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Celebrating 40 years of SBS Radio

This year SBS Radio celebrates 40 years broadcasting to all Australians.


Thank you to everyone for making our 40th year the best yet!
Former broadcasters and special guests, including PM Malcolm Turnbull, joined SBS Radio's 40th anniversary events in Sydney and Melbourne.

Happy 40th, SBS Radio!

Politicians, dignitaries, community leaders and media figures congratulate to SBS Radio on their 40th anniversary.
The Indian born community in Australia has virtually doubled since 2006, and SBS Radio broadcasts in many of Indian's languages.
When conflict erupted in South Sudan in 2013 many fled from their homeland to Australia, prompting the establishment of SBS Dinka Radio.
Greek was the first language to be heard on SBS Radio's debut broadcast in 1975. To celebrate 40 years of radio broadcasting we've been meeting some of the faces...
Back to the Future quiz

The future is here!  October 21, 2015 was officially the day Marty McFly time travelled to the future in Back To The Future II - but how well do you know the 1985 blockbuster movie?

The Future Series

As part of our 40 years of SBS Radio celebrations - we take a look at what life might be like as we head toward 2055.

We all want to know what the future holds. Three young Australian experts are making the future their career. ...

Future Hopes: Liveable Cities

Australian cities are undergoing rapid change. More of us are living in cities than ever before. ...

Future Fears: Organic Food

In 40 years, The Intergenerational Report predicts Australia's population may hit nearly 40 million. ...

Future Fears: Privacy

Smart phones, social media sites and the Internet are becoming inseparable aspects of our everyday lives. ...

Future Hopes: Workplaces

The rise of computerisation, automation, teleworking and zero hours contracts are all predicted to have profound effects upon Australia's future workforce. ...

A look back over the past 40 years of news and events


The 2010s has seen Earthquakes in Haiti, floods in Queensland; Julian Assange and wikileaks. What will be next?

Year in a Minute: 2014

Civil war in Ukraine; the Lindt cafe siege, Boko Haram and the rise of ISIS.

Biggest Stories: 2014

On the 8th of March, Australians woke to the news that a Malaysian Airlines flight bound for Beijing had gone missing. ...

Year in a Minute: 2013

Tony Abbott elected Australian Prime Minister; Nelson Mandela dies at 95 and Oscar Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder.

Biggest Stories: 2013

A tragedy made the headlines in April 2013 when more than 1100 people were killed and 2500 injured as an eight story garment-factory in the Savar district of...

Year in a Minute: 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduces a carbon tax, while the world's biggest power outage affects India. The Queen celebrates her diamond Jubilee and 14-year...

Biggest Stories: 2012

2012 was the year Australian Julian Assange, founder of internet whistle-blower Wikileaks, sought asylum in the Ecuador’s Embassy in London to avoid extradition...

Year in a Minute: 2011

Osama Bin Laden killed in Pakistan, Egyptian president Mubarak resigns the occupy movement takes over Wall street and there is a Royal Wedding!


The 2000s saw the continued dominance of the internet; the "war on terror" and an appolgy to Australia's indigenous, "stollen generation".

Year in a Minute: 2009

Black Saturday fires leave 173 dead in rural Victoria; Gunmen attack the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan and Pop Megastar Michael Jackson takes his last moon walk.

Biggest Stories: 2009

In 2009 Barack Obama was elected as America’s first African-American President.

Year in a Minute: 2008

Fidel Castro steps down after 49 years in power; Australia ends its mission in Iraq, and Kevin Rudd says sorry to the stolen generation.

Biggest Stories: 2008

2008 was the year that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered a national apology to the Stolen Generation.

Biggest Stories: 2007

2007 was a prominent year for technology buffs. In his trademark presentation style, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced to the world, their newest product at the...

Year in a Minute: 2007

After five years in custody, David Hicks returns to Australia; James Hardie announces compensation for asbestos victims and Kevin Rudd elected as Australia's 26th...

Biggest Stories: 2006

2006 was the year that Cyclone Larry rung up a 250 million dollar insurance claim for the people of Northern Queensland. ...


The final decade of the 20th century saw freedom for Nelson Mandela, the birth of the World Wide Web and the tragic death of Princess Diana.

Biggest Stories: 1999

In 1999 there was a significant concern about the Y-2-K bug, with predictions that computers would fail at beginning of the new millennium.

