The article is divided into the following sections:
The desire to establish a commercial television station in the Riverland was first
raised as early as February 1968. Mr. H.S. Lilburn, who was to become the first Managing
Director of RTL, submitted a proposal to the Renmark Chamber of
Commerce. Subsequently, a public meeting was soon held. A steering committee was
established from this meeting, which led to the formation of RTL.
Before applying for the licence, the company expanded to cater for interests across the
whole Riverland region, not just Renmark. The application was successful, with an
announcement made on 8 April, 1975, that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board had
recommended a licence be awarded to RTL. The Minister approved this
recommendation later in 1975.
Shareholders in RTL included the local newspaper The Murray Pioneer
and their owners the Taylor Family. As such, the first chairman of RTL was Mr. W.G. Taylor, the long time chairman and princpial shareholder of the Pioneer, and family members were on the board of RTL.
In July 1976, Mr. Kerry Green began in his position of Station Manager. The then
25-year-old had already gained extensive experience in the Australian media landscape,
having held positions at VEW8 Kalgoorlie, WBQ8 Maryborough, NTD8 Darwin, and BTQ7 and
QTQ9 Brisbane. Until the RTS5A station building was completed, he operated from his
Utilising land that was leased from the ABC, work at the Murray Bridge Road site of the
new studio/office/transmitter complex for RTS5A started on 15 October, 1976. It was
built at the foot of the tower used by the local ABC station, which at the time was the
only reliable television service in the region. Amazingly, the building was completed
in time for the official opening on 26 November, 1976. Equipment for the station was
sourced from several locations internationally; however the bulk of it was produced in
South Australia. Also, prior to the completion of the building, some equipment was being
assembled and tested in Melbourne, in readiness for installation in Loxton. This offsite
work meant that all equipment was set up in the new building within a week.
In the week leading up to the opening, it was announced that Mrs. Julie Blyth would be
RTS5A's Station Hostess. Chosen from a field of 50 applicants, she would be the main
face of the station in its first years.
Test transmissions began on 25 November, 1976, and everything was ready for the official
commencement of transmission the next day.Opening night
RTS5A opened with an introduction from Julie
Blyth and Mr. John Harvey. The 1965 film The Great Race
6:05 pm, before the official opening at 8:40 pm.
Julie Blyth and John Harvey returned to host the official opening, with the Minister for
Post and Telecommunications, Mr Eric Robinson, doing the honours by declaring RTS5A
open. The evening?s proceedings concluded with the 1961 film The Guns
, which was telecast at 9:20 pm.The 1980sThis could be filled inThe 1990s and today
In 1995, the majority of RTS's shares was purchased by trucking magnate Alan Scott's South East Telecasters, owners of Mount Gambier's SES 8.
On the 9th of November 1998, parts of the 5A studios were destroyed by fire. Within days, the station recommenced operations, turning an tiny office converted into a news studio, and airing programs relayed from SES 8. The station was back in action just a few hours after the fire.
In June 1999, South East Telecasters was purchased by WIN Television, finalized on August 1. Despite promises not to change the station's name or programming, the 5A brand was replaced by WIN on the 21st of November.
In 2003, the station began airing more Nine programming, and also ended the practice of closing down for the night, switching to 24-hour programming at that point. The feed was replaced with one from Wollongong.
Also that year, WIN applied for a supplementary license (something RTS did before WIN brought them out), and was successful, launching in 2004 as WIN Ten (callsign LRS) on channel 34 and in digital on channel 35 (sharing with the existing WIN station).
"Manager for New T.V. Station", The Murray Pioneer
22 July 1976, p. 1.
"Work Starts On New T.V. Studio", The Murray Pioneer
21 October 1976, p. 1.
"TV Opening on Nov. 26", The Murray Pioneer
11 November 1976, p. 1.
"TV Station Opening Tomorrow", The Murray Pioneer
25 November 1976, p. 1.
"Hostess for TV Station", The Murray Pioneer
25 November 1976, p. 2.
"New TV Station Opens Tomorrow", The Murray Pioneer
25 November 1976, p. 7.
"The show must go on - television station", The Murray Pioneer
17 November 1998, http://www.murraypioneer.com.au/archive1998/19981117.htm
"5A sold after 23 years", The Murray Pioneer
18 June 1999, http://www.murraypioneer.com.au/archive1999/19990618.htm
"WIN takes control of RTS 5A", The Murray Pioneer
6 August 1999, http://www.murraypioneer.com.au/archive1999/19990806.htm