Back to the day when 3NE made waves

THE same year Footscray won its only football flag and Queen Elizabeth took a 58-day tour around Australia, local radio came to Wangaratta.

It was on this date in 1954 that listeners across the North East were able to hear their own station for the first time.

Acting postmaster- general John Spicer officially opened 3NE on March 27, 1954, after Prime Minister Robert Menzies was a late withdrawal to conduct the honour.

A teenager at the time, Ian Crockett recalled the excitement of the commercial station going live.

“They thought it was wonderful in Wangaratta because it was the first radio station to go on after the war,” Mr Crockett said.

“There hadn’t been a new radio station for a long time; the only stations people could access were 2AY from Albury and 3SR from Shepparton.”

Mr Crockett, 75, started working at 3NE in January 1955 as a 17-year-old, with much of his day spent retrieving recordings from the station library.

Today he continues to be the station’s technical manager after having been general manager.

“In those early days you were playing records and there were turntables and valve equipment — now it’s all computers and tape recordings are a thing of the past,” Mr Crockett said.

Mr Crockett will have the opportunity to mark the anniversary on-air on Monday when veteran breakfast announcer Paul Konik returns from holidays for a 60th celebratory session.

Audio of the first on-air words and reflections of former staff such as the late Kevin Gleeson, who was also a Wangartta mayor, will be heard.

Listeners are invited to phone 3NE with their recollections from 5.30am on Monday on (03) 5722 2999.

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