1920s–40sSee also: Australian Broadcasting Company
The first public radio station in Australia opened in Sydney on 23 November 1923 under the call sign 2SB with other stations in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart following. A licensing scheme, administered by the Postmaster-General's Department, was soon established allowing certain stations government funding, albeit with restrictions placed on their advertising content.
Following a 1927 Royal Commission inquiry into radio licensing issues, the government established the National Broadcasting Service which subsequently took over a number of the larger funded stations. It also nationalised the Australian Broadcasting Company which had been created by entertainment interests to supply programs to various radio stations. On 1 July 1932, the Australian Broadcasting Commission was established, taking over the operations of the National Broadcasting Service and eventually establishing offices in each of Australia's capital cities.
Over the next four years the stations were reformed into a cohesive broadcasting organisation through regular program relays, coordinated by a centralised bureaucracy. The Australian broadcast radio spectrum was constituted of the ABC and the commercial sector.
In 1942 The Australian Broadcasting Act was passed, giving the ABC the power to decide when, and in what circumstances, political speeches should be broadcast. Directions from the Minister about whether or not to broadcast any matter now had to be made in writing, and any exercise of the power had to be mentioned in the Commission's Annual Report. It was used only once, in 1963. In the same year, "Kindergarten of the Air" began on ABC Radio in Perth, and was later broadcast nationally.