Happy 100, Aussie Radio

A Klotz desk, now an ornament in ABC Radio Brisbane’s green room for guests. I never broadcast on anything this new and fancy: but here it is as a museum piece. I feel old.

Happy 100th birthday to radio in Australia. On Nov 23, 1923, 2SB came on-air in Sydney. 2SB was originally a commercial radio station which earnt its money by selling “sealed-sets” - sets unable to be changed to another station - and a subscription to help fund the stations. It changed its name to 2BL relatively quickly after learning that its competitor would be the similar-sounding 2FC; and successfully lobbied to change its business model after the concept of sealed-sets went as well as you’d expect it to. In the 1930s it became an ABC station, and it’s now known as ABC Radio Sydney.

Walk into ABC Radio Brisbane’s reception, and there’s the usual collection of vintage radios, which when I am made King of Radio, I will outlaw from radio reception areas. That display tells you that ABC Radio Brisbane came on-air in 1938, though it’s really the spiritual successor of 4QG, the first station in Queensland, paid-for by government, which started on 27 July 1925 at 1pm with the Market report, followed by the Stock Exchange and the weather, after which, in a slice of programming genius, it closed down again until 6.30pm.

  • Australian radio is clearly in for the long-haul. Kyle and Jackie O, the biggest stars in Sydney radio, have signed a ten year deal worth over $200mn (US $131mn). Fellow Brit Christian O’Connell has signed a five year deal, too. Christian is a hard-worker who deserves it. Jackie O gets paid identically to Kyle (as she should); and Jackie O, at the very least, also deserves her success. I’m sure Kyle is a nice man too.

  • The UK released RAJAR Q3/2023. As ever, Matt Deegan has some erudite commentary.

  • The BBC Sounds has added multi-room playback and a few other goodies to Amazon Alexa. Notable is the final sentence: “We’ll continue to develop features, and work closely with our partners at Amazon, to improve the experience for BBC Sounds listeners.” Our partners at Amazon? Goodness.

  • Enjoy this while you can: a man taking us round the KMOX AM transmitter in St Louis, MO.

I also wanted to write a good amount of stuff about Grupo Formula in Mexico City, where I was a few weeks ago. But I also wanted to get this out on the actual 100th anniversary of radio in Australia; so here is me trying to remind myself for next time.

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Coming up…

I’m speaking at Radiodays Europe in Munich, probably at an event a few days before in Oslo, probably at Podcast Movement Evolutions in Los Angeles, all in March.

I’ll also be at The Podcast Show in London in May, Podcast Movement itself wherever it is later in the year, Radiodays Asia when it returns in September in KL, and a number of other events.


Thank you to Broadcast Radio, Clyde Broadcast. Richard Hilton and James Masterton, Brun Audio Consulting, Soma FM and Media Realm’s MetaRadio.

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