Year in a Minute: 1999

Australia voted 'No' to a republic; Pro-Indonesian militia kill over a thousand after an Independence vote in East Timor and the world counts down towards Y2K.

Year in a Minute: 1998

What does viagra, Bill Clinton and Google have in common? They all made a splash in 1998.

Biggest Stories: 1998

In 1998 US President Bill Clinton finally admitted to having a relationship with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, after he previously denied they’d engaged in...

Biggest Stories: 1997

Where were you on the 31st of August 1997? ...

Year in a Minute: 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales, killed in a car accident in Paris; INX frontman Michael Hutchence found dead in a Sydney hotel and Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule.

Year in a Minute: 1996

Nationwide gun law reforms were made following the murder of 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The Taliban seize Kabul and scientists in Scotland clone Dolly...


In the decade of excess, gloves were fingerless, jackets had shoulder pads, and mobile phones were the size of brick.  Welcome to the 80s!

Year in a Minute: 1989

We love Daryl Somers, and Geek-chic Game Boys; 13 die in the Newcastle earthquake and the Chinese army attacks demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.

Biggest Stories: 1989

Berlin Wall comes down paving the way for German re-unification.

Year in a Minute: 1988

Pan Am Flight 103 blowns-up over Lockerbie in Scotland.

Biggest Story: 1988

Bicentenary year and much of Australia is in party mode.

Year in a minute: 1987

The year of Dirty Dancing, while Ronald Reagan challenges, “Mr Gorbachev. Tear down this wall.'

Biggest Stories: 1987

Black Monday - stock markets around the world crash.

Fast Facts: 1986

"That's not a knife."


The decade that brought us Star Wars, the birth of ethnic radio and disco!

Biggest Stories: 1979

Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

Year in a Minute: 1979

It's the year that brought us the first Sony Walkman, Mad Max, and Skylab fell from the sky.

Fast Facts: 1979

Multiculturalism gets the official nod!

Biggest Stories 1978

Egypt makes peace with Israel

Year in a Minute 1978

Mass-murder suicide, Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive and Village People's 'YMCA'.

Fast Facts 1978

The Northern Territory was granted self-government and ethnic radio gets a new name!

Year in a Minute: 1977

"May the Force be with you."
New radio schedule announced

After 18 years a new radio schedule is launched with the theme of “Feel at Home”. Six new language groups, to reflect the current Australian community, are added to the schedule: Dinka, Hmong, Malayalam, Pashto, Swahili and Tigrinya

April 2013
Taser exclusive

SBS Radio’s Portuguese program obtained an exclusive series of still images taken from security cameras inside a convenience store Sydney’s CBD in the early hours of March 18, when Roberto Laudisio Curti, a young Brazilian man studying in Australia died after being tasered by NSW Police. The SBS Radio Portuguese team’s unique connection with the community uncovered new leads in this story. Portuguese program executive Producer, Beatriz Wagner translated material and made it available to the wider SBS news network. SBS Radio was credited as the source of the story in media across Australia and in Brazil.

March 2011
Radio launches new pop stations Desi and Araby

SBS launches two new digital music radio stations for Australia’s growing multicultural youth market.  The launch of SBS PopDesi and SBS PopAraby follows the huge success of SBS’s first digital radio station for multicultural Australians, SBS PopAsia.

SBS PopDesi offers the latest Bollywood hits and Bhangra tracks, while SBS PopAraby brings the very best of Arabic pop to Australian audiences.  Both are avilable on DAB digital radio, online and via their own dedicated mobile apps.

July 2012
SBS launch PopAsia

On January 2011 SBS Radio launch SBS PopAsia - a 24/7 digital radio station playing the hottest tracks from across Asia.  Unlike the previously launched SBS Chill, PopAsia would have a live weekday drive show to engage with listeners.


Later that year SBS PopAsia would launch its own Sunday TV show on SBS One (now on SBS 2).  The show featured the latest music videos from Korea, Japan and China - and included the latest comments from fans on Twitter and Facebook.



January 2011
Kids go K-Pop crazy

SBS PopAsia entertain over 20,000 screaming KPop fans at the 2011 KPop Music Fest at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.  The special event celebrated the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Australia.  10 of the most popular Korean music acts took to the stage - with SBS PopAsia providing the pre-event entertainment.

