ATN is the Sydney flagship television station of the Seven Network in Australia. The licence, issued to a company named Amalgamated Television Services, a subsidiary of Fairfax, was one of the first four licences (two in Sydney, two in Melbourne) to be issued for commercial television stations in Australia. It began broadcasting on 2 December 1956.
The station formed an affiliation with GTV-9 Melbourne in 1957, in order to share content. In 1963, Frank Packer ended up owning both GTV-9 and TCN-9, so as a result the stations switched their previous affiliations. ATN-7 and HSV-7 joined to create the Australian Television Network, which later became the Seven Network. ATN-7 is the home of the national level Seven News bulletins.
The station opened in 1956 with principal offices and studios located at Mobbs Lane, Epping (a suburb about 18 kilometres north west of Sydney). The initial black and white cameras and other equipment was supplied by the Marconi Company of England. Conversion to PAL colour occurred on 1 March 1975. Digital DVB-T commenced on 1 January 2001.
The initial transmission tower in 1956 was located near the ABC tower at Gore Hill, Sydney. This was eventually demolished after ATN was invited to share a new site at Artarmon which was built by a new 3rd, commercial broadcaster TEN-10.
ATN-7 commenced digital television transmission in January 2001, broadcasting on VHF Channel 6 while maintaining analogue transmission on VHF Channel 7.
ATN's Sydney transmissions - both DVB-T terrestrial digital PAL - are broadcast from masts operated by Transmitters Australia (TXA) at Artarmon and/or Willoughby. Retransmission translators to UHF channels service Sydney viewers from Kings Cross and North Head at Manly and north of Sydney at Bouddi, Gosford and Forresters Beach (see the Digital Broadcast Australia) web site.
The on-air programs are sent by digital link from the Seven Network's national program play-out centre at Docklands in Melbourne.
The analogue signal for ATN was turned off at 9.00am AEDST, Tuesday, 3 December 2013 by using a special five-minute retrospective clip of the local station and a song "My City of Sydney" by Tommy Leonetti.
The Epping facilities were expanded to provide five operational studios and the centre became the largest producer of Australian produced TV content, including Wheel of Fortune, Sons and Daughters, A Country Practice, Hey Dad..!, All Saints, Terry Willesee Tonight and Home and Away.
News and live telecast programs are filmed and broadcast from the Martin Place studios.
The Epping studios closed in early 2010 when new studio facilities serviced by Global Television, opened at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh.
ATN's engineering staff received two Emmy Awards - making ATN the first Australian company to receive such an award - for the technology, invention and further development of RaceCam, live mobile point-of-view TV cameras which were initially developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s for the station's coverage of touring car races at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, New South Wales. Visiting commentators from the United States organised for ATN staff to supply the camera and transmission systems for CBS' coverage of NASCAR races.
A variant of RaceCam was also developed for yachts in the America's Cup off the coast of Fremantle, Western Australia, in 1985. Later in the mid-1980s, the American Broadcasting Company asked ATN staff to develop aerofoil-designed cameras suitable for Formula One cars, and these were subsequently used at the Indianapolis 500.
The Seven Network's Martin Place studios, referred to on-air as News Central and based on the first five floors of The Colonial Building in Sydney are the main news presentation studios for, Seven News Sydney, Sunrise, Weekend Sunrise, and The Morning Show. Comprising 3,000 square metres, viewers and tourists can see programs being broadcast from the street level studio. The network claims that the Martin Place facilities are one of the most technologically advanced digital television centres in the world.
Eliminations for the fifth season of The Mole in 2005 were also held at the Martin Place studios; the set was configured for each elimination episode including the final episode in which the winner and the Mole were revealed live. This meant that guests could watch outside the studio as the eliminations were being carried out live. Notable guests included contestants from previous seasons.
Seven News Sydney is presented from the network's national television studios at Martin Place, by Mark Ferguson from Sunday to Thursday and Michael Usher on Friday & Saturday. Mel McLaughlin and David Brown present weeknight sport and weather, while Jim Wilson and Angie Asimus present weekend sport and weather.
News updates for Sydney are presented throughout the afternoon and the early evenings, with updates during the night being shown nationally, they can be seen on Seven, 7TWO and 7mate.
