The History of Newcastle
By Spero Davias
for me started with the Coca Cola Bottlers Club... After a
gruling day at the old Newcastle East
Primary School, come
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
with John Laws... the rest is
History of Newcastle Radio
- (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 its studios in Charlestown
(now moved to 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
- The station
commenced operations as 2KO, based in the Newcastle suburb of Kotara
on August 1, 1931. Founded by Allen Fairhall (later Sir
Allen Fairhall) 2KO was licensed to The Newcastle Broadcasting
Company. The station operated on 1410 kHz with a transmission strength
of 25 watts. The station launched from the backyard of a resident's
home, with the licensee's dining room being the only studio the station
had at the time. Programs ran from 7 to 10 p.m., later moving into
daytime programming. Ten minutes of advertising time was sold during
the week, selling around 15 pounds ($30 today) of revenue for the
station. Chief Engineer was K. N.
Greenhalgh AMIRE. Studio & Production Manager was 2KO Chief
Announcer Harold Pickhover. Advertising & Merchandising
Manager was Keith F. Winser F.O.A.
later in 1933, the station moved its AM transmitter to Sandgate, and
was operated from studio's in several locations including 72 Hunter
Street, Newcastle until January 1937, when new studios and offices
in the heart of Newcastle in the CML Building at 110 Hunter Street,
Newcastle. In its time on the AM band, the station had its power
increased twice, first to 2,000 watts, and then to 5,000 watts, using a
directional aerial system.
Who else recalls
the John Laws, show Coke
a Cola bottlers club, run after
school at 4pm on weekdays at the station studio on the top floor of the
CML building in town in the
late 1950's. i don't think i missed a day
In the days
before television, peak listening time was around 8pm, but with
television arriving in the country in the late 1950s, the station had
to change formats to survive the new medium. This was even more the
case when 2KO's owners at the time, United Broadcasting Company (who
also owned Sydney's 2UE), itself owned by the local Lamb family, was
part of the consortium that brought television to Newcastle, launching
NBN Television on channel 3 in 1962.
changes led to 2KO becoming one of the first, Top 40 music radio
stations in Australia. This took the audience by storm, and helped
re-established radio as the personal medium.
- In 1978, as
part of a nationwide realignment of radio station frequencies, 2KO
moved to 1413 kHz.
In May 1988, 2KO
moved to new facilities at 252 Pacific Highway Charlestown. On
October 12, 1992, 2KO, whilst owned by Radio Newcastle
Pty. Ltd, (a local consortium) converted to the FM
band, changing its callsign to 2KKO, and branding itself as KOFM 102.9.
Four years later, following a board decision, on January 22, 1996, the
parent company of KOFM (and of NXFM), Radio Newcastle Pty. Ltd.,
was purchased by Austereo. A few more years later, Austereo sold 50% to
RG Capital Radio Network, whose stake in the station then transferred
in 2004 to Macquarie Regional RadioWorks, upon the purchase of RG
Capital's stations. On April 2011 Southern Cross Media bought out
Austereo for $714 million giving Southern Cross Media full ownership of
Cross's Newcastle operation, during 2018, moved and is now based in the
Honeysuckle area by the Newcastle harbour.
Compton Remember Pat Barton on breakfast forever. Hated when he cut
songs short to fit in more ads.
Nov 2018.... KOFM
To Become Triple M Newcastle, A
new era for Newcastle's No.1 station
- David Collins was one
half of Australia's longest-running radio breakfast team David and
Tanya. Tanya recorded their final on air break in Davids final
days& a chance to talk about how and why David emigrated to
Australia in the 70s, the early days at Sydneys 2WS, his move to
Newcastle in the 90s and the pairing of Tanya with David.The guys were
on air together for 22 years, first working at 2HD for eight years
before switching to KOFM, where they ruled the airwaves for another 14
- KOFM is
being rebranded Triple M Newcastle, joining one of Australia's most
iconic radio brands. But other than a
new name and logo, nothing else is changing.
Cross Austereos Triple M Regional Network grows to 45 stations today,
with KOFM officially becoming Triple M Newcastle today.
- It follows
the recent relaunch of 4TO as Triple M Townsville in September.
- Triple M
Newcastle will continue to produce local shows and content, including
Tanya and Steve on Breakfast, JR on Weekdays and Arvos with Little A,
as well as the widest variety of music, sport and comedy and Kennedy
Molloy on Drive.
The Honourable Sir
Allen Fairhall KBE
Allen Fairhall KBE
Sir Allen Fairhall Morrison, Ronald John. Allan Fairhall K.B.E.
Former presenters 2KO
- 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
- 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.
(the Late) between '70s -
mid '90s, As Steve Tippett
"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!
