How has radio changed in your lifetime?


Great post and I agree with you about FM104… although I was probably too young to appreciate it as much as I should have back then… I’d come from Christchurch where we had two FM CHR stations (and one on AM)… as a teenager at the time… (and with a fantastic plastic already in my hand having DX’d them for years) I was a Stereo 10 fan :slight_smile: I loved the fact that Stereo 10 even had a section in Myer in Queen Street selling their merchandise… such was the power of radio at that time.

One station you don’t mention is Nova. Did they fulfil your expectations at the time? Did they ‘sound different’?


Haha… that must be an institution - I even remember it as a kid listening in NZ…

‘WA regional listeners leaving us now for the country hour’

And I used to think… ‘You poor people, the game is poised at 22 for two, and you have to listen to a show about sheep dags for an hour?’


Yes I agree entirely. I used to listen to the football on shortwave in New Zealand and the breaks for races seemed constant and incessant.

I remember watching cricket from Nine (both here and in NZ) where they would also cross to a race without a blinking of an eyelid.

So glad that’s not the case anymore.


Just on that… and it’s something that will always amaze me… is that even a CHR ‘Hot Hits’ station like 3XY… which I thought was so much cooler and cutting edge and completely top-40 chart focused…

Would still have ‘Punter to Punter’… on ‘Hot tip 3XY’… that just did my head in…


The World Radio & TV Handbook - what a treasure… I think I must have had it almost on a constant loan from the Timaru Library at the time.

As far as 4ZZZ… remember when Victoria Brazil kicked them off campus?


They did quite a few comedy shows though. And at one stage they had the late night Rocky Horror show several nights a week.



Ah, the ‘things were only good in my day’ thread :wink:

Lot of the talk re: networking and localism ignores the fact that radio audiences are significantly smaller than they used to be and there’s more competition now than there ever used to be. More services vying for people’s attention.

People don’t want to listen to localism for the sake of it. They want to listen to good content. You can get localism in the palm of your hand now - local news, local traffic, local events, local conversations and discussion. You don’t have to wait for the top of the hour to get the news and you can react straight away to whatever you’re thinking about in the moment, without having to call up or wait for the talkback announcer to declare a free for all or talk about the topic you want to. And you can find the specific niches you like. You can have a Facebook group that only has 100 like-minded people on there. A radio station that only has 100 listeners is a radio station that is on the brink of collapse.

Radio has been forced to adjust, to change. It can never and could never be the same as it was when the family gathered around the radio, or when the only way, or at least the easiest and least-intrusive way you could have music in your shop or workplace was to have a radio.

Interestingly, the rise of in-home AI assistants may give rise to radio again - radio now has the potential to be back in the home, however it is now alongside podcasts, others music and audio content from around the globe, radio from around the globe, and there’s no barrier to entry (license fees and studio build costs) like there used to be.

Radio, in general, has been relegated to passive entertainment, and the content contained within is now accessible in many locations, further removing the need specifically for a radio.

As for me, as a member of a younger generation, I grew up listening to radio in the car. I remember going interstate and being excited about hearing the different content on radio stations, and how the vibe of the station would totally fit the place, and be part of the experience. I also recognised that I was the only one that would really pay attention to it, even as ‘long ago’ as the late 90s. I also remember listening to walkmans, cassette tapes and eventually MP3 players instead of, and in defiance of, my parent’s car radio choices. I now listen to podcasts and my own music via Bluetooth in the car on about a 70/30% split (70% radio, 30% not), but also recognise I’m in a minority of my friends in my age group as to the percentage of time I listen to radio.

Some of the content currently on radio has a future, I just don’t know if it’s future involves being broadcast via radio waves, or being surrounded by songs and audio ads, let alone the same songs and ads.

Even now, I often listen to British or American radio; I have friends who are of a similar age to me who work for major radio networks who prefer to listen to podcasts and Spotify than their own radio station.

As always, we should be careful not to over-romanticise the past, nor get too nostalgic. I don’t genuinely believe radio was better ‘back in the day,’ in fact the availability of nationally networked shows and therefore larger/pooled budgets for talent means we’ve probably got some of the best/better radio shows for our time on radio right now (some, not all). Radio was just a much bigger part of people’s lives ‘back in the day’ and it’s very easy to forget the realities and objectively compare.

