|ATV10 is the analogue callsign of
Melbourne-based television station. ATV officially launched on the 1st of August,
1964.The article is divided into the following sections:|
HistoryOn April 4th 1963, Austarama Television was granted a television licence, thus becoming
Melbourne's third commercial station. Austarama was a subsidiary of Ansett Transport
Industries, with Reg Ansett (knighted Sir Reginald Ansett in 1969) as
its chairman. The allocation of the licence was believed to be politically motivated -
fearing that the Labor Party would obtain licences to broadcast propaganda detrimental
to the Liberal Party's cause, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board - at the
urging of Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies - recommended to the Postmaster-General's
Department that the third licences be allocated to friends of Menzies (of which Ansett was one).Construction of the studio complex began on 8th October 1963. It was situated on 10 acres of land on what
were apple orchards in East Burwood. Later the area was renamed Nunawading.
The main transmitter was constructed at Mount Dandenong, sitting along side the towers of GTV,
HSV and ABV.
ATV bought the most up to date broadcast equipment from RCA to outfit the most modern television
station in Australia.
The first ATV test card showed a picture of the new studio complex at East Burwood. RCA camera
type TK 60s were used.ATV-0 began test transmission at 8.00am on Monday 4 May 1964, broadcasting special interest films and documentaries in between sessions of test pattern and music for twelve hours a day. The station came under fire from the Australian Broadcasting Control Board after details of its test transmission schedule, containing specific programming details, were leaked to the press. Broadcasting rules prohibited the broadcast of general-interest programming during test periods, or even the advertising or promotion of specific program details. As all horses celebrate their birthday on August 1st, for record keeping purposes, so Ansett
who loved horses, decided to open the station on Saturday, August 1st 1964.ATV-0's first night started with a preview hosted by Barry McQueen and Nancy Cato, with the
opening spectacular called This Is It, hosted by Ray Taylor who later went on to host a
weekly Saturday night talk show on ATV.Between August and November of that year, ATV broadcast secret colour transmissions,
but only to six seperate parts of Melbourne.ATV was the first station in Australia to broadcast in colour (although only close circuit to
station execs) in 1967. It was from a race meeting in Pakenham.ATV used its trial color broadcast in 1967 to use the slogan FIRST IN COLOUR.Colour was introduced full-time on 1 March 1975.In October 1978, the Minister for Post and Telecommunications received a request from ATV-0 for permission to change its broadcast signal to Channel 10. The change in frequency would eliminate the numerous pockets around Melbourne where the Channel 0 signal was poorly received. The change would also see the channel match the frequency of its Sydney network partner TEN-10.Rupert Murdoch gained control of 0-10 Network stations TEN-10 Sydney and ATV-0 during 1979. By this stage the station, which had dominated ratings only a few years earlier, was suffering ratings decline - rivals nicknamed the station "Channel Zero" reflecting its ratings status. In July 1979 the station started planning to change its frequency from Channel 0 to 10. A massive advertising campaign, including a booklet distributed to every household in Melbourne, promoted the channel's pending transition to Channel 10 and "how-to" guides gave advice on re-tuning TV sets to the new frequency.ATV had negotiated with Gippsland station GLV-10 to have GLV move to an alternative frequency so that ATV could move to channel 10. On 17 January 1980, GLV-10 switched to GLV-8, thus enabling ATV to migrate to Channel 10.At 2.00pm on Sunday 20 January 1980, Graham Kennedy launched ATV-10 and a new station identification "You're On Top With 10" was launched. ATV simulcast on both channels 0 and 10 for the first few weeks after the launch.Twenty-four hour transmission began in 1987 - the last of the commercial stations in Melbourne to do so.In 1992, ATV-10 moved out of the Nunawading studio complex and took up residence at modern
facilities installed at the Como Centre in the inner suburb of South Yarra. The Nunawading
complex was sold to Global Television in 1995, continuing to provide production facilities back to Network Ten
for programmes such as Neighbours and (up until 2006) Rove Live.In August 2004, ATV-10 celebrated 40 Years in Melbourne with special news reports.ProgrammingRoy Hampson, formerly from ATN-7 Sydney, joined ATV-0 shortly after its inception to appear on The Ray Taylor Show and later to host the
channel's first morning talk show Chit Chat. Chit Chat subsequently changed
its name numerous times over the next 20 years but was essentially the same morning talk show
format with Hampson as host. Later titles included In Melbourne Today, The Roy
Hampson Show, Roundabout, Everyday and finally from 1979, Good Morning Melbourne.