12 November 2011
Walkley Award: Echoes of Srebrenica

The Srebrenica massacre in eastern Bosnia in July 1995 was one of the most horrific events of the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

The massacre left more than 7000 Muslim men and boys dead, the largest mass murder in Europe since WWII.

To mark the 15th anniversary of the massacre, "Echoes of Srebrenica" radio program featured the voices of survivors now living in Australia, some speaking for the first time about their experiences.

The program also highlights the surprisingly prominent role of Australians in the continuing search for the missing, identification of the remains, and in bringing to justice some of those responsible for war crimes in Bosnia at the UN's International Criminal Tribunal.

SBS Radio's Kristina Kukolja won the 2010 Radio Feature, Documentary or Broadcast Special Walkley Award for her work on this radio feature.


December 2010
SBS launches SBS Chill

SBS launches it's first digital radio music station - SBS Chill.  A mix of modern lounge music and relaxing world hits - Chill is now available online, on digital TV and on it's own mobile app.  Find out how to listen here

February 2010
Radio goes digital

Digital radio was the most significant upgrade to Australian radio since the introduction of FM, bringing with it new features and better audio quality.  The Australian Government set a launch date for digital radio in the six state capital cities to commence no later than July 2009.  The commercial radio networks began their staged roll-out of DAB+ digital radio in May, with the ABC and SBS launching their services onto the new digital platform in July. 

July 2009
Talk-back starts on 2EA

2EA introduce the use of talk-back for the first time in conjunction with the 'Lebanese Adventure' radio feature series.

3EA discontinue several English language programs in order to provide airtime for extra languages.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1983

Sydney (2EA): Khmer

November 1983
PM Rudd's apology

The Aboriginal Program broadcasts live from the steps of Parliament House in Canberra during Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples (pictured).

Other notable news events that year included the Fijian programs interview with the former Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, while under house arrest on his home island. And The Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, appearing on the popular talk-back segment of the Maltese Program.     

SBS launches a new tagline for TV and radio - “Six Billion Stories and Counting”.

A new SBS Radio home page was launched providing users with access to streamed audio updates in language, podcasts of radio programs as well as themed sections on news and currents affairs, sport, arts and entertainment.

Tsunami fundraiser

SBS listeners dig deep into their pockets and pledge $1.4 million for victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

SBS launches overnight radio programming with World View, Alchemy, Nightwatch and international news feeds.

Online streaming and relocation to Fed Square

All 68 languages are now streamed online with each program available as catch-up for 7 days.

Melbourne relocates to new premises in Federation Square.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 2003
Radio launched its new program schedules which now included Malay, Amharic, Nepalese and Somali, but was forced to cease broadcasting in Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Belarusian. 

Walkley Award: The Five Mysteries of SIEV X

Arabic broadcaster Ghassan Nakhoul wins a Walkley Award for his radio report ‘The Five Mysteries of SIEV X’, which followed the developments of the SIEVX saga for more than 9 months, revealing the human face to the tragic sinking of the doomed boat and the drowning of 353 asylum seekers.

(Photo: Part of the SIEV X Memorial - by Nick-D via Wikimedia Commons)

9/11 attacks

2001 In the week following the September 11 attacks, SBS Radio newsroom produces 176 news items and 286 audio reports that accompanied hundreds of segments produced by radio language programs. As a temporary measure additional programs in Dari and Pashto are broadcast.

(Photo: The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York)

September 2001
Sydney Olympics

Exhaustive coverage of the Sydney Olympic Games provided SBS Radio audiences with 440 interviews and audio coverage in 43 different languages.

SBS Radio now produces 650 hours of programming each week in 68 languages via AM and FM in Melbourne and Sydney and also on FM on the National Network July.  2000 also saw the launch of SBS Radio language programs online.

September 2000
Kosovo crisis

To help meet the information needs of the Albanian Australian community during the Kosovo crisis, SBS Radio temporarily supplement the 2 hours scheduled program to additional 1 hour in the National Network. Later in the year the Albanian Head of Group meets the first intake of Kosovar refugees at Sydney airport. There were live broadcasts from the Tasmanian and Perth safe haven camps for Kosovo refugees. During the broadcast from the Tasmanian safe haven, Kosovo refugees in the Melbourne studio were able to talk to callers throughout Australia.

