By Greg Allen-Pretty
Warragul-based commercial radio station 3GG is celebrating 80 years of broadcasting to west and south Gippsland.
For its first 52 years the station was known as 3UL, ‘UL’ being the last two letters of Warragul. Then 28 years ago it was renamed 3GG, when the station temporarily left Warragul.
3UL went to air in 1937, filling a radio void left when 3TR moved from Trafalgar to Sale five years earlier.
The station has a rich history, cherished by many long-time residents. Before television, radio was the dominant entertainment medium, as families gathered to listen in the evening. This was certainly the case for 3UL in its first 20 years. Daytime sessions were often directed at “housewives” and at night, 3UL sometimes broadcast from what used to be a town’s social high point, its annual gala ball.
3UL also initiated an annual Christmas Morning Hospital Broadcast.
Through the years 3UL/3GG has operated from studios at Brooks Hill just south of Warragul, Victoria Street and Korumburra-Warragul Road. There was also a brief relocation to Grey Street Traralgon at the time of the name change in 1989.
In the late 60s and early 70s 3UL also broadcast for five hours a day from a shop-front studio in the now defunct Railway Arcade in Morwell. The arcade ran under the rail lines, connecting Commercial Road and Princes Drive. Dubbed “Radio Arcade” at the time, it attracted high levels of foot traffic between Morwell’s two main shopping areas, giving 3UL good exposure.
Technical advancements include 3UL’s frequency change from 880 kHz to the further-reaching 530 kHz (now on 531 kHz) in the early 60s, a transmitter power increase from 2000 to 5000 watts, and the installation of a second mast on Buln Buln Road with the adoption of a directional aerial system.
Not so successful was 3UL’s error-filled flirtation with broadcast automation in the late 70s and early 80s. Nevertheless, the station has much to celebrate, including the longevity of well-loved programs like Radio Market and Popular Choice.