How has radio changed in your lifetime?

When I was a kid I had a very intimate relationship with radio.

Most of the time I listened to 3ZB… the family station… the one Mum & Dad listened to…

But then… as I became older and I had a chance, I would listen to 3ZM on my transistor.

Family times were still 3ZB… but any chance I got to sneak 3ZM I took it!

But when I turned 15… FM was introduced and that changed things forever.

What are your experiences?


I started getting into radio around 1983, and all my early experiences were almost solely with AM radio. My first radio was this Realistic (Tandy) model with long distance capabilities on AM.


Listening to 2WS on the car radio in 1983 out near Wollombi was my earliest radio memory, hearing songs like “Bop Girl” and “Talking In Your Sleep” for the first time. I used to love the 2WS jingles from around that time.

Many an evening from 83 to around 89 was spent DXing on AM for night skip, it was great hearing all the different stations on offer, as networking wasn’t as common back then.

I then discovered 2SM and started to listen to that a fair bit during the daytime from here in Newcastle from around 1984 (reception went to pot at night unfortunately, so I would do some DXing).

Commercial FM radio didn’t materialise for me until 1989 here in Newcastle, but visits to Sydney did get sampling 2DAY and 2MMM from around 1986 onwards.

The introduction of commercial FM (and to a lesser extent CD players, for which I didn’t get my first until Xmas 1989) saw my interest in AM wane from around that time. So it was FM and CD listening during the 90s for me.

During the 00s, I did listen to a bit of internet radio, various stations from USA and around Australia, just to see what their presentation sounded like mostly.

Nowadays it’s FM and DAB for me mostly, I don’t listen to internet radio much these days even. AM is rare for me, unless I’m in the car and want to listen to cricket or football on 1233 ABC Newcastle (for which I usually listen to via 92.5 or DAB when at home). Living in a concrete apartment building isn’t good for AM radio for me, even gettting a clean 1233 signal indoors is tricky.


When I moved to Tamworth in 1990 the FM band was pretty vacant - it was a big shock having moved from Sydney where stations like 2day and 2mmm dominated my listening

Not to mention the local am station (2tm) ran country music overnight every night!


3UZ prior to the Sport 927 rebrand had Golden Memories on Sundays with Ron Cadee and John Vertigan as Racing on that day was Non-Existant back then followed by “Yes, What?” at 8:30 on Sunday Nights, Loved 3UZ as a Child.

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We listened to one station - 2GF! This was in the late 80’s/early 90’s when there was only 2GF and 2NR/ABC on the air.

When we moved to Brisbane I listened to B105 (didn’t everyone?) while my family chose FM104. I was a loyal B105 listener until Jamie Dunn left and I went to Triple J and stuck around until Rosie Beaton left.

Now I listen to Triple M Claasic Rock or Smooth on DAB or The Sound if I’m at my desk streaming online. Not a fan of most of the Brisbane stations anymore. Thank goodness for DAB :joy:


When I first started listening to radio it was about 1980 so I was about 8 or 9. My grandparents gave me a pocket-sized AM transistor radio for my birthday and I loved it. It had an orange case with a black front. I probably still have it somewhere.

FM was not really on my radar then, as I don’t think it was with most people. I listened to 3MP which was then a softer version of 3XY. Mum used to have 3DB on at breakfast time and she used to listen to the general talk back shows but never listened to racing. Dad used to have “beautiful music” 3AK playing in his shop.

Going on holidays I’d end up tuned to 3SR from Shepparton as it was literally the only station, although I did like 3CV from Bendigo as it had a better music playlist but the reception was a bit dodgy where I was.

It was a couple more years before I got a radio cassette player that had an AM-FM radio so I started listening to FM but just out of the blue one day I switched back to AM to 3XY and I pretty much stayed there for the next 3 or 4 years before it went to “easy rock”. EON and FOX were very adult focused and not great for teenagers IIRC. 3XY also had the XY Zoo with Richard Stubbs, Peter O’Callaghan and Jane Holmes which all the kids listened to.

To be honest I listen to very little radio nowadays. Just find traditional commercial radio to be pretty boring. My car speakers are broken so I can’t listen in the car anymore. I have DAB at home so will listen to some of those stations a bit, and I do like the OldSkool station. I couldn’t tell you the last time I listened to an AM or FM station.


strong text I listened ti 3LO(now ABC Radio Melbourne) from 1991 til 2004 the fyrst stint i lisrened ti sen was from 2004c til 2010 i then listrebd ton the ill fated MTR 1377 from 2010 til October 5th 2011, I listened to Talking Lifestyukle 1278 from february 27th 2017 tik January 9th 2018 i returned for the second tume ti SEn 1116 ftrom january 9th 2018 after 3PM

My earliest memories of radio were listening to 2SM and picking up the top 40 charts from one of the many record shops around in the late 70s.

