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21 March 2005

Radio Station

Visit Western Australia, and look at the history of the state's first radio station.

RICHARD RENNIE: When the government offered a licence in 1924, Westralian Farmers applied for it and they got it. And so began the process of setting up 6WF.

RADIO BROADCAST: I am privileged this evening in being asked to open the first broadcasting system of wireless telephony in WA.

JONATHAN BEAL: In 1924, when Premier Phillip Collier officially launched 6WF with a gala concert, WA was at the forefront of radio broadcasting.

They were the days of valves, coils and crystals and nobody knew more about the new technology than Wally Coxon.

STAN GERVAS, RETIRED BROADCASTER: It was almost an unknown science when WF came on the air, the wireless process itself. It was quite early by world standards to have a station here. And Wally Coxon was the backyard sort of ham radio enthusiast.

RICHARD RENNIE: The legendary Wally Coxon, he was probably the most, the pre-eminent radio technician in WA at this stage.

JONATHAN BEAL: Wally Coxon began by installing an enormous aerial on the roof of the Westralian Farmers building in Perth.

RICHARD RENNIE: The transmitter was probably as good as anything in Australia at that stage.

JONATHAN BEAL: Then he set about designing and building radio receivers. Available for the princely sum of 50 - around 10 week's wages - the sets were known as Mulgaphones.

STAN GERVAS: Once the ABC took over in about 1934 or so, I think, and it became 6WF officially, as part of the ABC network in Australia, it went ahead by leaps and bounds. A great deal of money was poured in, where before it was an amateur operation.

DAVID HAWKES: The ABC was in these premises, and it was a very busy and bustling place. It was full of people working in many, many different areas.

JONATHAN BEAL: There was light entertainment, religious programs, education programs for schools, and music, sports and talk.

DAVID HAWKES: WA was producing and broadcasting more content than any of the other States, because of the time difference. The other States took so many things live from each other.

JONATHAN BEAL: In the 1980s and '90s, everything changed. Once again money grew tight, and much of the station's activities were streamlined, rationalised and downsized.

Today, 6WF is called 720, and there's a new generation of voices at the microphone. For station staff, it's all about giving the community a forum to share ideas and opinions.

In its 81st year, WF will move from the Adelaide Terrace studios to a new lean and streamlined building in East Perth.
Over the next decade, there'll be more changes and more choice - from jazz to country music, talkback to current affairs and all in crisp digital-quality sound.

JAMES O'BRIEN: And 10 years down the track, it won't be just one or two stations you'll listen to. Whatever you want, whatever the time of day, it'll be there. So if you feel like a bit of talk at 7:00 at night, it'll be there. If you feel like a bit of news at 4:00 in the morning, it'll be there. Whatever you want, will be available.

story notes

Notice that we spell the noun licence with a c and not an s.

Example: I need a licence
Follow the link to find out when to use the word spelled license.
more information: licence

The past tense of the irregular verb get.
more information: get

The past tense of the irregular verb begin.
more information: begin

setting up
To set up something is to establish it.

Example: Nexus was set up about four years ago.
For more uses of the phrasal verb set up, follow the link.
more information: set up

wireless telephony
Wireless telophony is an old-fashioned word meaning radio. A wireless is an old-fashioned radio.

A radio is a device used to receive sound signals.

You can see some glass valves in the picture behind his hand.

unknown science
something people didn't know much about

The past tense of the irregular verb come.
more information: come

on the air
To say that radio or TV is on the air means that it is being broadcast and can be seen or heard.

Pre-eminent means the best, or most important.

A technician is someone skilled or trained in a process.

To install means to connect and set up for use.

An aerial is an electrical device that sends or receives radio or television signals

Another word for an aerial is an antenna.

A transmitter is used to send radio or TV signals.

set about
start doing something in a purposeful way

Example: Let's set about fixing up the house.

Radio needs a transmitter to send out a signal and then a receiver to receive the signal. Both the receiver and transmitter use aerials, or antenna to capture or send a signal.

A radio also needs a tuner. A radio receiver picks up many different radio waves from the air. The tuner separates the radio signals, so that you can listen to the right one.

The signals are transmitted at different frequencies. The frequency refers to the number of radio waves per second. It also refers to the number shown on the dial.

The past tense of the irregular verb go.
more information: go

leaps and bounds
a lot very quickly

Example: My understanding of English is improving in leaps and bounds with English Bites.

Follow the link and listen to the way we pronounce 'content' when it's used as an adjective.
more information: content

The past tense of the irregular verb take.
more information: take

Follow the link and listen to the way we pronounce 'live' when it's used as a verb.
more information: live

down the track
in the future

Example: A few years down the track, I'll finish studying and find a job.