The voice of Newcastle

Sometimes you’re just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time – I wonder if that’s what Adrian Jose was thinking? Twenty-two year old Adrian joined the ABC in Sydney in September, 1930 taking up the fairly inauspicious position of record library assistant and announcer-in-trainer. Two months later he was given the job of setting up Australia’s first regional radio station and he headed north to establish Newcastle’s 2NC. He didn’t lose any time; the station went live to air soon after on 19 December.

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As Novocastrians turned on their wireless sets to hear local radio for the first time the station heralded its arrival with the Newcastle Symphony Orchestra playing the William Tell Overture, followed by an address from the Acting Prime Minister James Fenton, who was broadcasting from the ABC’s Melbourne studio

It wasn’t the start of a full-time regional service though, for the first few years 2NC would broadcast intermittently in the morning and then often shut down for intervals during the day, with the concept of continuous radio broadcasting unknown outside the capital cities. The ABC’s studio wasn’t pretentious, it was a couple of rooms above a billiard room behind the Old Strand Theatre in Market Square off the Hunter Street Mall.

While its call sign is still technically 2NC today the station is now known by its frequency, ABC 1233, in line with the ABC’s new naming practice for its radio stations. The station is located in the West End and its squat studio building, with a corrugated roof and bull nose verandah, give it the look of classic Australian outback home.

1233’s programming is rich and varied with a strong local focus. If you are up before dawn there is no better way to greet the day than Breakfast with Aaron Kearney. Aaron recently achieved the rare feat of four national media award nominations in one year, more amazingly he went on to win three of them.

If you are making a ‘not to be missed’ radio list put Carol Duncan’s program ‘Local Treasures’ on it. This radio segment features stories of Newcastle’s people, places and historical sites mixed in with contemporary news. Even better it’s a two-way conversation; Carol asks listeners not to just enjoy the broadcast, but feedback stories of lost, or undiscovered, Newcastle. ‘Local Treasures’ asks ‘What are the elusive elements that make a place home?’ It’s something that might well have occupied the mind of young Adrian Jose as he prepared to give Newcastle its first radio voice over 80 years ago.

ABC local radio, 1233 AM, 24 Wood Street Newcastle West. Phone: 4922 1200. Talkback: 1300 331 233.


Kimberly O’Sullivan

Have you chosen the West End as your home or as the perfect place to run your business? Do you have a West End tale which deserves a wider audience? What inspires and infuriates you about the West End? If you have a story to tell I would love to talk to you! Here’s how to find me:; 0413 250 155.


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