Radio History


3JJJ in Melbourne launched 22 October 1989, marking the first expansion of Triple J outside of Sydney (although some ABC regional local stations and ABC radio via AUSSAT were carrying Triple J overnight AFAIK)

6JJJ in Perth was next (29 October)… and Brisbane was the last in the metropolitan rollout of Triple J which also included Newcastle.

ABC FM initially began in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra from 24 January 1976. As mentioned above it extended to Brisbane in 1980.

It had expanded to Newcastle, Ballarat, Rockhampton, Loxton, Mt Gambier, Perth, Bunbury, Hobart and Launceston by 1983. (Source: Dick Smith Catalogue, Data Section, 1983)

By financial year 1984-85 it had expanded to Darwin and about 20 further regional sites, bringing a total of 37 stations nationally. (ABC Annual Report, 1984-85) and 39 stations by 1986-87.


I’m pretty sure there are others too… I can remember a handbook I had around 1983 that also listed

93.5 Central West Slopes (Dubbo)
98.9 Central Tablelands (Orange)
107.9 Wollongong
107.9 Taree and Port Macquarie

104.3 Albury/Wodonga
106.3 Bendigo

92.5 Wide Bay

All of the above have since changed frequencies.


That’s quite possible. The Dick Smith catalogue data section may not have been 100% up to date.


I have noted approx start times for those:

93.5 Central West Slopes (Dubbo) 12/84
98.9 Central Tablelands (Orange) 08/82
107.9 Wollongong 03/83
107.9 Taree and Port Macquarie 08/84

104.3 Albury/Wodonga 02/83
106.3 Bendigo 11/82

92.5 Wide Bay 11/83


Until Hitz began, that was the only FM signal in the area.

Soul destroying as a little one from a metro area.

New car, could hit the seek button and would tune to 92.5 and then seek all the way back to it.


92.5 was a terrible choice for ABC FM - it would often overcome Gold FM on the Gold Coast during summer.


Let’s campaign to have it co-channeled again, would be a decent improvement on the songs that make consultants feel good but no one else.


Where did you get those dates from?

Another note re Central Tablelands, they changed frequencies TWICE, they moved to 93.1 for a few years from the late 80s before landing on its current home of 102.7 in the early 90s.

Not sure why though.


Yes I’m pretty sure ABC FM was on air in Wide Bay before '85, either '83 or '84. As a teenager I clearly remember the disappointment that it was all I could get on FM at the time…


I recall doing exactly the same! :slight_smile:

The only compensation was 4GY used to get into Maryborough and even Hervey Bay quite well in the daytime anyway and was pretty good in those days.

And of course lots of late night distance listening where I recall hearing a lot of 4MK, 4HI, Radio 10, 2GF and 2NX-2NM.


Back in the day I kept my own database. Most of the updated info came as a publication by the ABA each year of radio and TV stations and that included the start date (actually licence date but for ABC there was an strong equivalence).


Today marks 40 years since the station now known as i98FM in the Illawarra region was born. The station started life on AM as 2 Double 0 on 1st January 1979, which was broadcasting on 1575kHz, giving 2WL a local commercial competitor for the first time. The station was purchased by WIN in 1987. The station only existed for about 13 1/2 years before it converted to the FM band in June 1992 as i98FM. On a sidenote, 2WL converted to the FM band as Wave FM less than 2 weeks later.

Whilst 2 Double 0 wasn’t exactly successful on AM against the much higher-rating 2WL, it has been far more successful as i98FM, winning almost every ratings since 1995, bar the two consecutive surveys in 2002-03.


The transition to FM for both 2WL and 2OO has (for me) levelled the playing field, as 1314 2WL had a vastly superior signal (for me) from Windang (right on the coast) compared to 1575 2OO’s site at Dapto (being a bit further inland).


Audio clips from when i98 converted to FM from 2 Double 0 in 1992. This would bring back some memories for @Laoma. :slight_smile:

Credit: The Radio Vault


The news was obviously network… Rod Earl was an old Macquarie hand but that wasn’t Macquarie News… maybe 2WS network news?

I wonder where Rod is today? Retired probably.


Interesting that the station never launched a new logo with the drastic format change to what it is today.


Apparently, the format change for i98 came about 2 years later in 1994, when it shifted from “Classic Hits” to “A Better Music Mix”, going with a more modern music format, as well as appointing Maroon & Milly as their breakfast duo. The move paid off, with the station gradually becoming an almost consistent #1 ever since.

At around the same time, Wave FM took on the format that i98 had left behind, using “The Best Songs of All Time” as their positioner. Prior to the change, 2WL & then Wave FM had a more modern music format than its rival.

Today, both i98 & Wave FM are sounding very much alike, with some minor differences.


I tend think that i98 skew a bit younger than Wave does. They are more likely to play newer songs, Wave more likely to play older songs.

But I think i98 has a slicker and more polished feel to it.


It was 2ws news from memory. Thanks for the memories @TV-Expert. Those 80s songs are played now a lot on fm, but back then it was harder to find those hits on fm.


Dance Music Aspirant Kiss FM would later emerge as a Low Power Open Narrowcaster for Melbourne which is still around Today.