NBN Television is a Newcastle Australia based Television Broadcaster...
NBN-TV began in 1962. NBN stayed local and number 1 while surviving everything from earthquakes to aggregation.
The "Newcastle Broadcasting and Television Corporation Limited" was set up in May 1958 to apply for the upcoming commercial television licence to serve the greater Newcastle area, from Bungwahl in the North, Aberdeen in the West, and Broken Bay in the South. They were awarded VHF channel 3 by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, to transmit from Mount Sugarloaf with a footprint over the city.
The construction project began in November 1961, supervised by engineers from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). For them it was a step backwards, working with a black and white broadcast just as colour was becoming the norm in the United States.
At 6pm on March 4 1962 the station began broadcasting under the call signed NBN (for Newcastle Broadcasting Network) but promoted as Channel 3.
The first programme was a taped welcome by the then-Postmaster General Charles Davidson, followed by a guided tour around the NBN studios by the original production manager, Matthew Tapp. During the official opening, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Alderman Purdue declared on-air, "The Newcastle region has character and individuality of its own and by the establishment of a local television station, greater opportunity will be given for expression of this individuality."
At 6.30, Murray Finlay began his lengthy news reading career presenting NBN's first news bulletin, which he read entirely standing up. That was followed by The Phil Silvers Show (Sergeant Bilko) at 7pm, and NBN's first movie, Green Light (1937), starring Errol Flynn. Three of The George Sanders Theatre episodes followed at 9pm, including the opening episode, "The Man in the Elevator", then the first episode from the Halls of Ivy, followed by the first Mystery Theatre program, "The Missing Head" at 10pm.
Anglican Bishop of Newcastle James Housden gave the first "Evening Meditation" at 10.30pm, which went to air at the end of each day’s transmissions and were always live.
Commercials on that first night included ads for Rothmans Cigarettes, Streets Ice Cream, Ampol, Commonwealth Savings Bank, Shell, and W.D. and H.O. Wills, amongst others.
In 1967 NBN purchased the format rights to the American children's show Romper Room from Fremantle International, and began producing a local version of the show at NBN's Newcastle studios. Over the next 3 decades thousands of Newcastle 4-year-olds would visit either Miss Anne, the original host, or Miss Kim, who hosted the show into the new millennium until its revamp into Big Dog and Friends and eventual cancellation.
NBN began expanding its broadcast area during the 70s, opening a translator in the Upper Hunter from Rossgole Lookout near Aberdeen on channel 10 in 1972. Further transmitters were installed at Banderra Downs, Merriwa (also on channel 10) and at Mount Helen, Murrurundi (on channel 1). By the early 90s NBN had expanded as far North as Forster/Tuncurry, as far West as Muswellbrook and as far South as the Hawksberry River.
The first hour-long news bulletin in Australia began on NBN in March 1974, and is still in production today. It is the only 1 hour news bulletin on regional television, combining local stories with national and international pieces sourced from Channel Nine. In 1975 NBN began broadcasting in colour.
The station's name was formally changed to NBN Television on 1 October 1979, having previously been known as Channel 3 (or sometimes NBN Channel 3), along with the introduction of a new logo. The company's name was also changed to NBN Limited.
NBN's news coverage received a huge workout on 28 December 1989, after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck Newcastle. Footage from NBN's cameras was sent across the globe.
The Federal Government's regional television equalisation scheme, also known as aggregation, came into effect in Northern NSW on 31 December 1991. The 3 television broadcasters in Northern NSW (NBN, Prime and NRTV) each expanded into the others territory, meaning NBN now covered the northern area of the state, but would also have to compete in Newcastle with 2 other commercial broadcasters. NBN began test transmissions during December, and opened new UHF frequencies North West 31, Coffs Harbour 34/66, Armidale 39, Glen Innes 41, Inverell 44, Lismore 47, Tamworth 61, Taree 26/50 and Tweed 69 on New Year’s Eve. The area was divided into 3 smaller broadcasting hubs, being North Coast, North West and Newcastle/Hunter/Central Coast. From aggregation NBN broadcast 24 hours a day and in Stereo.
Aggregation also saw each regional station align itself to a metropolitan broadcaster, and NBN was lucky enough to pick up the high rating Channel Nine. NBN maintained their local logo for a few years after aggregation, despite pressure from Nine to adopt the '9 dots' logo. The local idents and promos used in Newcastle were seen by the whole of Northern NSW for a number of months, before the networked Nine-style theme was implemented.
NBN celebrated 30 years of broadcasting in 1992, and also became a member of NAS (Nine Affiliate Sales), set up by WIN Television to help bring more national advertisers to regional stations.
Even with the increased competition from aggregation, and the fact NBN's news was running against bulletins which had been produced for over 30 years on other local stations, NBN News became the highest rating news service in Northern NSW. It leads the other 2 commercial stations to such a degree that most local bulletins competing against NBN News were eventually axed.
Nationally successful personalities who have passed through as presenters on NBN News include Chris Bath, Anna Coren, Matthew White, Antonia Kidman, Vanessa Trezise and Darrell Eastlake.
NBN began to turn on their digital transmitters in 2002, and adopted a new coloured days format along with Channel Nine on 1 September 2002. A week later, on 9th September 2002, NBN News was also relaunched into widescreen with a new set and graphics.
NBN Television's owner, Washington H. Soul Pattinson began moves in 2004 to transfer control of the station to its publicly-listed subsidiary, Soul Pattinson Telecommunications, which became SP Telemedia as a result.
A new version of the coloured days ident was shown from 26 August 2004, again placing focus on the 'Still The One' slogan.
As the Nine Network dropped the dots from their logo in 2006 and took on the blue square, NBN had little choice but to also ditch their dotty logo and take on a simple 'NBN' in a blue rectangle. The new look was launched at 6.00am on Monday 30 January, but was quite inconsistent across the station as NBN had still not updated their high-rating news graphics with the new logo.
Get more information about NBN Television at the NBN website: nbntv.com.au