitter
Freq Station Name Coverage Area Transmitter site
94.50 ZFM
95.10 2PNN ABC News Radio BBC World Services Port Stephens Gan Gan Hill
95.90 2NC ABC Newcastle Port Stephens Gan Gan Hill
96.50 2CHR Cessnock FM Cessnock Bimbadeen Lookout-Mount View
97.30 2OLD Lake Macquarie FM  Budgewoi, Greenkeeper Building
98.30 2ABCRN Radio National Port Stephens Gan Gan Hill
98.90 2NN Oldies Newcastle Lambton
99.70 2RFM Rhema FM Newcastle West Mount Sugarloaf, Gencom Tower
100.50 2RPH radio reading service Newcastle Mount Sugarloaf, NBN Tower
100.90 2PSR Port Stephens FM Port Stephens Gan Gan Hill
101.30 2CFM Sea FM Gosford, Mount Penang
102.10 2JJJ ABC triple j Newcastle Mount Sugarloaf, Broadcast Australia Tower
102.90 2KKO KOFM Newcastle Mount Sugarloaf, NBN Tower
103.70 2NUR Newcastle Uni Newcastle Mount Sugarloaf, NBN Tower
104.50 2GOS Star 104.5 Gosford Mount Penang
105.30 2NEW NEW-FM Newcastle Mount Sugarloaf, NBN Tower
106.10 2ABCFM ABC Classic FM Newcastle Mount Sugarloaf, Broadcast Australia Tower
106.90 2XXX Hit 106.9 Newcastle Mount Sugarloaf, NBN Tower
107.70 2GOO 2GO Gosford Mount Penang

Other AM Radio stations heard in Newcastle  AM ,kHz Station Transmitter
2RN Radio National Sydney, NSW Prestons, 2RN/2BL mast
2PB ABC NewsRadio BBC World Service  Sydney, NSW, Prestons, 2RN/2BL mast
2BL ABC Radio Sydney Sydney, NSW, Prestons, 2RN/2BL mast
2RF Rete Italia Niche Radio Network Gosford, Chittaway Point
Sandgate, 2HD mast
2NC ABC Newcastle Beresfield Beresfield
2KY Sky Sports Radio Birmingham Gardens Birmingham Gardens
2EA SBS Radio BBC World Service Sandgate, 2EA array
2PB ABC NewsRadio BBC World Service Beresfield
2RN Radio National
2HRN Unforgettable 1629 Sandgate Sandgate


Most FM commercial Radio Station's signal is transmitted from Mount Sugarloaf , the remaining AM stations have their transmitters in the Sandgate swamps , with the new digital stations using the path via the internet

Mount Sugarloaf
Coordinates: 32.53'27" S, 151,32'20" E 
Mount Sugarloaf, also known as Great Sugar Loaf, is a mountain in the lower Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia, overlooking the cities of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock and Maitland. It is home to transmitters that broadcast to the lower Hunter region. The mountain has two big broadcast transmission towers - one tower has the VHF services of  local FM radio stations including New FM, and the other is transmitting digital (UHF) television signals of NBN Television (Nine Network), ABC, SBS, Southern Cross Ten (Network Ten) and Prime7 (Seven Network), as well other local commercial radio services.

From the Email machine...

From Tony Rothapfel....
Great article, brings back lots of memories I handled advertising accounts for most of the stations I remember Henty the little old lady in the sales section of 2NX she was so small she used to have brick covered in material to rest her feet on, her legs were too short to reach the floor, remember too great announcers sadly now gone..Mathew Tapp used to work with me at, Glen Burrows Advertising, Paul (Cracka) Hardy KO, for Voice overs for my ads, Warwick Teece used to work with me at Hunter Action Advert, Davis (Chateau) Paterson ABC best VO ever. Attached is one of my rate card designs for NX Mike Eggleston did the finished artwork.

From Steve Owens...
Loved your article/story on the above. I came to Newcastle in May 1970 on my honeymoon. I only knew Ron Gibson as I had worked with him doing the Bathurst car races since 1968, I was at 2GZ Orange then. He said there was a job going at 2NX. I went up there, auditioned and got the job.
I did a few relief shifts at 2HD later but retired to work in real estate sales and valuations, where I still am. Once again, I loved the article and I wish more present day announcers on local radio were local (not Sydney/Melbourne comedians) and could speak better and think faster.
Regards Steve Owens

From Steve Owens...

I was only at NX for 6 months before the dickh#@#d owner, Mr. Robinson , and I had a falling out. He called me in, sacked me and said Youll never make a fu##ing announcer. At which point I told him he knew nothing about radio and to sell his station to some real radio people who knew how to run one. He did soon after to 2SM, to whom I later sold land opposite the cathedral for a new station, which I later resold for them.His secretary Moira said to me as I was leaving Dont worry Steve, he said the same thing to John Laws when he sacked him. I told Lawsie about this later and he laughed and he said it was the best thing that happened to him in radio. So now Im known as the poor mans John Laws.
Regards Steve Owens 

From Mal Hedstrom

Hey Spero, find your site very interesting. Just to set the record straight, I started at 2HD in 1979 doing drive. Moved to breakfast for a time then back to drive. Between 1980 and 1984 I was Operations Manager and general dog's body. I left in 1984 and went to 2NX as a journo reading brekky news with Blakely and Stew. Resigned in 1986 and followed John Mcgahen to 2KO, spent the better part of 14 years there till 2001 doing afternoons and finally 9-12. Spent the next 14 or so years in Parkes and Mildura. Returned home in 2016 and have done some casual work at KOFM, now MMM. I am the only jock to have worked at all three KO locations, well done me.... I made a great deal of programming changes and was involved in bringing Pat Barton and Warwick Teece to Sandgate.Thanks in anticipation of your time taken to read this. Yours. Mal Hedstrom.

Manny thanks to the person who rang Friday the 21st Sep 2018.. and left me a message regarding DJ (David Jones) and how he used to call the bingo at Western Suburbs Leagues Club.

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations

Thanks to all the contributors on this Project..... Spero Davias  2014-2020

By... Spero Davias

What inspired me to tackle such a project

By Spero Davias

What inspired me to tackle such a task as to try and dig into the Newcastle Radio Culture of the past ?
Being involved in the Music Industry as the founder / owner of Sound World for over 36 years, and having spent a considerable amount of time in and out of radio studio's, wether it be producing new comercials for Sound World or just sitting behind the microphone doing various music associated interveiws, Combined with my consierable electronics knowledge and the hunger of  'how it all works' it was like a "marrige done in heaven"
I couldn't get radio out of my veins, so much so that I was very temped to start my own radio station (which i did but thats another story) or buy with a consortium an existing radio station. So back in the 1980's to fulfill my desire  & involvement with radio,  I became a shareholder of 2KO through Radio Newcastle Pty Ltd. then a few months later i became a sharholder of NEW-FM,  So to cut a long story short, the rest is history....
Updated : 2019

The History of Newcastle Radio Stations
By... Spero Davias