Into the future with 3GG
 Radio Ga Ga  

By // 14:55, Tuesday 17 March 2015

3UL-vern-haycroft-max-taylor web

RADIO station 3GG will build on its strength as a local broadcaster following its change of ownership at the start of February.

Above: Vern Haycroft and Max Taylor host "Morning Tea with Max and Vern" in 1963. Photo: contributed.

First published in the 27 February edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.

Kevin Blyton acquired the Warragul-based AM station to add to his Capital Radio Network, which also owns 2XL and Snow FM Cooma. Capital also part-owns stations in Canberra, Goulburn and Perth.


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While it is too early for 3GG manager Greg Spencer to be specific about any changes to come with the new owner, he acknowledged the role the station has played in the life of West Gippslanders since 1937.

“Our new owners are in a position to enhance 3GG’s ability to entertain and inform our audience into the future,” he said.

Greg joined the station in 1989 as a technician, just in time for the station’s move from Warragul to Traralgon and the coinciding name change from 3UL to 3GG. The station was back in Warragul less than 10 years later.

3UL’s original licence holder was Melbourne’s Argus newspaper, which was already operating radio stations in Shepparton and Warrnambool. A new company called Associated Broadcasting Services was formed to operate the stations when the Argus folded in 1957.

Before moving to studios on Warragul-Korumburra Road in 1980, 3UL spent much of its life on Victoria Street. From there, the voices of people like Vern Haycroft, Max Taylor, Madeleine Burke, Ron Bond and John Vertigan entertained West and South Gippslanders.

Sports were covered by the likes of Alf Walton, Bill Doherty and Clem Pitt.

It was true local radio with a mix of programs only heard these days on community radio. And it wasn’t always as smooth as it is now.

In modern radio, computers play the songs and ads. However back then, records and tapes were all played manually by announcers.

This proved a trap for the likes of mid-70s breakfast announcer Glenn Knight who one day snuck out the back door for a cigarette while a record played. With the song coming to an end, Glenn headed for the door, only to find he was locked out.


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This was long before mobile phones existed.

Glenn belted up Victoria Street to the nearest staff member’s home while the listeners heard a repetitive ‘click click,’ with the stylus stuck in the end groove of the record in peak listening time!

Listeners of the late 70s will remember 3UL’s ill-fated flirtation with broadcast automation. Everything, including the announcers’ voices, was played by a system of cartridge and reel-to-reel tapes.

Songs were often incorrectly announced and, on one occasion, the 11pm closing down presentation and national anthem played at 11 AM. The system was scaled back by the end of the decade and eventually abandoned.

More fondly remembered are the long-running Saturday morning ‘Radio Market’ programs, presented at different times by Vern Harcroft and Tony Osler, and Sunday morning request show ‘Popular Choice.’

While those days are long gone, a properly resourced country radio station can still be integral to a local community. That’s what 3GG aims to be under Blyton’s ownership.

Greg Allen-Pretty has worked in the radio industry for 38 years and is presently employed by the ACE network. You can find more of his work at greatergippsland.com.

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