Macquarie University
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Free-to-air: a history of Sydney's commercial television programming, 1956-2012

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:24 authored by Madeleine L. Hastie
This thesis presents a history of television programming on Sydney's commercial free-to-air (FTA) Channels 7, 9 and 10, set against Australia's social, political and economic milieu between 1956 and 2012. Beginning in 1956 with the launch of television in Sydney, Australia's largest television market, it maps the evolution of programming genres within the broad fields of information (news, current affairs, religion, sport and children's programming) and entertainment (light entertainment, drama and reality TV). In doing so, it reveals not a consistent process of development, but rather, one that is predominantly cyclical. Sydney, and indeed, Australian television are part of an international cultural system. By tracing broad, global trends through the prism of Sydney's commercial television in particular categories, the thesis provides insights into changes in the production and distribution, and to a lesser extent the reception, of Sydney television programming against a wider canvas.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- 1. Regulation and ownership : the backbone of television programming -- 2. News : the glue that traps and holds the audience -- 3. Current affairs : the story behind the story-makers -- 4. Religious programming : television's sacrificial lamb -- 5. Sport and television : a powerful partnership -- 6. Children's television : from The Mickey Mouse Club to The Wiggles -- 7. Light entertainment : a mixed bag of tricks -- 8. Drama : the 'heart' of the programming schedule -- 9. Reality TV : obsession with the ordinary -- Conclusion.


"A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 9 October 2013". Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 450-494. Includes bibliographical references

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Bridget Griffen-Foley


Copyright Madeleine L. Hastie 2013. Copyright disclaimer:




New South Wales


1 online resource (494 pages)

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