FM Broadcasting in Australia
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FM Broadcasting in Australia

FM broadcasting started in Australian capital cities in 1947 on an "experimental" basis, using a (monaural) ABC national network feed, consisting largely of classical music and Parliament, as a programme source.[1] FM receivers were expensive and the audience consisted largely of hi-fi enthusiasts. The transmitters (operated by the PMG's Dept) were shut down in 1961, as much of the standard FM band (98-108 MHz) was reserved for TV channel 5 (102.250 video carrier). It had been envisaged that FM broadcasting would take place on UHF[2] but this idea was abandoned as impractical and uneconomic, and following a decision by the reformist Whitlam government,[3] in 1975 Australia's FM band was opened, aligned with most of the rest of the world.

During the 1980s, much of the band was still occupied by a few television transmitters,[3] but by the 1990s these had been reallocated to other bands, and are now closed, along with all other analog broadcast TV services, following the advent of digital television. As AM/FM portable and car radios displaced AM-only receivers, conversion to FM-stereo became progressively more attractive to broadcasters, and the swing to FM with its superior sound quality and immunity from interference, was under way. Many AM stations transferred to FM, with its lower costs, and many new services were opened. Today, as elsewhere in the developed world, most Australian broadcasting is on FM - although AM talk stations are still very popular and high-power AM transmitters, both national and commercial, are valued by travellers and country listeners, and in emergency situations.

Australian analog TV allocations

The FM band was potentially susceptible to interference from these TV stations (obsolete; of historic interest only).

Carrier MHz
FM Mono Audio
Sub-Carrier MHz
VHF Band II 3 86.25 91.75
4 95.25 100.75
5 102.25 107.75
5A 140.5 138.25 143.75

Significant FM networks


  1. ^ "A.B.C. to get F.M. monopoly". The Courier-mail (3684). Queensland, Australia. 15 September 1948. p. 1. Retrieved 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "F.M. Radio". Tharunka. 19, (25/26). New South Wales, Australia. 8 November 1973. p. 26. Retrieved 2017 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. ^ a b "FM in 2½ years". The Canberra Times. 48, (13, 694). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 14 March 1974. p. 1. Retrieved 2017 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)

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