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Official Opening

The official opening of Radio 2AD took place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 5th February, 1936 in the station studio on North Hill Armidale.

The studio and transmission mast were situated on two-acres of leased crown land which was part of Drummond Park, on what is now, the corner of Jeffrey and Jessie Street, just to the east of the Apex Memorial Lookout looking across the city to the south.

For some weeks prior to the opening, residents of Armidale were invited to inspect the building and aerial complex.

The transmission equipment was designed and built at the Sydney works of Standard Telephones & Cable (a/sia) Ltd. - S.T.C. The company also manufactured Radio Receivers for battery, alternating or direct current power supplies, prices ranged from ₤21/17/6 (twenty one pounds seventeen shillings and sixpence).

 

Following is a transcribed account of the newspaper stories leading up to and the official opening ceremony speeches as reported in the Armidale Express.


 

ON THE AIR ON FEB 5

Taken from the Armidale Express 27 January 1936, page 4.

Arrangements for Opening Ceremony. 

Armidale’s Broadcasting Station will be on air from on Wednesday, February 5, at 7 p.m.

The opening ceremony will be performed by the Hon. D. H. Drummond M.L.A., Minister for Education, at 7.30pm. It is hoped that the Mayor of Armidale, (Ald. O’Connor), President of the Dumaresq Shire Council (Cr. J. S. Moorehead), the president of the Chamber of Commerce (Mr. D. W. Oliver) will also speak in addition to Mr. A. H. McArthur (Chairman of Northern Broadcasters Ltd.). 

Visitors from Sydney will include Mr. E. C. Sommerlad and Mr. Graham Dowland of the Country Press; Mr. A. D. Bourke,  representative for Northern Broadcasters, and Mr. Beattie, who is to manage 2AD’s twin station 2LV at Inverell.  Visitors from Brisbane will, it is hoped, include Mr. Chandler and Mr. Mitchell of Station 4BC.

Mr. John Creighton, 2AD’s manager, says that 2AD’s opening programme on Wednesday week will be indicative of the standard listeners may expect in the future with the exception, naturally of speeches, and the fact that the opening night will be quite free from advertisements.

The station will be on the air from 7 a.m. till 9 a.m., 12 noon to 2 p.m., 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. and 6 p.m.  to 10 p.m.

Mr. John Creighton will conduct the night sessions, whilst the other end of the day will be in the care of Peter Macgregor.  2AD’s technical staff will be supervised by Mr. Lindo Taylor.

The management of Northern Broadcasters Ltd., would esteem it a favour if listeners to Station 2AD on the opening night would be kind enough to telephone or write the Broadcasting Station on the quality of the reception.  2AD is located on the dial at 277.7.

 

BROADCASTING   Plant for Armidale Station  - Erection Commences
Taken from the Armidale Express 29 January 1936, page 4.

The valuable transmitting plant for use at 2AD, Northern Broadcasters’ Armidale Station arrived yesterday by lorry, in charge of an expert from S.T.C. Co. Ltd., the contractors and the work of erection was immediately commenced.

The station will open on Wednesday next, when a programme of exceptional merit will follow the speeches marking the formal opening. 

The mast and building have been inspected by hundreds during the past few weeks, thus indicating the tremendous interest manifested in the station.

GRAND OPENING - ARMIDALE’S RADIO STATION.
Taken from the Armidale Express 31 January 1936, page 4.

To take place on Wednesday Night. Arrangements for the opening of 2AD, Armidale’s radio station, on Wednesday night next, are rapidly nearing completion.

Engineers are putting the finishing touches to the installation of the most modern and efficient transmitting equipment procurable and listeners throughout New England, and beyond are assured of the best possible service that money and organisation can provide.

The programme for the opening night is as follows:

7.00     Light orchestral music, interspersed with special announcements to enable listeners to pick up the station call sign and wavelength.

7.30     Official opening by the Hon D. H. Drummond M.L.A., Minister for Education, also  short addresses by the Mayor of Armidale; the president of the Chamber of Commerce, the Shire President;  Mr. A. H. McArthur,  chairman of Northern Broadcasters and Mr. Chandler,  managing director of 4BC,  Brisbane.

Programme for the evening of February 5th.

8.00     Band selections of Empire music.

8.15     Exclusive programme of uninterrupted music.

8.30     Humorous interlude, featuring Ronald Frankau, John Tilley,
Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge.

8.45     On with the Dance.

9.00     Reflections of a war-time pilot, by John Creighton.

9.15     Donald Novis (vocal gems).

9.30     Old Time Memories.

9.45     Tranquillity Tales by John Creighton.

10.0     God Save the King.

            Close.

 

ON THE AIR
RADIO STATION 2AD OFFICIALLY OPENED
Taken from the Armidale Express, Friday 7 February 1936, page 8.