(Photo:  Yugoslav army soldier in the village of Stari Trg, near Kosovska Mitrovica, some 40 km northwest of Pristina Saturday January, 1999.  AAP)

Sir Nicholas Shehadie completes his term as Chairman of the SBS, and Carla Zampatti appointed as the new Chair.

March 1999
Record radiothon and roaming radio

SBS Radio conducts its biggest radiothon to date. One World ’98 raised $713,000 for Austcare and the Refugee Council of Australia. More than 700 volunteers answered 13,500 calls from SBS Radio listeners.

SBS Radio took delivery of two state-of-the-art OB units. They were the first vehicles of their kind to be built in Australia and officially launched by Prime Minister Howard at a conference in Brisbane. Radio was now able to travel the country to take part in festivals and connect to communities like never before.

May 1998
Timor exclusive

SBS Radio scored a journalistic coup with an exclusive eyewitness account of how five Australia journalists were murdered in East Timor in 1975.

Later that year SBS would secure an exclusive interview with Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta.


Radio turns 20

SBS Radio celebrates 20 years of multilingual broadcasting, and introduces a new English news service 'World View'. 

Sydney’s Head of the Aboriginal group created history with two live broadcasts from Darwin which were carried by 29 Aboriginal community radio stations in the Northern Territory. Two months later, similar live broadcasts were made from Uluru to mark the 10th anniversary of Uluru’s return to the Aboriginal people.


June 1995
SBS Radio goes national

SBS Radio launched its national network with regular transmissions to Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth. 2EA and 3EA renamed SBS Radio Sydney and SBS Radio Melbourne. 

The availability of FM frequencies for the broadcast of language programs in Melbourne and Sydney enables SBS Radio to double its broadcasting time in both centres.  There are now 31 languages available on AM band, and 37 broadcast to FM.  SBS Radio becomes the world’s first national multilingual radio service and now broadcasts in 68 languages.

Special World Cup Soccer coverage broadcast on FM frequencies in Melbourne and Sydney. The final is heard via the national network with the Portuguese and Italian groups in Sydney linked studio broadcasts with community clubs.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1994
African, Burmese and Dari are now broadcast across both Sydney and Melbourne schedules.

January 1994
New logo - new location

A new SBS corporate image and logo is launched, followed by a relocation to new offices at Herbert Street Artarmon for SBS TV, officially opened by Prime Minister Keating. SBS Radio joins their TV colleagues later that year.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1993
Melbourne (3EA): Dari.

January 1993
New scheduling for 2EA and 3EA

New SBS Radio programming schedules come into force across 2EA and 3EA.

Broadcasters and Australian Journalists’ Association members at 2EA go on strike for several weeks against staff restructuring.

Restructuring completed and networking between 2EA and 3EA begins.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1992
Melbourne (3EA): Filipino, New Zealand Maori, Thai.
Sydney (2EA): Persian-Farsi.

June 1992
SBS to run commercials

The government agrees to allow advertising on SBS TV and Radio under a new charter. Guidelines covering the form, content and placement of ads to be set by the SBS board after a period of public consultation.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1991
Sydney (2EA): Samoan.


(Photo: Radio innovation in 1991 - the Wind-up clockwork radio was designed and patented by British inventor Trevor Baylis)

June 1991
No ABC SBS merger

SBS is advised that the government intends to amalgamate ABC and SBS, however, after months of press speculation and public outcry, Prime Minister Hawke announces that the amalgamation will not occur.

February 1987
SBS Radio goes pro

The restructuring of language groups to full professionalism results in the first employment ads for bilingual broadcasters and journalists for 2EA and 3EA to appear in the Australian media.

The federal government announces its intention to amalgamate the SBS with the ABC from January 1, 1987.


(Photo: 3EA staff)

July 1986
Live space broadcast

SBS Radio 2EA are linked for a live broadcast with two cosmonauts orbiting earth in the Soviet space station MIR (pictured).

October 3
SBS 2EA joins the celebration of the reunification of Germany by broadcasting proceedings live from Berlin.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1990
Melbourne (3EA): Cook Ilands Maori, Fijian, Kurdish, Samoan, Tongan.
Sydney (2EA): Cook Ilands Maori.

September 1990
2EA on the move

2EA enter their new premises at 55 Grafton street, Bondi Junction (pictured).


May 1988
Ballet moves

3EA moves again - this time to new premises in the Australian Ballert Centre.

