Radio 2DU began broadcasting on Friday 3rd July 1936, from a building in Tamworth Street Dubbo (on the current site of the Tamworth Street Shopping Centre at the corner of Sterling Street). Mr Douglas Edward Holmes and his brother-in-law Andrew Allan formed a company known as Central Western Radio Services. The station transmitted on a frequency of 1060 kilocycles with a wavelength of 283 metres at a power of 100 watts. (Doug Holmes had operated an amateur local station, VK2MX, in Tamworth Street since 1934). Read a newspaper report of 2DU’s opening night.
The original company was forced to take in more capital. Prominent graziers Messers Edmund Irving Body of ‘Bundemar’, and Andrew Kelburn Scott of ‘Burroway’ acquired substantial interests in 2DU and formed Western Broadcasters Pty Ltd on 30th August, 1937. Stock and station agent Mr Frederick (Paddy) Fitzhardinge and solicitor Robert Dugald Booth became minor shareholders and the company was incorporated on October 8th, 1937. Frank Walpole (who was guest announcer on opening night in 1936) was appointed Manager. and while the studio and transmitter remained in Tamworth Street, the new company operated from registered offices at 129 Macquarie Street. Download the company registration memorandum below.
In July, the 2DU studios moved to Macquarie Street Dubbo above the Union Bank, with a main studio capable of seating 60-80 people and a library of 4,000 records. The transmitter remained in Tamworth Street until 1952.
Between 1941-43, 2DU experienced difficulties due to censorship, lack of trained staff and war-rationing. Mr E.I. Body disposed of most of his shares to Mr Walter Tasker Grant (right), who was an electrician by trade, with radio experience from 2KY, 2KA, 2BS and 2LT. With Walter T Grant’s capital and expertise, the station began a very progressive era in it’s history. As Manager, Mr Grant worked toward his goal of increasing 2DU’s transmission power.
The station’s frequency was changed to 1250khz by the Broadcast Control Board, now the Australian Broadcasting Authority, to make way for the National Broadcaster, the ABC, on the lower end of the AM band.
At a cost of 20,000 pounds, a new 106 metre-high mast was erected at Eulomogo and transmitter power increased to 2000 watts after a long struggle with the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. (Management had unsuccessfully requested a power increase to 10,000 watts in the 1950 Statement of Claim to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board).
2DU moved to an historic building further down Macquarie Street, into a building where the Midcity Centre now stands. The premises had previously been a guest house, hospital and doctor’s residence, and was renovated to provide studios and offices. The premises were officially opened on July 24, 1954 by the Postmaster-General Mr H.L. Anthony MP, with Dubbo Mayor L.H. Ford opening Studio ‘B’.
2DU’s frequency was changed again, to the present 1251 kilohertz.
Walter T Grant died on 27th November 1961, and his widow Mrs Christina Grant was appointed Managing Director. Their daughter, Mrs Janet Cameron, would become Managing Director in October 1972.
In April, 2DU moved to the present building in Carrington Avenue. The complex cost $300,000 and was built by Triden Contractors in association with Harbon Constructions. The Official opening was held on 15th May, 1979. 2DU also purchased Radio 2PK in Parkes. Click here to see the opening celebration invitation.
2DU’s translator was installed at Cobar on a frequency of 972 kilohertz with a power of 300 Watts, and began transmission at 5.30am on November 1st. The 45 metre-high mast and associated equipment was constructed 1.6 kilometres south of Cobar on the Hilston Road at a cost of $60,000. Program from Dubbo was relayed to the translator on a 10kHz line via Cobar telephone exchange. Radio 2MG Mudgee was purchased shortly afterwards.
Western Broadcasters Pty Ltd (with 2DU, 2MG, 2PK and associated properties) was purchased by Broadcast Operations Ltd (Griffith), a division of the Linter Group. Mrs Janet Cameron thus ended her long association with 2DU.
In November, the Linter Group sold Broadcast Operations’ media interests to Tweed Heads-based B.G. & P.A. Caralis.
On the 22nd of May 1990, 2DU began continuous 24-hour transmission. The station had been on air Monday to Friday between 5.30am and midnight, 6am Saturday to 1am Sunday and on Sunday 6am to midnight. 24-hour operation had previously only occurred on special occasions (new years, etc) and on long weekends. Instrumental test music was played usually for half-an-hour prior to commencement of each transmission period.
New transmitters were installed in both Dubbo and Cobar.
On Friday 7th February, 2DU established it’s FM-supplementary station, ZOO FM, and both broadcast from the studio complex in Carrington Avenue Dubbo, refurbished at a cost of more than $3million.