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"
McLaughlin, David Evans, reminded me of Catherine McLaughlin as
early 2KO announcer and the famous Victor
Ice Cream show so popular for
|David Mulley mid 60's
Good Golly its David Mulley
'80's early '90s & he is still there,
Hedstrom 1987 to 2001 - doing afternoons and 9-12.
|Harold Pickhover cheif Announcer 40's
Burns mid 60's
Headstrom '80s/early '90s,
Lappan 'where the hits happen'
|John Laws, 60's
Teece mid 60's
Jefferys, 3-6 p.m shift, late 60's
Williams (the late)
(Cracka) Hardy (late)
Kellaway '80s/early 90's,
80's Guys 2010)
|Peter Buckley 1982
Bernice early '90s,
Hunter mid 60's (late)
Jenner "Gray Clarke after dark"
Sir Allen Fairhall, K.B.E., VK2KB
The 2KOFM Technical
- 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
Early Programming on 2KO
As advertised 4th Aug 1931
music. Radio rhythm
Tralee," John McCormack.
Musical comedy gems.
Up and Dream."
of New York," selection.
Bits n Pieces... Various Snippets
From our contributor David Lister,
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
- I enjoyed reading the history of 2KO & decided to send you these two photographs of my grandmother Lydia Lister (née Petherbridge) who played a big part in the formation of 2KO along with Alan Fairhall.
She used to conduct a program for children under the name of ‘Auntie
Gwen’ & also used to hold concerts for children at the Newcastle
Stadium which stood where Marketown is now located. The announcer you
mentioned in your article, Harold Pickover, was also involved in these
events & he was known as ‘Uncle Peter’. The photo on the left is my
grandmother ‘Auntie Gwen’ with two of her ‘radio children’, identities
unknown, the one on the right was possibly taken when she was opening a
fete or something which she was often asked to do.
From Joyce Baker
- There was Mike
Jeffries on 2KO 3-6 p.m shift in late sixties. Talk back was new and he
was trying to copy John Laws's style, but it didn't work. Some of our
fellow male students used to call him and stir him up. Didn't they get
- I wrote a letter to John Laws when he was
on 2KO asking if he would play more music for us kids, I received a
reply to the effect that teen-music wasnt popular enough to require
a special segment.
- I suppose I was about 13 and I was so
disappointed - little did he know how wrong he was!!
- Were so excited to be part of the
evolution from KOFM to Newcastles Triple M its a win-win! said Tanya
- 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
after that ?
2HD History 1925-1945
History of Newcastle Radio
2HD Newcastle - Australia's
second oldest existing radio station.
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.
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.
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.
the late 1950s and early 1960s, 2HD was one of the founding
shareholders of local television station NBN Television.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
|Graeme Gilbert mid 60's and still
||Allan Lappin 'where the hits happen'
|Pat Barton -1987 Recruitment
||David Collins and Tanya Wilks, Breakfast
|Mal Hedstrom - 1979 doing drive
Gregory, PD & Sunday nights Country Sounds
||Harry Randall 50's
|Harry Randall 50's
||Stuart Dibley, 50's
Storey, Victor Icecream show
|Graeme Gilbert mid
||Steve Price, Morning
'80s, (late) Night
King for Breakfast
Jay 70's 80's
Current 2HD Presenters 2018
King and Kim Bauer, breakfast M to F 5.30 till 9.00
John Laws Morning Show Weekdays 9am-12pm
Bultitude Weekdays 12pm-4pm
Cochrane Weekdays 12am 5am
Gilbert Weekdays 8pm-12am
Stewart Weekdays 12am-5am
Hill Weekdays 12am-5am
Goldman Weekdays 5am-5.30am
Mackin Sat 12-6pm
Edwards Sat / Sun 6-12am
Davis Sun 8-11am
Cochrane, Sun 8-11am
2HD Bits n
Pieces... Various Snippets
DAVE AND THE DERROS - Nice Legs, Shame About The Face (1979)
- CountDown Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HzGmDVcnSg&list=RD4HzGmDVcnSg&start_radio=1
- 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
- David Jones (vocals), Trevor Parkinson (guitar), Kevin Buckingham
(guitar), Bert Moonen (bass) Steve Connellan (drums), David Baldwin
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.
- 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.
- 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
NXFM (call sign: 2XXX)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
, which was later taken over by Austereo, and then
sold a 50% stake to RG Capital Radio Network (which was taken over by
2NX 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.
of the most unassuming yet experienced and influential owners and
operators in the industry, Kevin
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
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
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).
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
- The new
stations will have sufficient power to provide Newcastle. the
Coalfields and the Hunter Valley with first-class reception. At work on
the erection of a 330ft. radio mast
at Bolwarra for 2NX is nearing completion. The transmitler will
operate on 2000 watts, although it is capable of 2500 watts. Provision
is made for autagnenting the transmission power to 5000 watts in the
future. Station 2NM will operate on 500 watts.