Armidale and District Delighted with Clarity of Reception.

SYDNEY LISTNERS SEND CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES

Big Venture Wins Approbation of the North.

Radio Station 2AD, the first station to be established by Northern Broadcasters Limited, was officially opened on Wednesday night under the happiest auspices.

The occasion marked the culmination of months of preparatory work, and the success which attended the function proved a generous reward for those associated with the venture.

At the station, situated in Drummond Park, at North Armidale, were gathered leaders in the wireless world from Sydney and Brisbane, while in hundreds of homes throughout New England listeners heard the speeches and musical programme with the utmost clarity.

From shortly after the commencement of proceedings until the station closed down at 10 o’clock an attendant at the telephone was kept busy answering messages of a flattering nature concerning the clarity of reception, and the general excellence of the programme.

Glen Innes, Dorrigo, Tamworth, Bundarra, Uralla, Arding, Guyra and other centres reported excellent reception, while one well known Sydney businessman, residing at Mosman rang the station to state that on a four-valve set he could hear every item quite clearly, and offered to send back a complete report of the proceedings. He stated that on his nine-valve set the volume control had to be used with vigour.

Four other metropolitan listeners also reported splendid reception.

The ceremony was performed by the Minister for Education, (the Hon. D. H. Drummond), and his congratulatory remarks concerning the quality of the station from both technical and staff viewpoints, were supported by other leading citizens.  The chairman of the Board of Directors of Northern Newspapers (Mr. A. H. McArthur), and the managing director (Mr. E. C. Sommerlad M.L.C.)  were among the speakers.


The Mayor, Ald. M. H. O’Connor, who was the first officially to speak from 2AD, and said:

I must express my sincere pleasure in being here this evening to take part in the opening of the latest broadcasting station in the Commonwealth, and to be the first to speak officially from Station 2AD, of Northern Broadcasters Ltd., an occasion which marks the advancement of our city, and the placing of Armidale more fully on the map as a city of progress.


From the front of this station is to be seen one of the finest panoramas that could be pictured. Away in the distance can be seen some of the blue hills of the New England range, whilst in this valley below us nestles our Cathedral City, with its galaxy of beautiful ecclesiastical and educational establishments, as well as the many fine private and public buildings, the Teachers College away on the southern hill being the crowning feature, and the whole forms one of the most beautiful scenes that one could picture. Tourists passing through our city should call at 2AD and admire this beautiful setting and splendid view from its front door.

Let us wish the station success, and hope that from its situation on the highlands of New England it may be the means of distributing all the latest news, help in the advancement of education, and forward the interests of our district generally.

 

Minister’s Address

The Minister for Education, Mr. D. H. Drummond, who officially opened the Station congratulated the promoters upon their enterprise in providing New England with its own broadcasting station and upon having secured the services of such a capable staff.

Mr. Drummond in his address said that he had been given the privilege of officially opening the broadcasting station at Armidale which in future would be known as 2AD, and would like his wide circle of hearers who, per medium of this progressive development in the Cathedral City of the North, would listen to his speech to join with him in congratulating the people of Armidale and district on the fact that they now have in their midst an up-to-date wireless station controlled by capable officers.

The directors of Northern Broadcasters Ltd., who had fostered the establishment of the Armidale station were to be congratulated on their courage and foresight in placing in Armidale an up-to-date station and selecting for its management those who would be able to give the highest possible service to a most difficult area to reach by wireless.

Those who loved sport, but who are isolated from the great city areas where the champions battle for supremacy and are not permitted to watch the struggle, were yet able to follow it run by run,  try by try,  point by point.  The music lover, the student of public affairs, the farmer seeking market news, the businessman intent on commercial fluctuations, all would now be given service. 

Science had achieved much, and one of its greatest achievements was the high pinnacle to which wireless broadcasting had been raised.  Some things, however, it has not yet been able to do, and among these is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week wireless service. To secure this in any marked degree it was necessary to have a local wireless station hence 2AD.

The aim and object of the directors of Northern Broadcasters Ltd. was to establish a fine tradition of service, finely maintained, and one which would cause Armidale and its district to be proud of this latest progressive movement.

 
Greeting from Business Community

The next speaker was the president of the Chamber of Commerce Mr. D. W. Oliver who said:

I would like at the outset to express my appreciation of the courtesy extended to the Armidale and District Chamber of Commerce in inviting me, as its president, to say a few words on this, the occasion the official opening of Station 2AD at Armidale.

The controlling companies of newspapers at Armidale, Inverell and Glen Innes are to be congratulated on their enterprise in establishing a station at Armidale, and I feel I am expressing the sentiments of the whole of the business and professional people of Armidale when I say that the creation of this broadcasting station is not only an asset to the town and district of Armidale, but to the north of New South Wales generally.