Former Brisbane personality Annette Allison joined Hampson on Good Morning Melbourne in 1979
and the pair continued the format until 1988 when the program was cancelled and replaced by a
national Sydney-based program Til Ten which in turn was replaced in 1992 by Bert Newton's
return to television on The Morning Show, produced at ATV. In 1993, the program
inherited the title Good Morning Australia. The show ran for 14 years - the final episode going to air Friday 16 December, 2005. The replacement program 9AM With David And Kim, also from the ATV-10 studios, ran from 30 January 2006 to 11 December 2009 with hosts David Reyne and Kim Watkins (both presenters formerly of Channel Nine).Being the new station in town, and being on a low frequency that had never been used before in Australia, ATV struggled to gain a major hold on the Melbourne audience - despite having over 50% of its lineup made up of Australian content and promising an alternative to its older rivals. By 1965, the station launched a new programming initiative by scheduling a feature film every night of the week at 8.30pm to try and capture the growing enthusiasm for movies on television. (The same network would employ a similar strategy around 25 years later)Also, on 15 September 1965 at 7.30pm, ATV-0 aired the first episode of Showcase, a weekly talent quest from Crawford Productions, hosted by Gordon Boyd and screened nationally. Showcase, produced at the Nunawading studios, was a success and ran into the early seventies.On March 8 1969, in an attempt to get viewers to convert their TV sets and antennas to receive the
channel 0 signal, Ansett executives organised a championship boxing match between Lionel Rose
and Alan Rudkin to be held at Kooyong Stadium in Melbourne and televised on ATV-0 and relayed to
stations across Australia. The program achieved a massive rating of 72 in Melbourne and set a
ratings record not broken until the 2000 Olympic Games.While ABV-2, HSV-7 and GTV-9 provided various coverage of VFL football - ATV-0 began televising the alternative Victorian Football Association (VFA) games in 1967. ATV-0 also devoted many hours of airtime to midweek and weekend race meetings from around Victoria, such was Reg Ansett's love of horses. This coverage was the predecessor to the network's long tradition of Melbourne Cup Carnival telecasts, of which ATV-0 (later ATV-10) was host broadcaster until 2001.The longest-running program on ATV-0 has been Mass For You at Home which began in 1971 and continues to this day.The channel enjoyed success during the 1970s in the area of drama. Despite a sluggish response to an in-house production The Long Arm in 1970, ATV-0 had better success the following year with a cop drama Matlock Police from Crawford Productions. The series continued for five years.On Tuesday 14 March 1972, ATV-0 debuted the controversial adults-only soap Number 96, initially screening as two one-hour episodes per week it was later stripped to five nights a week in half-episodes - adopting the same schedule as TEN-10 Sydney, where the series was made.The adults-only theme continued in 1974, when on Monday 11 February, ATV-0 debuted The Box - a weeknightly serial based on the activities in a fictional TV station UCV-12. The series initially screened back-to-back with Number 96.Both Number 96 and The Box wound up production in 1977. A replacement drama Hotel Story was axed before it went to air, though a handful of episodes were shown. The channel had more success with a new series set in a fictional women's prison - Prisoner - which made its on-air debut on Tuesday 27 February 1979 in a two-hour episode. The series continued for eight years.In 1974, ATV began its long association with the Nerve Deafness Foundation of Victoria with the annual Deafness Appeal telethon which would continue until the late 1980s.In late-1985, the Ten Network acquired the rights to the Grundy production Neighbours after it had been cancelled by the Seven Network. The series was re-launched on the Ten Network on Monday 20 January 1986.NewsNews Director Brian Wright presented ATV-0's first news bulletin on Sunday 2 August, 1964. Barry McQueen (formerly from GTV-9) became Channel 0's first newsreader. The channel's first news format was a 45-minute bulletin at 6.15pm weeknights, beating rival stations HSV-7 and GTV-9 to air by 15 minutes.In 1965, the 45-minute format was dropped in favour of 5-minute updates during the evenings, and hence began an almost constantly changing news lineup for the station. 