Emil Voigt and Radio 2KY

2ky booklet  12th anniversary

The minutes of the Labor Council of NSW Executive Committee meeting of 17th February 1925 recorded the following:

R E. Voigt was present by invitation of the Council to place the matter of “Radio” fully before the Executive. He explained the approximate cost of the installation of a B Class Broadcasting Station would be £1,500 – 500 watt station. This station could broadcast to any part of Australia or New Zealand. It could be picked up by small crystal sets on a 12 mile radius. Crystal Sets could be made at a small cost approximately 4 or 5 shillings each”.
The following resolution was soon carried unanimously:-

“That we recommend that the principle of installing a broadcasting set of the B Class be affirmed. Further that a Committee be appointed with power to go right ahead, addressing meetings on the matter”.

Class B stations were stations financed by selling commercials. Class A ones were financed by license fees.

Emil Robert Voigt was the prime mover behind Labor Council getting into broadcasting. He was clearly concerned that unions have their own media voice via the radio (and also union newspapers). He was also the instigator of the Labor Research and Information Bureau at Trades. Other NSW labour movement names on the Labor Council Executive at the time were Jack Beasley and Jock Garden.

On the 7th of May 1925 the Labor Council applied for permission to build a “B Class” broadcasting station in Sydney with programme material that focused on “Matters of educational value, musical entertainment, news service, weather and market reports, public debates and other matters of general public interest”.

The P.M.G. approved the License on the 20th of May 1925 for a fee of £5 per annum. The Labor Daily reported that the Station was one of the most powerful in the Southern Hemisphere. The call sign allotted by the P.M.G. was 2IC. This was changed briefly to 2LC, then 2TH and finally to 2KY, which was Voigt’s preference.


The design and construction of 2KY was undertaken in 1925 by Ernest Gordon Beard, the chief engineer of United Distributors, and formerly a radio operator with the Royal Navy. When 2KY moved from Trades Hall in 1932 to the Dymocks building Beard was again engaged as chief engineer of the new much higher-power transmitting station which was built at Beacon Hill and opened by Premier Lang in February 1933.- The switch illustrated here was made up as a special presentation in a box with a special inscription for Premier Lang to keep but Lang didn’t take it with him so the Beard family ended up with it). E G Beard is engraved on the presentation switch


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