Australian Radio History index

THE RISE OF B CLASS STATIONS

Radio Monthly September 1932

The significant events in the affairs of B Class Stations occurred during September, the removal to new quarters of 2UE and 2KY. These things, of course, are merely signs of the times, the upward trend in the direction of popular broadcasting.

Just as no trader could hope to sell a receiver unless it was capable of tuning in the B Stations, no one doubts that broadcasting would merely stagnate were it not for the excellent fare provided by these stations. The marvel is that with all the circumstances arrayed against them despite the disapproving frowns of officialdom, these B Class people persist in shoving their stations down the necks of the listeners; so much so that, according to a census taken recently, somewhere about eighty per cent. Of people who pay for the expensive upkeep of A stations - and last year quite cheerfully witnessed their money transferring itself agilely into Consolidated Revenue-actually prefer the programmes of those stations for which, drolly enough, they do not pay. Gilbertian, isn't it? Yet it Is so.

Asked independently why it is that they are able to maintain a standard of popular entertainment so high that the bulk of people listen to it, B station managements shrug their shoulders and say, "Oh well, we've been forced to understand and meet the needs of the public-that's why we are supported so well with advertising. This support, in turn, provides the revenue necessary to enable us to provide the programmes that bring us our listeners.They bring out for our inspection thousands of letters from every part of Australia and New Zealand, each bearing its little tribute of appreciation. That is not the only reason. Anyone who keeps, as we do, in close touch with broadcasting affairs, will have noticed the persistent search by B class stations for the best possible material in the way of announcers. Compare the staff of 2GB, for instance, to-day compared with a few years ago, and we cease to wonder why that station at any hour of the day presents the appearance of a big, smooth-running commercial organisation. In the continual shuffling of portfolios, almost every week one station or another secures some outstanding personality. In short, it is the ancient and healthy spirit of competition that keeps these stations always on their toes, each striving to keep a jump ahead of its fellows. we reap the benefit.

Unfortunately, the A.B.C. is not compelled to study this question of competition. Reflect for a moment. Try to think of any outstanding advance in "A" station fare since the earth shaking appointment of the much-heralded Commission some months ago. Results are just the same as those following the wafting in of the previous administration two or three years before, the "dawn of the new era in broadcasting." The same old gang carries on in the same old way.

Meantime, 'B" class stations give us nation-wide Broadcasts, grand opera feasts, oversea relays-and in the very near future the outstanding feature for which both trade and public are waiting-the big Cricket. They continue to enlarge and improve their programmes, bringing showers of coin of the realm into the ever-waiting coffers of the A.B.C. as represented by the thousands of new licenses over the last twelve months.

At the least, both 2UE and 2KY may well reflect that their new move to new quarters and higher power splendidly epitomises that spirit of which we as a young nation are so proud-Progress.

Listeners generally, and Radio Monthly in particular, welcome these stations to their new position of popularity.

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