Excitement built during early 1962, as preparations were made for our own northern TV station.
Hobart began transmission with TVT6 and the ABC two years earlier, and some Launcestonians erected big high-gain antennae to receive these and Melbourne stations.
WR Rolph & Sons, owners of The Examiner and 7EX, actually gained a licence themselves in 1960, but it took two years to create the TNT9 business, build a studio in Watchorn Street and erect a huge transmitter on Mt Barrow.
After final permission was given by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, a full-power test signal went out for an hour on April 19, 1962. Remarkably, people from Smithton to Bicheno and even Sandy Bay, rang in reporting perfect reception.
The only audience with problems was in Launceston as the powerful new signal swamped their tall high-gain aerials.
Once they unplugged the sophisticated equipment, many found no antenna was even needed to get the new local station.
Over the following weeks, further and longer tests were run, some superimposing potential advertisers' names over the test pattern to stimulate their interest.
Then some documentaries were tried, while staff numbers increased to 30 in the studio.
Finally, all the work culminated in an official opening by Governor Lord Rowallan on the evening of Saturday May 26, 1962.
On that day the test pattern was run from 2pm. Then programming began with the Mickey Mouse Club at 6pm.
With the audience warmed up, a 15-minute news bulletin ran from 6.45, provided by The Examiner.
Then Lord Rowallan did the formal opening honours at 7pm, followed by the Flintstones at 7.30. One has to wonder how the Governor felt about being slotted between the Mickey Mouse Club and a cartoon.
Early programming was dominated by American imports, but there were also mainland shows such as Pick A Box, Bandstand, Sunnyside Up and It Could Be You.
Simple local series such as Hunter's TeleQuiz, Children's Time, Quiz Quest and Talk of the Town were quickly developed and added to complement the Examiner-supplied news.
Unlike today, most shows went out live.
Early presenters included Rod Thurley, Joy Swain, Bruce Farrar and David McQuestin, and they quickly became household names.
With much of the audience in the north west, station management made sure they always referred to "northern Tasmania" rather than just Launceston.
In 1965 TNT9 merged with The Examiner to become ENT Ltd, which bought TVT6 Hobart in 1982. For a brief period, Launceston controlled all Tasmanian television, relaunching as TasTV with uniform programming across the state.
This changed in 1988 when ENT sold TNT9 for $40 million, to a company that became the Southern Cross network.
The government wanted more competition in the TV industry, and though strongly opposed by ENT chairman Edmund Rouse, they got their way.
The competition process was completed in 1994, when both Tasmanian commercial stations began statewide broadcasting.
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