November 1989
'82 World Cup

Coverage of World Cup Soccer matches on both 2EA and 3EA with live commentary provided in several languages.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1982

Melbourne (3EA): Lao, Living Black (Aboriginal program)
Sydney (2EA): Sinhalese

June 1982
Sir Nicolas Shehadie

In 1981 a new SBS Board was appointed, chaired by former Australian rugby union Test captain and former Lord Mayor of Sydney, Sir Nicholas Shehadie.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1981

Melbourne (3EA): Assyrian, Japanese, Korean.
Sydney (2EA): Japanese, Lao.

July 1981
Malcom Fraser visits 3EA

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser visits 3EA Radio in Melbourne. In December 2EA starts broadcasting to Queensland through 4EB community radio.

New languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1979

Melbourne (3EA): Cantonese, Indonesian, Khmer, Mandarin, Sinhalese, Tamil.
Sydney (2EA): Danish, Fijian, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish.

March 1979
SBS takes the reins

SBS commences and assumes responsibility for 2EA and 3EA radio.

Februrary 28
2EA broadcasts 126 hours per week in 36 languages.  3EA broadcasts 103 hours weekly in 32 languages (pictured: 3EA program rundown).

April 23

The first live overseas broadcast on 2EA/3EA - a soccer match from the former Yugoslavia.

June 1

Radio 2EA moves from Five Dock to studios at 257 Clarence St, Sydney.

December 31
2EA broadcasts in 41 languages and 3EA broadcasts in 38 languages,

Languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1978
Melbourne (3EA): Albanian, Armenian, Czech, Dannish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Punjabi, Russian, Slovakian, Swedish, Ukranian and Urdu.
Sydney (2EA): Filipino and Tongan.



01 January 1978
Happy Birthday SBS Radio

Happy Birthday SBS Radio

Happy birthday SBS Radio! 

SBS Radio is now avilable in more lamguages and across more platforms than ever before!  Find out the different ways to tune in to SBS Radio here.

Share your thoughts on SBS Radio's past 40 years of broadcasting.  #SBSRadio or get in touch with one of your favourite language programs - find your language program here.


Birthday dates:

June 9 2EA’s 40th anniversary

June 23 3EA’s 40th anniversary


(Photo: SBS Broadcasters.  '90s Sydney Alumni)

June 2015
2014 FIFA World Cup

2014 FIFA World Cup

The most comprehensive coverage of a sporting event ever undertaken by SBS Radio was the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil. In a world first SBS Radio broadcast 119 live match shows across 15 languages.

12 June 2014
Ethnic broadcasting in review

May  1976 saw the establishment of Consultative Committee on Ethnic Broadcaster to consider future of ethnic broadcasting.

School children record a program to mark Orthodox Christmas at Radio 3EA (pictured).

Languages added to SBS Radio in 1976
Melbourne (3EA): Dutch, French, Polish and Romanian.
Sydney (2EA): Armenian, Assyrian, Bangla (Bengali), Czech, Dutch, Estonian, French, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Slovakian, Tamil, Ukranian and Urdu.

May 1976
Creation of SBS

The Governor-General proclaims amendments to 'Broadcasting and Television Act 1942', setting up the SBS.

3EA finds a new home at 35 Bank Street, South Melbourne.

Languages added to SBS Radio schedules in 1977
Melbourne (3EA): Bulgarian, Estonian, Hungarian and Portuguese.
Sydney (2EA): Finnish, Romanian and Vietnamese.

18 November 1977
The beginning

June 9

As part of a 3 month trial, experimental radio station 2EA (EA abbreviated from Ethnic Australia) in Sydney officially opens, broadcasting from the Christian Broadcasting Studios at Five dock.  the station broadcasts in seven languages, seven days a week.

June 23
Melbourne radio 3EA starts brodcasting in eight languages, seven days a week from Armstrong Audio-Video, South Melbourne.

In first 3 weeks Sydney attracted 3,500 favourable letters and averaged 60 telephone calls a day. Later that year in the Whitlam government is dismissed, incoming Prime Minister Fraser decides to allow the stations to continue pending an enquiry.

Languages heard on SBS Radio in 1975
Melbourne (3EA): Arabic, Croatian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Serbian, Maltese, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish and Turkish.
Sydney (2EA): Arabic, Cantonese, Croatian, German, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Maltese, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish and Turkish.


June 1975
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