30 minute news bulletins were later restored and would alternate between the 6pm and 6.30 timeslots. By the late 1960s, the news service was titled 0 Melbourne News.In 1972, ATV-0 adopted the news branding Eyewitness News. Ralphe Neill became chief newsreader in 1973, and then Bruce Mansfield in 1974.Also during 1974 came the nightly current affairs program 24 Hours, which was less than successful and had a short life.Eyewitness News with Bruce Mansfield, expanded to a one-hour format from 20 March 1978, and from early 1979 Annette Allison, formerly from BTQ-7 Brisbane, joined Mansfield to jointly present the one-hour bulletin format. In November 1979, both Mansfield and Allison were dumped from the news desk and moved to other duties - Mansfield to voice over announcer, and Allison continuing to co-host Good Morning Melbourne. In their place were newsreaders Michael Schildberger and Peter Hanrahan, as Eyewitness News reverted back to a half-hour format from 19 November 1979.Things changed again following the channel's transition to ATV-10 in 1980. David Johnston (previously HSV-7) and former newsroom reporter Jana Wendt took over reading the 6.00pm bulletin, and from 5 May 1980 the one-hour format was re-instated. By 1982, Wendt had accepted an offer to join the Nine Network's flagship current affairs program 60 Minutes. In her place came Jo Pearson, having worked previously in radio and television in Queensland, Western Australia and briefly overseas. The David and Jo lineup became gold for Ten as its news ratings hit a peak in the mid 1980s. Public interest also sparked by the marriage of Pearson to weatherman Rob Gell.By 1987, Mal Walden had been sacked as newsreader at HSV-7 and was offered a new role at Ten as reporter and to present his own nightly segment Mal's Melbourne. So successful was Ten's Eyewitness News at this point that the Nine Network could only do one thing - break the team up. Jo Pearson and Rob Gell accepted an offer to move to Nine in October 1987, a contract rumoured at the time to be worth $1 million.Following the departure of Pearson, Ten expanded its lineup to 3 newsreaders, David Johnston, Mal Walden and newcomer Tracey Curro. Curro was formerly a newsreader at regional station GMV-6 Shepparton, and had later been weekend newsreader at QTQ-9 Brisbane. Mal was later moved to the weekend bulletin. In September 1988, Eyewitness News became TEN News.Instability at the Ten Network in the later 1980s was reflected in the news department. The revamp of the network to 10 TV Australia in 1989 saw the Eyewitness News branding revived. The title would change again in January 1990 to TEN Evening News and in 1991 back to Eyewitness News. In November 1990, major budget cuts hit the network with the bulletin reduced to 30 minutes and Johnston retained as sole newsreader.While still contracted to Ten, Tracey Curro was offered a role at Seven's science and technology program Beyond 2000. Ten fought Curro's decision to leave but were unsuccessful.The network had an image revamp on 1991. In April, the one-hour news was revived and Jo Pearson, who had a less than fruitful stay at the Nine Network, returned to Ten alongside Johnston. By this stage Ten's news ratings had paled compared to previous years and not even the return of Jo could turn that around. In January 1992, TEN took the brave move and moved its news bulletin across Australia to 5.00pm weeknights. The move proved popular as a few years later, Ten was regularly winning the 5pm timeslot.Derryn Hinch, whose current affairs program Hinch had been cancelled by the Seven Network at the end of 1991, took the program to Network Ten from January 1992 - initially in the 6.00pm timeslot up against Seven Nightly News and National Nine News. However, within weeks, the program shifted to the 7.00pm timeslot - the same timeslot it had occupied at Seven. The program continued until the end of 1993, after being cancelled by news director Carmel Travers in favour of a new Sydney-based program Alan Jones Live which would be less than successful.In 1994, the title changed again, from Eyewitness News to TEN News. Former TVQ-10 newsreader Marie-Louise Thiele replaced Jo Pearson in 1994.By late 1995, Johnston had announced he was returning to HSV-7 to be chief newsreader there, and Thiele was returning to Brisbane. In their place was Mal Walden and Jennifer Hansen, starting in 1996. In 2006, former NBN and Nine Network reporter and presenter Helen Kapalos replaced Hansen as ATV's weekday news co-presenter.
References"Channel 0 - First days", TV Times, 29 April 1964"Channel 0 Gagged", TV Week, 16 May 1964"Channel change", The Age, 12 October 1978"0, What a disappointment", The Age, 20 November 1979"Long news not always good news", The Age, 6 May 1980O'Regan, Mick (2000) "The Media Report" (episode 28th September), ABC Radio National Walden, Mal (2003) From The Word Go! 40 Years of Ten Melbourne Network Ten, MelbourneClark, David and Samuelson, Steve (2006) 50 Years - Celebrating a Half-Century of Australian Television, Milsons Point, N.S.W., Australia : Random House Australia (ISBN: 1741660246).
* First in Color