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VEW Kalgoorlie - 49 years on air


VEW Kalgoorlie has today achieved 49 years on air. The station was founded by Mid-Western Television P/L and commenced regular service on 18 June 1971. It was the thirty-first commercial television station to commence broadcast operations in regional Australia and the third in regional Western Australia. The station’s licence service area was centred on the gold and nickel mining community of Kalgoorlie and surrounding districts located 595 kilometres ENE of Perth.


The genesis of commercial television in the Kalgoorlie area can be traced to the late 1960s when local business interests met to discuss the possibility of establishing a local station. On 26 June 1968 local business interests in conjunction with Melbourne-based Group Television Services, headed by Herb Lilburn, formed Mid-Western Television P/L for the purpose of applying for a commercial television licence at such time as applications were invited by the Postmaster-General’s Department.


The station's first staff included general manager Herb Lilburn, station manager and sales executive Peter Benson, chief technical officer John Ferguson, production co-ordinator Peter Miller, production assistant Barry Dickinson, hostess and graphic artist Judith Marwick, book-keeper and scheduling clerk Richard Bryndze, and receptionist and typist Jennifer Jackson.


VEW's first night program opened at 5.30pm with Birthday Book and a children’s painting competition presented by station hostess Judy Marwick. This was followed at 6.00pm by an episode of Skippy titled 'Long Way Home'. At 6.30pm the station telecast a Bandstand special, hosted by Brian Henderson and featuring The Executives, Kamahl and the Checkmates, followed by The Seekers Down Under at 7.30pm. At 8.30pm the station broadcast its opening night ceremony and congratulatory telegrams. The movie Tunnel of Love featuring Richard Widmark, Doris Day and Gig Young was telecast at 9.00pm. At 10.30pm the station aired highlights of the following day’s programmes, followed by Epilogue and close at 10.35pm.


In 1984, VEW was acquired by Datum Nominees P/L. Datum was, in turn, taken over later that year by Fowler Constructions Ltd, a company controlled by former Wonder World host Simon Townsend and Number 96 actor Mike Dorsey. Then, in late 1985, the station was acquired by 135 Nominees P/L, a company associated with American businessman Jack Bendat. Bendat also controlled Golden West Network Limited (GWN), operator of BTW Bunbury and GSW Albany. In a convoluted arrangement, Mid-Western Television P/L (as the licensee) delegated management of VEW to 135 Nominees P/L which, in turn delegated the same to GWN. VEW was placed on relay from BTW in December 1985 and was known on-air as Golden West Network. GWN stations including VEW were acquired by Kerry Stokes in April 1987, then Prime Television in 1996.


Those to further their television careers at VEW have included journalists Natalie Barr, Michael Usher and Alex Cullen. In 1999, GWN became a Seven Network affiliate following the launch of WIN Television's WOW Western Australia satellite television service. A third commercial service, VDW Kalgoorlie, operated by West Digital Television (a joint venture between Prime and WIN), commenced in 2010. The VEW licence continues to be operated by Prime Media Group and is known on-air as GWN7.

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