It’s the same reason people who grew up watching The Simpsons every night on Channel Ten through Seasons 2-9 now think the new episodes of The Simpson’s are terrible. And the same reason some people complain about society being ‘too PC’ and pine for the ‘good ol days’ where you could say what you wanted, despite the fact that the ‘good ol days’ are demonstrably and objectively worse than the current day.


Some radio these days is absolutely brilliant.

And better than anything in the past…



Been listening to plenty of Iain’s LBC shows (particularly Triple M) and I wish there was an Australian who could handle a phone-in like he does.


Pradeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Haha.

Definitely! I first stumbled across him when he was on Absolute… and I too enjoy his stuff from LBC (great to discover something then indulge in the back catalogue!)… Some of the Vinnie calls still crack me up… The closest thing I ever heard in Australia was the Boogie Check…

If you’re interested, there’s an insightful interview that James O’Brien did a few months ago… Iain goes through all the highs and lows of his career.


British radio, and a select number of US radio shows, appear to, well, trust the audience more. I think the shows feel more real, less faked and the hosts more genuine than many Australian shows. I think the notable exception is KTM, who genuinely seem to have fun.

British radio seems to me to be… unapologetic.


Just saw this thread and wanted to contribute. The biggest change is that I don’t listen to it anymore and I’m shocked so many people still do when you can put your preferred audio on your phone and listen to it anywhere.

With streaming music services and podcasts, I can listen to my personal tunes at home, in the car or at work. Our office no longer listens to the radio and instead plays Spotify all day.

The only radio I actually hear anymore are the handful of shows I listen to in podcast format.


I certainly don’t listen to mainstream FM anymore. In the 80s and 90s it was on constantly.

Probably 75% of my overall listening is DAB stations at home or in the car. I just can’t be bothered streaming in the car.

At work I stream Absolute 80s from the UK which is a DAB station. I prefer it over Spotify actually. I also occasionally stream US stations.

In general I’ll listen to DAB or stream actual radio from overseas rather than Spotify. I just don’t find it engaging.

If I do listen to normal commercial radio it’s 4KQ (on DAB) or Rebel/Breeze. I like Saturday Extra on RN.

So the biggest change for me is not listening to mainstream FM. If I was in Sydney or Melbourne I’d probably listen to Smooth or Gold a bit as I’m on Smooth Brisbane a lot on DAB. Although I’d likely listen to them on DAB too.


What about WS in Sydney?

As for the topic in hand, radio in Sydney & surrounding areas has changed quite a bit over the last 20+ years. Back in the late 90s & early 00s, before Nova arrived, the Sydney commercial FM stations had a set format, so when you tune to a certain station, you know what kind of music you would expect to hear.
In Wollongong, Wave FM was an adult music station, whilst i98 target the younger listeners, in which the former rated much better than they do now. On the Central Coast, Star 104.5 wasn’t around (it launched in March 2004), so there was only 2GO & Sea FM, both of which were owned by RG Capital, and were a good listen. Back in those days, I would listen to the local stations whilst in those areas.

Nowadays, I hardly listen to much of the commercial FM stations. WS & 2Day are sounding a bit alike (especially since the latter had a format change in the beginning of this year), whilst Nova & KIIS (formerly Mix 106.5, which used to have a format similar to Smooth) sound pretty much the same.
In Wollongong, there is nothing much separating Wave FM & i98 in the music department (see my recent logs in the “Music Logs” thread), whilst on the Central Coast, 2GO has shifted younger to compete with Star 104.5, eliminating 70s music from its playlist. Unlike before, I would be more inclined to stick with some of the Sydney stations whilst in Wollongong or the Central Coast.

When in Sydney or other major cities, I would now stick with DAB+ most of the time, although neither of my parents’ cars have DAB+.


I still listen to it a lot but the automation and networking has changed it a lot over the last 20 years or so. More so for the worst unfortunately, the advent of the internet has obviously had a big impact.


Yes when I said Gold I meant WS as well :slight_smile:


Radio has not changed in my lifetime. Dinosaurs still rule the airwaves! :joy:


These days, stations will outsource some of their material to others, especially if it owned by the same company. For example, 3AW outsourced it’s coverage of the Fremantle v Collingwood match to 6PR with Karl Langdon, Mark Readings and Glen Jakovich. SEN does this too with AFL Nation.