Michelle Rowland celebrates 100 years of Australian radio 

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland recently acknowledged the commercial radio industry’s upcoming 100th birthday with a speech at Parliament House. 

The speech detailed the growth and importance of Australian radio since 1923 and its development into a billion-dollar industry.

“For over a century, radio has played an integral role in all of our lives,” Rowland said.

“Back in 1923, there were only four radio stations and a mere 1,400 listeners tuning in to the wireless on AM.”

“Fast forward to today.”

“We boast an impressive 260 commercial radio stations, captivating 95% of all Australians every week.” 

Growing up in Western Sydney, she recalled the launch of 2WS in Seven Hills and the support it provided to the community.

“I’ll never forget the day that 2WS officially launched in Leabons Lane in Seven Hills,” Rowland said.

“It was the first time that we felt recognised as a community by the media. Here were local voices telling the stories that mattered to us. We were being given at a platform at a time when Western Sydney stories weren’t always reflected in the news of the day coming from the CBD.”

“And now look how far our humble 2WS has come!”

Rowland also acknowledged the dedication to the community she has seen from the industry, touching on a recent visit to Darwin’s MIX 104.9, where she caught up with morning presenter Katie Woolf.

“Katie pointed out issues with communications outage issues in Dundee, and the serious safety concerns this was causing locals, business owners and tourists visiting the area,” she said. 

“Katie had her finger on the pulse, pushing an issue that matters – directly with me as the responsible Minister, in order to get the best outcomes for that community.” 

“This kind of advocacy is something I’m seeing and hearing as I visit commercial radio stations right across the country – and it’s a great credit to your industry.”

Rowland also spoke of how the industry has diversified. 

“Radio is the great adapter – in large part because of its two-way nature and its ability to form personal connections with listeners in a way other forms of communications simply can’t.”

“Today, we have myriad listening options thanks to the modernisation and innovation of the commercial radio industry.”

“Tech advancements such as Smart speakers and global radio apps have helped create the evolution of radio here in Australia. And I am sure that no matter the next development, commercial radio will be at the cutting edge of innovation.”

Rowland concluded her speech by rehashing her commitment to the industry with a positive outlook for the future of radio.

“At the heart of our media reform agenda is the need to level the playing field for industry, and support the interests of citizens and consumers,” she said.

“To that end, I remain committed to considering the prominence of Australian radio services – similar to our work we are progressing to legislate a prominence framework for connected televisions in Australia.”

“I look forward you uniting, informing and entertaining us all for another 100 years.”

Read the full speech transcript here.

Images: supplied/CRA

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