96fm (Perth radio station)
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|Slogan||Perths Real Gold|
|Frequency||96.1 MHz FM|
|First air date||8 August 1980|
|Owner||Australian Radio Network|
96FM (call-sign: 6NOW) is a commercial FM radio station broadcasting in Perth, Western Australia owned by the Australian Radio Network since January 2015. It was formerly part of the Fairfax Media and Village Roadshow networks.
96FM began broadcasting on 96.1 MHz on 8 August 1980 as Perth's first commercial FM radio station. The first record played at the 4pm launch was FM (No Static at All) by Steely Dan, with Gordon O'Byrne the first live disc jockey to air. Gary Roberts was its first Programme Director.
Throughout the 1980s, 96FM provided groundbreaking innovation for Perth radio listeners. In 1981, the highly successful Gold Pass was launched. This provided holders access to obtain discounts at retailers for goods such as CDs, clothing, concert tickets, car audio and security to name but a few. The rationale for launching the Gold Pass was so the station could raise extra revenue (minimum was a $5,000 spend) without doing outside broadcasts.
Amongst some of the most successful radio promotions in the stations history include 'Rockwords' where listeners could win $10,000 cash for correctly completing a cross-word in The West Australian newspaper. The station broadcast the clues on an hourly basis. Another hallmark promotion was the 'Top 96 Albums of alltime' and what was then the annual Skyshow.
By 1985, 96FM had reached number one in the Perth radio ratings for the first time although 6PM on the AM band continued to be a strong number two for the remainder of the decade until 6PM converted to FM in 1991 as 92.9 6PMFM, then PMFM and now 92.9.
96FM was the sole commercial FM station in Perth until 1991. 6PM and 6KY successfully bid for the right to convert from the AM band to FM in the early 1990s.
In 1993, Village Roadshow, owners of the Triple M network in the eastern states, took over the financially stricken FM Australia (formerly Hoyts Media). No more than six months later 96FM was relaunched as a Triple M, albeit with the Today Network Top 40 (CHR) music format, as opposed to the harder rock format of its eastern Triple M counterparts. The revamped station failed to make a major impact up against its FM rivals. In 1996 as Triple M, with flagging ratings and finances the station dropped organising the annual Skyshow. The event was subsequently handed over to both the State Government and the City of Perth. Due to copyright ownership restrictions associated with the name the event has been rebranded 'Skyworks'. The format of the event was not significantly changed.
In 1997, Village Roadshow subsidiary Austereo purchased PMFM and KYFM from local entrepreneur Jack Bendat. Australian media ownership laws required the divestiture of the station, and Village Roadshow subsequently sold it to Southern Cross Broadcasting which also owned AM radio station 6PR. Southern Cross returned the station back to its original 96FM branding, with a new logo.
In 2007 96FM was part of the acquisition of Southern Cross Broadcasting by Fairfax Media. In 2012 a new logo was sighted on the websites with new positioner "Keep Real Music Alive". In June 2012, 96FM went #1 All People for the first time since 1992.
In December 2014, it was announced that Fairfax Media would merge with the Macquarie Radio Network, and sell 96FM to the Australian Radio Network. The sale was completed on 30 January 2015 with the station becoming part of the KIIS Network .
In September 2015, 96FM rebranded with a new logo aligning it with the rest of the KIIS Network.
96FM transmits on 96.1 MHz across Perth and surrounding areas. It currently transmits on the Perth Radio Services tower adjacent to the Channel 7 tower in Television Road, Bickley. Its ERP is 40KW omnidirectional, which is the standard of the commercial FM stations in Perth. As well as covering Perth, 96FM can be heard as far north as New Norcia, south to Waroona and east to Northam. The studio is located at 169 Hay Street, Perth.
Originally when the station first went to air in 1980 the transmitter facilities were shared with the STW9 tower. However the advent of mobile phone networks, problems associated with site crowding plus the impending launch of 6PM and 6KY onto FM led to the establishment of the Perth FM radio group site.
The programme is fed over a microwave link from East Perth to Bickley. Each of the FM stations on the site has an STL collection dish. The feed is picked up, decoded, and then fed into an exciter. At this point the 19 kHz sub audio pilot tone is injected. This enables FM receivers to show the 'FM Stereo' light as 'on'. Then after leaving the rack in the hut, the signal is fed into a combiner. In this way the transmission facilities are shared at the tower and the antenna array.
As a standby measure the stations can feed programme over a 128k/bit ISDN link using a broadcast codec. However data charges on ISDN make this uneconomic to do full-time.
- Southern Cross Broadcasting Announcement of takeover by Macquarie Media
- "Kiis acquires Perth's 96FM to complete national network". AdNews. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
- "96FM Perth sold to ARN for $78m". Radio Today. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
- "96FM rebrands, but still Keeping It Real". Retrieved 2015-09-27.