As in other countries the broadcasting service in Australia had it’s beginnings in experiments, official commercial and amateur. The first actual demonstration of transmission and reception of radiotelephony (speech) occurred in Melbourne at the Aircraft exhibition held in June and July 1920 and in August a public demonstration was given in Sydney by Amalgamated Wireless (A/asia). By early 1921 Amalgamated Wireless (A/asia) were conducting regular weekly experimental broadcasts in Melbourne, in August of the same year the Commonwealth Government Radio Service conducted tests of two way radio communications between Tasmania and the mainland. Experimental transmissions by commercial, official and amateurs increased during the next two years with radio enthusiasts giving reports on reception conditions.
The first proposal for regular broadcasting was made to the Prime Minister’s Dept by
AWA on 27/7/22 when the company indicated that it wanted to provide a radio concert
service in all states. On 1/11/22 they formally applied for permission to establish the
stations, but before the details of the scheme had been approved several other companies
had intimated their desire to provide a broadcasting service. On 24/5/23 a conference of
all interested parties was convened by the Postmaster-General in Melbourne. The
conference unanimously agreed on a scheme known as ‘the sealed set scheme’ . The
regulations were issued on 1/8/23 and amongst other things it contained the provisions
that the company could make their own charge for subscription by listeners who had sets
sealed and tuned to that station only, in addition the Postmaster-General required a
license fee to be collected from each licensee.
The sealed set scheme was not a great success during the period 1/8/23 to 30/6/24 only 1,400 listeners were licensed compared with over 5,000 application for experimenters licenses from people wanting to choose which station they listen to.
2SB in Sydney was the first station to broadcast from 13/11/23 (later changing it’s call sign to 2BL)
New regulations were issued on 17/7/24 they provided for two classes of license ‘A’ and
‘B’ class. Two ‘A’ licenses were issued in N.S.W. and VIC, other capital cities were
issued only one. Regulations stipulated that ‘A’ class stations should establish relaying
stations to serve distant country listeners if required. These radio stations were to be
maintained by revenue from licenses issued to broadcast listeners, radio dealers and
experimenters. The Postmasters-General department was responsible for collecting the
license fee. Licenses being available from the post office
‘B’ class licenses were issued to radio stations which were maintained by revenue received through advertising and other sources.
The license period for both ‘A’ and ‘B’ licenses was 5 years from the date of issue, the first licenses issued were:-