At the end of 2003, a year before all of Channel 7's News and Current Affairs moved to Martin Place, the ill-fated dual presenter format of Ross Symonds and Ann Sanders came to an end after the pair failed to make an ratings impact in the Sydney market, losing viewers to competition winner Nine News Sydney (then National Nine News), which had led in the ratings for decades. After Ian Ross took over from both Symonds and Sanders in 2003, Seven News Sydney became the 6pm ratings leader from February 2005 until 2010.
Ross presented his final bulletin for Seven News Sydney on Friday 27 November 2009 with Bath taking over as main weeknight presenter on Monday 30 November 2009. Former Nine News presenter Mark Ferguson took over from Bath as weekend news presenter from Saturday 28 November 2009. The bulletin retained its ratings lead until it was overtaken again by the rival Nine News bulletin in the ratings in 2011 - Seven's 6pm bulletin won 14 out of 35 ratings weeks.
In January 2014, Mark Ferguson was appointed weeknight presenter, replacing Chris Bath due to poor ratings. Bath became weekend presenter and continued to host Sunday Night until her resignation in July 2015, after which Melissa Doyle took over. More changes to Sydney's news presenting team in subsequent months saw former Melbourne weather presenter David Brown replace Sarah Cumming as Sydney's weather presenter and Mel McLaughlin replace Jim Wilson as the sports presenter.
In August 2016, it was announced that Michael Usher would replace Melissa Doyle as Friday and Saturday presenter. Doyle will move into a new expanded role as senior correspondent and host of Sunday Night.
For its efforts in bringing news of the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis to the whole of Australia (ATN's Martin Place news rooms and facilities were evacuated and news operations shifted to a makeshift studio miles from the site, with additional coverage from other stations nationwide), Seven News Sydney became the 2015 Logie Awards winner for Most Outstanding News Coverage.
Currently, the Seven News Sydney on-air team consists of the following:
Fill-In PresentersSeven Early News
The Morning Show
The Morning Show: "Weekend"
The Daily Edition
Seven Morning News
Seven News at 4
Saturday Night Footy Footy Central updates (only after Saturday Arvo Football matches in Sydney)
Olympic Games (1992-2008, 2016–)
Bathurst 12 Hour (2015–)
A Place to Call Home (2013-2014) production made for Foxtel (2014–present)
Home and Away (1988–present)
My Kitchen Rules (2010–present)
Saturday Disney (1999–present)
The X Factor (2010-)
It's Academic (2005-2016)
Better Homes and Gardens (1995–)
Sydney Weekender - (1994–present)
House Rules (2013–)
Carols in the Domain - (1982–present)
Supercars Championship (2007-2014)
Packed to the Rafters (2008-2013)
Today Tonight (ATN-7 1995–2001) (HSV-7 2001-2006) (ATN-7 2007–2012) (HSV-7 2013-2014)
Eleven AM (1975–1999)
Real Life (1992–1994, became Today Tonight from 1995)
The Price Is Right (2012)
The NightCap (2008)
Wild Boys (2011)
All Saints (TV series) (1998-2009)
Always Greener (2001-2003)
Hey Dad..! (1987-1994)
Sons and Daughters (1982-1987)
A Country Practice (1981-1993)
Wheel of Fortune (Australian game show) (ADS-7 1981-1987) (SAS-7 1987-1996) (ATN-7 1996-2006)
Who Dares Wins (game show) (1996-2000)
The Real Seachange (2006)
The Zoo (Australian TV series) (2007-2008)
Popstars Live (2000-2002, 2004)
Surprise Chef (2001-2003)
The Dream with Roy and HG (2000, 2004)
The Ice Dream with Roy and HG (2002)
Win Roy & H.G.'s Money (2000)
The Monday Dump (2001-2002)
The Nation Dumps (2002)
The Cream (2003)
The Matty Johns Show (2010)
Sportsworld (HSV-7 1987-2003) (ATN-7 2004-2006)
The Mole (2005)
Sunday Sunrise (2004)
Early efforts by the station included variety series Sydney Tonight (1956-1959), Captain Fortune Show (1956-1960) for children, soap opera Autumn Affair (1958-1959) and talent program TV Talent Scout (1957-1958).