The companies concerned have spared no effort nor expense in providing a really up-to-date station and I hope that all those business people of Armidale and the north, who can see their way to do so, will place their advertising contracts with Station 2AD, and that the people generally will show their appreciation by supporting such firms, who are making it possible for Northern Broadcasters to provide and maintain a satisfactory service for the benefit of listeners generally. Mr. Oliver also referred to the attractions of Armidale and district.


 

The Chairman Address

Mr. A. H. McArthur, chairman of directors, said that listeners may be interested in hearing something of the circumstance which led to the launching of this great enterprise. When the opportunity offered to acquire broadcasting rights for the north and north western portions of the N.E. tablelands, the Armidale Newspaper Co. and Northern Newspapers Ltd., promptly stepped in and secured licenses and proceeded with the establishment of stations at Armidale and Inverell.

A substantial amount of capitol was required, but the Newspaper Companies considered that the demand for an efficient broadcasting service combining news and entertainment warranted the outlay: Station 2AD was the first to function and 2LV (Inverell) would follow in the course of five or six weeks. 

The company has spared no expense with the mechanical equipment. In fact, it might be claimed that the installation of 2AD excels anything of its capacity in the State today. Experts considered that S.T.C. had achieved a triumph in its Armidale undertaking, and opinion which listeners in due course would no doubt fully appreciate.

In regard to the staff the company decided that “nothing but the best” would suffice, and accordingly the services of men of outstanding qualifications were retained for both stations.

There has been rapid development in radio during recent times and he ventured to suggest that the ambitious step taken by Northern Broadcasters in bringing this modern service to the flourishing New England tablelands would be fully justified.

 

THE PLACE OF RADIO

Mr. V. F. Mitchell, general manager of the Chandler Group of B class stations in Queensland, of which 4BC Brisbane, is perhaps the best known, said he felt it a privilege for two reasons, to be present at the official opening of Station 2AD. The first was that he was a personal friend of Mr. E. C. Sommerlad, M.L.C., and secondly because it was the first occasion on which he had spoken through a microphone in New South Wales, although he had taken part in the opening of many Queensland stations.

Some people, continued the speaker, wondered why Armidale needed a broadcasting station. There were two reasons which might be termed respectively, technical and local. There were also two reasons why a newspaper should be published, and these were also technical and local. The primary reason was the need for speed - to get the latest news of the world as early as possible, and the second reason was that the district where the newspaper was located should be able, through its leading articles, to express the views and opinions of that district to the outside world.

The same reasons applied to broadcasting stations. Technically, the station will provide an uninterrupted news service day and night. In the local sense Armidale would be equipped with a voice to tell the world about New England.  Programmes would be provided without cost to listeners - the advertisers would provide it all without them B class stations would be impracticable. Listeners can assist, however, in providing good programmes by buying the advertised products, thus encouraging the advertisers to continue and provide still better programmes.

Mr. Mitchell concluded by reading a number of congratulatory telegrams from other stations.

 


EFFICIENT SERVICE ASSURED

Mr. E. C. Sommerlad M.L.C. spoke later in the evening, touching more particularly upon the work of those who were, in various ways, concerned in the establishment of 2AD. Mr. Sommerlad, in the course of his address said: “I am sure listeners will appreciate the feelings of pride with which I participate in the opening of Station 2AD tonight.  It has been a privilege to be associated in the past ten years with the movement for better newspapers on the tablelands, and I derive a particular satisfaction from the fact that I was, in some degree, instrumental in bringing to my native north the benefits of a modern radio service”.

“Everything that could be done to make Station 2AD completely efficient has been done, and neither money nor effort has been spared to give the tablelands and the northwest a broadcasting service second to none in any country district of Australia. I desire to thank all who, in the months since the license was obtained, have assisted in the preliminary labours which have combined to put this station on the air to-night.”

Continuing, Mr. Sommerlad paid a tribute to the excellence of the work given by the manufacturers of the plant, S.T.C. Company, and the valuable advise given by the consultant, Mr. H. Kauper.  He thanked the Postmaster General’s Department and its officers for the full measure of co-operation extended the company, Mr.  Mitchell (4BC Brisbane) who had made a special trip to Armidale to attend the function.

After referring to the presence of Messrs. Graham Dowland and A. D. Bourke (Sydney advertising representatives), and the manager and engineer of 2LV.  Mr. Sommerlad introduced Mr.  John Creighton, manager and chief announcer of 2AD, who came to Armidale with a splendid record and formally handed over the station to his charge.

 


SOMETHING ABOUT THE PLANT

The equipment embodies all that most modern features of radio art and quality of reproduction, and the standard of the mechanism is very high indeed and quite as good as the best plant in Australia.
 
Designed by Standard Telephones and Cables (Asia) Ltd., better known as S.T.C., the whole of the plant was manufactured in that company’s workshops in Sydney.