- The mast and
transmitter at Bolwarra comprise one of the latest types of
installations of the kind in Australia.
- On the
recommendation of A.W.A., the mast was constructed by Skilfast.Sydney.
and is of fabricated steel, fully galvanised. and weighs 9 tons.The
mast has an electrical height of 400
feet, which is 5-8ths of the operating wave length of 2NX.
Station 2NX will have a frequency of 1360 kilocycles, aitd 2NM will
operate on 1460 kilocycles.
commercial stations in Australia use a mast in the region of a quarter
of the operating wavelength. The taller mast gives extra signal
- Eight and a
quarter miles of copper wire is buried in radial trenches from the
bottom of the mast to give better signal strength. The station Manager
Mr. K. Robinson said yesterday: "The 2NX transmitter is as powerful as
any commercial transmitter in Australia. The station has a radius of 50
miles for first-class signal reception. and programmes from 2NX will be
heard with clear strength at points as far apart as Swansea and
Singleton." "Towns such as
Scone, Merriwa. Denman, Muswellbrook. Aberdeen, Murrurundi and
surrounding arcas will receive excellent radio reception. This is a
service not previously available in areas where wireless noise was
Muswellbrook station will give this area clear, strong signals such as
are enjoyed in Newcastle and Maitland."
- Tile 2NX
frequency channel is not shared by any other station in the
Commonwealth. The new network--2NX and 2NM--will replace stations 2HR
and 2CK. The new network is owned entirely in Newcastle and the Hunter
the mast had reached a height of 212 feet. It will probably be
completed next week.
...a bit more to add about 2NX.
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
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.
NEWFM came on the scene & 2NX listener ship dropped, they tried a
Classic Hits format that was aligned with 2UW (Sydney) at the time,
changing to FM, the licence call sign became 2XXX FM (as it remains
today) & they became X107 still All New, All Hit Radio.
'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.
'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.
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.
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
2NX Bits n Pieces... Various Snippets
Don Sleishman "I played drums on 2NX about 1958-1959 for
Bandstand! With Leo Last and Al Vincer on Vibes "Garry Suprain
was hired for NX, I recall
from Brisbane when DJ left to work in Melbourne.
Pike was at the time doing mid-dawn. They
engaged in banter at change of shifts and management saw the potential
and so 'Garry and Jim' or "Pike and Suprain" became a great
later went back to Brisbane, I think, and Pike went on to many things
including working on Burke's Backyard (TV version).
DJ (David Jones, not his real name) returned to Newcastle to do Drive
on 2HD briefly and then moved to 2KO Breakfast.
Webster did a stint at either 2KO or
2HD in the late '60s or '70s,
the time of Austereo, if I remember, Todd Sergent was on NXFM
moving on to 2NURFM, now ABC Newcastle/NSW, long time 2NX
jock Don Dawkins, now at 2CA Canberra, David Jones aka
DJ long time 2NX jock working at KOFM at that time though, John Mc
Gahen General manager at the time, Graham Rodgers
may or may not have still been working there when Austereo took over.
from the past, Garry Suprain, Jim Pike, Dick
Commerford, Reg Gazzard, Gordon McMillan, Jon Blake, Stewart Horne,
Brian James, Rick Manchin, Gary Mac, Graham Rodgers.
the 70's & 80's 2NX along with
2SM & 3XY were the places to be if you wanted to be at the top
& those that were there were.
- From a contributor.. I
was also lucky enough to be doing work experience at NXFM in '94 when
the Always Great Rock & Roll stickers & T-shirts were released
& the program director gave me a T-shirt & a pile of stickers
straight out of the box (along with staff) before public release,
(still have most of the stickers & the t-shirt too).
Gibson (the late) 50's
||Neville Graham, 60,s
Ashton mid 60's
Huth early '90s,
Bush mid 60's
-1984 brekky news
presenters NX-FM (2019)
History of Newcastle Radio
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
@ 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
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...
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 &
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
the supurb 'radio voice'
(JPY) early '90s,
Russel early '90s
Davias 11.pm shift
History of Newcastle Radio
Newcastle 1233 ABC 2NC
ABC in Newcastle
By Brooke Bannister
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.
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
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
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
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.
Moore 2NC Brekie
Marchant and Dan Cox, breakfast
Patto, Sat afternoons
Clarke (The General)
The History of Newcastle Radio
Sergent was on NXFM
History of Newcastle Radio
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
October 2018... The brainchild of a number of Newcastle
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?
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
What is the
The new2uw.com is
an over-40s station playing the best of the 60s,
70s and 80s with local interviews and content and an outrageous
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
As af June 2019 There are negative
reports in the local press
June 30th, Its all over baby blue...