2UW was an alternative but they seemed to play too many older 70s and 60s songs.
I had a tiny transistor radio that my dad bought duty free in Bangkok or Singapore, on his way back from a trip to Europe.

My elderly next door neighbours on both sides would listen to 2CH. One of them would tune into 2GB or 2UE at times, depending on whoever was on. The other would be tuned into 2KY for the racing.

Then along came FM and it was the war of 2Day FM vs 2MMM. I remember a teacher at school discussing 2JJ moving to 2JJJ but I had no idea what that was about.

I started listening to 2Day FM then went to Triple M as my tastes in music changed, but often surfed between the two. My older workmates would listen to 2WS. I remember the arguments in the office over radio stations and people moving workstations so they wouldn’t have to listen to other people’s bad choice of music and radio station. :laughing:

By the time Nova came along I was ready to ditch Triple M. For a long time I only listened to Nova because they played the latest hits and great alternative music. But in the last few years when they started sounding same same as the others, I started surfing the dial to 2Day and Mix, then also Triple J, The Edge, 2WS and even KIIS.

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The biggest change I can think of is the loss of localism in radio over the past 40 years. Local stations used to take great pride in promoting and developing their talent and being seen to have a news service in touch with the community. Everything is so cookie cutter and generic now. Very little is invested in localism and news is done on a shoestring budget. They’ll do outside broadcasts at places like Domayne and Harvey Norman (advertisers) but I don’t hear about community events like “Breakfast at the Beach” or “Breakfast by the Lake” anymore. They may well still take place but I don’t listen to local radio anymore and don’t see them promoted across other media. The exception is i98’s Camp Quality Convoy.

The radio was always on in the house when I was growing up. 2WL gave way to the talk stations when the music ceased to appeal to my parents. 2UE was always on in the morning (Gary O’Callaghan) but there came a point where mum got sick of twisting the dial from the racing station and she listened to John Singleton and Ron Casey on 2KY for a few years. These days she won’t allow the grandkids to change the station from 2GB on her car radio. She had me tune all the presets to 2GB and went wild when one of the kids switched to the FM band and she couldn’t figure out how to get 2GB back. At least i know where some of her views come from.

I remember bringing home a 2SM promotional sticker when I was in kindy and sticking it on the mirror in my bedroom because I really liked the denim clad record logo. Don’t remember listening to the station because 2SM reception was poor in my area. You don’t see radio station logo stickers on cars anymore. Used to hold up a cassette recorder to a transistor radio to record songs, also. Now I flick between Smooth and WS when I’m in the car on short trips but usually play my own stuff on longer journeys. I listen to very little talkback now that 2UE has been decimated. I’ll stream 3AW for a short time in the morning but I’m quick to turn off if I’m irritated by the subjects being discussed.

I really hate the current era of networked programming. You may as well be listening to radio in another city or on the other side of the world if the station isn’t going to provide local news and information. That’s pretty much what I do these days. Sydney radio turned to shit years ago. Too many stations doing the same thing and no competition because licence holders own more than one station in the same market. You’d think with the population boom in Sydney there’d be more diversity in ownership and what is on offer. Sadly, no.


Oh great topic although I suspect ultimately a bit depressing :slight_smile:

My first memories of radio were really “funtastic” 4MB Maryborough in the mid to late 70s. On holidays at my grandmother’s house at the beach it was always 4BU again in the late 70s and early 80s. 4BU seemed obsessed with certain bands. Every time I hear Little River Band I think of them.

1980 - 1985 was spent trying to get good daytime reception of 4GY who had a top 40/AC format and loved the “new romantics”. Whenever I hear certain Spandau Ballet songs like Round and Round I think of 4GY. They also sounded so much more professional and polished than 4MB or 4BU. Nighttime was spent DXing stations in particular 4MK and 4HI used to come through best. But I’d just go slowly up and down the dial. As a station faded out I’d move on. Lots of fantastic early 80s music! It was a great time. I recall in particular when Careless Whisper/George Michael seemed to be constantly played on nearly every station!

1985 - 1990 when I came to Brisbane for Uni and work it was all about FM 104 and Stereo 10. This would be my golden era of radio. I didn’t know how lucky I had it and I had no idea it would end! I still think for me there will never be another station like FM104. It was just perfect for me.

Things went downhill a bit in the 90s both musically and station wise. MMM wrecked FM104 and I’m still not over it. B105 was ok at first but eventually I switched off. QFM/Star at least provided a good listen.

Spent a few years working in Sydney so it was mainly WS, Mix and MMM. Interestingly on my regular drives up to Brisbane I rarely found anything worth listening to except the Newcastle stations.