Noteworthy features are the push and pull operation of the amplifiers, and the complete elimination of rotating machinery and batteries by the use of mercury vapour rectifiers.  The plant is fitted for automatic starting, and is put into complete operation by pressing two push buttons. A safety interlock is fitted to ensure that access is not attained to the equipment when in operation. Thus it is impossible for the operator to come into contact with dangerous voltages.

Mr. C. J. McQuillan, chief constructional engineer of S.T.C. was present during the installation and testing of the plant, which was installed by Mr. J. I. Jenner, the company’s engineer.

It is noteworthy that the company which was entrusted with the contract of providing the equipment for 2AD has a contract with the Postmaster General’s Department for the provision of seven high power regional stations, two of which have already been established at Launceston and Sale respectively. The next to be constructed will be at Lawrence (North Coast), Townsville, Dubbo, Horsham and Katanning W.A.  These will be the most powerful stations in Australia.


2AD ANNOUNCING STAFF 5th FEBRUARY 1936

John Creighton

Before joining 2AD, John was chief night announcer at 2CH on Sydney. He accepted the position of station manager and chief announcer at the new station in Armidale, on ten pounds a week, which in those days was a considered a good salary. John was originally from England and had only been in Australia for two years.

2AD opened at 7pm with John making the opening announcements and introducing the guest speakers, the principal of whom was Hon. D. H. Drummond M.H.R. (a director of the company 25 years later). The 100 watt station gave what Creighton described as only a pocket handkerchief coverage - but they were as proud of it as if it were 2,000 watts - which indeed it is today.


Richard (Peter) Macgregor

Richard was born in Brisbane on July 14, 1906 and educated at The Armidale School.  He worked in England for a period with P & O Shipping, came back to Australia and moved into the industry, being employed as an announcer under John Creighton at 2AD. Richard used the on-air name Peter Macgregor – he explaining that, it ran more smoothly into the old microphones.

The day before the official opening of 2AD his voice came over the air waves of the New England, announcing “This is 2AD testing”. Peter was the host of the breakfast programme from 7am to 9am on 2AD.

ENGINEERING STAFF

H. V. L. (Lindo) Taylor

Lindo Taylor was 2AD’s first engineer / technician.  He was an engineer at 2GB Sydney when offered the position by Mr. E. C. Sommerlad.

Affectionately known as “Squizzy”, he supervised the installation and testing of the equipment for the new Armidale station.


RADIO PROGRAMME Thursday,  5th February 1936

7.00 am          Time - Morning Hymn Weather Band Music

7.15                News service and Market Report Music

8.00                Harmony Highlights

8.30                Music from the Shows

8.50                What’s On the Air

9.00 am          Close

 

12.00              Time - programme review Lunch music

2.00 pm          Close

6.00 pm          Dinner music

6.57                Grand massed band selection

7.15                News service and Market Report

7.30                Famous Romances of History (Napoleon and the Countess Waleska)

8.30                Dance music

9.00                The Lighter Side of Life

9.10                Stealing through the Classics

9.30                News service and Market Report

9.45                Slumber music

9.57                Tranquillity Tales by John Creighton

10.00              Close


RADIO PROGRAMME  Friday,  6th February 1936

7.00 am          Time - Morning Hymn Weather Band Music

7.15                News service and Market Report Music

8.00                Harmony Highlights

8.30                Vocal Recordings

8.50                What’s On the Air

9.00 am          Close

12.00              Ti me - programme review Lunch music

2.00 pm          Close

6.00 pm          Dinner music

6.57                Pipe Band

7.15                News service and Market Report

7.30                Jewels of Harmony

8.00                Dance music

8.30                Memories of Long Ago

9.00                Miliza Korjus  (soprano)

9.10                The Music Lovers session

9.30                News service and Market Report

9.45                Slumber music

9.57                Tranquillity Tales by John Creighton

10.00              Close


RADIO  PROGRAMME   Saturday,  7th February 1936

7.00 am          Date-Time - Morning Hymn Weather Band Music

7.15                News service and Market Report Music moment

7.30                Birthday calls Music

8.30                Show selection

8.50                What’s On the Air

9.00 am          Close

12.00              Time - programme review Lunch music

2.00 pm          Close

6.00 pm          Dinner music and Birthday calls

6.30                Sporting

6.55                Weather

7.00                On Parade

8.00                Let’s Dance

8.00                Dance music

8.45                Favourites old and new

9.00                The Music Lovers Session

9.15                Dance music

9.30                News service and Market Report Cabaret Cameo

10.00              Close


RADIO  PROGRAMME  Sunday,   8th February 1936

7.00 am          Orchestra music

7.30                Meditation

8.00                Music Masters

9.00                Aerial Travelogue with John Creighton

10.00 am        Close