The History of Newcastle Radio Stations
n Pieces... Various
by Spero Davias and others
from days gone by...
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
Barton dominated the airwaves in the
steel city for 55 years and was the man who introduced John Laws to the
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.
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."
were 3 commercial AM stations in Newcastle:
(KO standing for Kotara, a Newcastle suburb)
(Originally a Maitland Station broadcasting from Bolwarra, a Maitland
(the second oldest commercial broadcaster in Australia, just behind
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)
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
Jones (2NX) and Ian MacRae
(2SM) challenged for king of the
cornflakes in those markets however.
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.
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.
tried classic hits and open line; then tried to challenge NEW FM
firstly X13 on AM and later as X107 when it moved to FM.
reinvented itself as classic hits KO FM when it moved to the FM band.
stayed on the AM band.
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.
and NX were then taken over by a the Austereo network and were to
Caralis then bought HD/NEW and NEW's listener base steadily went back
Collins and Tanya Wilks left 2HD. Tanya went overseas with her husband.
DC just left.
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
is the teen station; but it also has widened its music to appeal to an
FM struggles. In country markets, there is one AM and one FM
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
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).
bit more to add to about Newcastle radio .....
(and also 2NM Muswellbrook) were also owned by 2SM's owners,
Catholic Church, back in the 80s (hence the 'affiliation').
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
2NX used the ID "2NXNM" at
night time (when 2NM took a direct 2NX feed).
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).
beat 2KO in switching to the FM band by 5 months (NX in May 92 and KO
in Oct 92).
2 FM conversion licences were originally going to be auctioned, before
2HD decided that they wanted to remain on AM.
were carried out on 100.5 FM to see whether it was suitable for a 3rd
think interference to Television Channel 3 reception ruled that one out.
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.
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).
yes, we could have had X103 rather than X107 for instance!).
2KO moved to FM, SBS radio moved from 1584khz to KO's old AM frequency
allowed for a power increase to the SBS signal.
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...
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.
think Maynard F Crabbes
(formerly JJJ) also did some shifts at NEW around 1990 or thereabouts
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.
went to Tassie,....
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)
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.
Russel is now at 1233 (2NC ABC)
Webster has worked for NX, KO and HD doing music and talk shifts
Waite also worked for both KO and HD.
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)
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.
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 '80s. Last heard of
running (owning??) a trophy shop in the Newcastle area.
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
was fun in those days before accountants and corporations
found out that radio licences were a milch cow!
studio at the Newcastle Showground I also remember the
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
Phil Hunter (passed away in
June 2019) rip
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
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
At the time, it was common practice for single station
operators to aquire and spread their management over several
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
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
Ltd sold the company including the new KOFM and NXFM to the Austereo
By Spero Davias
Valley radio call signs and their
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
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.
"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.
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...
and coming events that chaged the face of local 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,
from around 1989
and why we purchased 2NX from Snowy Mountains Radio
two camps 2KO & NEWFM
revolt in downtown Darby St
undoing of one of Newcastle's most famous FM radio stations
Newcastle Pty Ltd. sells KOFM & NXFM to The Austereo
Network, why Austereo ?
Other FM Radio stations in
Other AM Radio stations
heard in Newcastle
News Radio BBC World Services
Sugarloaf, Gencom Tower
||Mount Sugarloaf, Broadcast Australia
Sugarloaf, NBN Tower
Sugarloaf, NBN Tower
ABC Classic FM
Broadcast Australia Tower
Service Sydney, NSW,
the Email machine...
Most FM commercial Radio
is transmitted from Mount Sugarloaf , the remaining AM stations have
their transmitters in the Sandgate swamps , with the new stations using
the digital path via the internet
32.53'27" S, 151,32'20" E
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
(Nine Network), ABC, SBS,
Southern Cross Ten (Network Ten) and Prime7 (Seven Network), as well
other local commercial radio services.
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.
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.
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
announcer. At which point I told him he knew nothing about radio and
his station to some real radio people who knew how to run one. He did
after to 2SM, to whom I later sold land opposite the cathedral for a
station, which I later resold for them.His
secretary Moira said to me as I was leaving Dont worry Steve, he said
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
now Im known as the poor mans John Laws.
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
general dog's body. I left in 1984 and went to 2NX as a journo reading
news with Blakely and Stew. Resigned in 1986 and followed John Mcgahen
2KO, spent the better part of 14 years there till 2001 doing afternoons
finally 9-12. Spent the next 14 or so years in Parkes and Mildura.
home in 2016 and have done some casual work at KOFM, now MMM. I am the
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
anticipation of your time taken to read this.
Yours. Mal Hedstrom.
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
The History of Newcastle Radio Stations
Thanks to all
the contributors on this Project..... Spero Davias
tackle such a project
Updated : 2019
- 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....