The 2000s were even worse at first. 97.3 was a big disappointment to me when it went to air. Was so looking forward to the 3rd official FM in Brisbane but it was such a letdown. So bland and repetitive and safe. Still can’t stand it to this day.
So mainly listened to a bit of Triple M, 4KQ and 4BH.

Then I discovered Breeze and Rebel which got me enthusiastic about radio again. And River 949 also became a staple in the car.

Then I started streaming some overseas stations.

Today I listen to 100% DAB at home and in the car. Smooth, Easy Hits, Triple M Classic Rock and Greatest Hits mainly. At work I stream Absolute 80s and BBC2 from the UK.

The only FM I listen to occasionally is Breeze, Rebel and River.

I still love radio to this day, although I listen to zero mainstream FM.

Sadly nothing will ever come close though to the 80s golden era for me - 4GY, Stereo 10 and the perfection that was FM104 :slight_smile:


I think that to me is also the biggest disappointment. I used to love listening to radio whether I was in Melbourne or in the country or in another city. It used to pride itself on being vibrant and passionate and local at a time when television was becoming increasingly networked. Now radio is just as generic and bland. It does nothing to make me want to try it, particularly commercial radio. In Melbourne our commercial FM stations are just networked clones of Sydney stations. On commercial AM there is 3AW and SEN but they are followed by 1278 and 1377 which are barely existing.


strong text Chirstian Radiio Statins like Visiob Christian Radio & Lightfm have chme on the scene bringung popel ti the saving knoll;ege of jesueb Christ.

there has always been religious radio of some sort although it used to be a licence obligation on commercial stations.

2CH in Sydney started broadcasting in 1935. The licence holder was the NSW Council of Churches until it was sold to John Singleton in April 1994 and it became part of the Macquarie Radio Network. The CH stands for “Churches”.

The formats are so narrow now, the announcers are not allowed to be human either or are all voice tracked or pre recorded. Can remember to original days of sunfm 96.9 in shep. Great memories or a great station


Of course 2SM was owned by the Catholic Church for decades and even interrupted their normal playlist to broadcast mass on Sunday nights :slight_smile:

3XY had Sunday night talkback in the 1980s with Rev Tom Stokes. Used to listen to his show every week.

3AK had very religious owners back in the old days of radio of the 1940s or thereabouts, and again in the late 1990s when Fusion Media, a Tasmanian-based Christian media association, took over the station. But IIRC it was only on Sunday nights that 3AK under Fusion had a specifically Christian program.

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I agree with most comments posted so far.The ‘good old days ‘ of radio are gone forever.My earliest memories of listening to radio was when I was about 8-9 years old living in Cairns,listening to 4CA,the local station,and 4KZ from Innisfail also 4AM from Mareeba ,not too far away. I was only 6 when my family left Brisbane for Cairns in 1970 so I don’t remember what Brisbane stations were like in the 1960s.:blush:Mid 70s to early 1980 living in Townsville,listening to 4TO They were AM station back then of course and 4AY,now HIT 103.1 FM.Returned to Brisbane January 1980 with family and I remember thinking “wow 5 commercial radio stations “4BK,(now Hit 105,)4IP, (later Radio/Stereo 10 -Lite and Easy 1008)4BH(then Magic 882,now Talking Lifestyle)4KQ and 4BC ,they used to broadcast horse racing back then but played some music also.This was a few months before FM 104 (now Triple M) launched in August that year. I Started listening to Radio/Stereo 10 early 80s and then I would also switch to FM 104 .Nowdays I would rather not listen to any FM station at all ,but having to listen to Triple M at work is better than having no music at all.I’ll listen to ABC Brisbane at nights if I want to listen to talkback radio.Its also sad that most of these call signs that I’ve mentioned have since disappeared from Brisbane radio :confused:


Maybe before my time but you just reminded me of a talkback show on Sunday nights with Father Jim McLaren. 2SM or 2UW or maybe both at different times?

The show always started with “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…” the opening words from the song Sound of Silence by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

Father Gerard Dowling is still going on Melbourne radio on Sunday nights. 45 years he’s been doing his Sunday night show on 3UZ (or RSN as it is now) although he did have a brief move to 3DB in the 1980s.

When I first started working at my current place of employment back in 1993 I was happy that we were allowed to listen to radios while working,unlike at my previous job.I remember listening to mainly B105 back then ,also Triple M.When 97.3 launched in 2001 then we started listening to them ,but at the time I think they were trying to copy B 105…Then Nova came along in 2006 so now there was a choice of 4 FM stations to listen to,Nova were a great listen in those days.Thats what eventually caused problems at work with people not all agreeing on one station to listen to.