You could hardly choose a more appropriate blog to interview me. A very groovy American named Jose asked asked some fantastic, insightful questions about the project and it was a pleasure to be interviewed by a fellow enthusiast. Here’s a link to the interview, and I’d encourage any of my weird radio cohorts to explore the rest of the blog, it’s bloody fantastic!
Thank you to everyone so much for tuning in, your feedback and your support for Episode 1 of the Student Radio History Show!
Episode 1 discusses the pioneering PIRATE RADIO STATIONS of the early 70s in Melbourne, Victoria, and their influence on the radio projects of the future. Like a lot else in the early 70s, these stations were heavily political, and created as protests against the devastating Vietnam War. As Australia’s boldest pirate radio project, the influence of these pirates lived past the Vietnam War and influenced the creation of radical radio 3CR Community Radio and 4ZZZ
For the majority of the show, I was so nervous I thought I’d die at any moment, and all the positive feedback has swelled my heart today like the Grinch at the end of that one movie.
The show will be podcasted post-haste, and should be available by the end of the week – I will post the link here and on studentradiohistory.com.au once it’s ready to go! The podcast will also include information on 3PR The People’s Radio at Monash University, which was not included in the live broadcast, as well as some extra interview audio.
Thank you to SYN for the platform. Thanks again to Juliet Fox and 3CR Community Radio, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia for use of their audio and archival material, legends!
IMAGE 1 – My very own bit of student radio history, my DIY sign for the show last night, now officially archival material, torn at the corners in my haste to get out on time!
IMAGE 2 – The Age, 28 September 1971. Michael Matteson, Michael Hamel-Green, Tony Dalton and John Scott at the draft sanctuary at Melbourne University.
Current SYNner Tom showing radio veteran of 40 years John Maizels how to speak into a microphone! Hahahaha. John was part of 3ST (SYN’s grandparent) in early 70s at RMIT. He cofounded the Monash student radio station, was a part of 3CT at Caulfield Tech, was one of the founding members of PBS and conducted the first test broadcast for 3CR. He joined the ArtSmitten team at SYN for an interview while he was in town for the CBAA conference. During the interview he recalls the time broadcast from inside the elevators on campus for 3ST, making him responsible for the the newspaper headline “Radio’s Rise and Fall”. Today, John is the president of Technorama and a community radio legend! Tom and Marcie co-host and co-produce ArtSmitten on SYN Wednesdays and Sundays. Although they never broadcast from a moving lift, they are handsome, talented, groovy SYNners – and hey, they gave the book a shout out, so they have great taste!
🔽 2004, The Shannon Noll show on the Student Radio program, Radio Adelaide. @adelaideuniversityunion, I got you. I know how hard it can get. For a short history of student radio in Adelaide, including UniAdelaide, Flinders Uni and UniSA, visit the post on this website: http://ow.ly/E58X50wZYwQ Otherwise, stay tuned for the book to be published! A History of Student Radio in Australia will be fully self-published & independent in the spirit of student radio, and will have some hair on its chin in the spirit of Nolls 😎🤘🔽
1983, Northern Territory. When Darwin Radio was cool 😎
This is a short history of 8TOP or TOP FM. For southerners, TOP refers to the Top End, which is where Darwin is in the Northern Territory, and is also slang for groovy af radio 🎙 Now called Territory FM, 8TOP was started by Darwin Community College in 1980 (now Charles Darwin University). During that decade, TOP FM had a lot of hep cats and cool kids broadcasting alternative shows on campus.
But the station made a series of programming decisions that led to a complete alienation of students today. 👵🏻👴🏻 In 1992 The Big Spit student newspaper asks “When is a community radio station not a community radio station? When it broadcasts John Laws, 2UE news and horse racing for most of the day.”
These questionable program decisions stacked up in all corners of TOP FM over the years. In correlation, student involvement rapidly reduced from passionate volunteers, to students only completing required components of the journalism course, to virtually no student or youth involvement today. 👎
In 1993, the University and TOP FM added insult to injury. Journalism students had already found themselves disenfranchised as the journalism course was set to be discontinued in 1994. While these students were still studying, works began for parts of the journalism department to be demolished for construction on new TAB studios for TOP FM. This unabashed embrace of corporate content over original youth content never ended. Today, Territory openly broadcasts a “commercial format”. The station management insist they have to go commercial in order to survive financially. Much of the responsibility for this lies at the feet of the university, who shifted gears for 8TOP in the 90s to increase the focus on “sponsorship” and “self-sufficiency”, apparently institutional code words for selling out! 💰💰💰
The move into commercial and politically conservative formatting is clearly a concern for community broadcasters. One wonders, what’s the point of having a community broadcaster if it doesn’t provide diverse, original, alternative content?
But to what extent can we be critical of the struggling station for these decisions to “survive”? It’s easy to criticise, but what other choice was there? Is it our responsibility in bigger cities to support less resourced stations, despite our own financial concerns? Is there a point to community radio if it isn’t alternative? And is alternative content inherently associated with young people? 🤔
If you’re interested in these questions, find out more when A History of Student Radio in Australia is released in 2020, documenting this part of Australian history for the first time. 📻💃🏾🕺🏽🎉
Me and John Hill from Studio 2, a SYN alumnus from 1964! The lineage: In the early 1960s, student radio station “Studio 1” at RMIT turned into Studio 2, then 3ST (as in ST-udio 2), then 3SRA (as in Student Radio Association), which then merged with a licenced high school station in the late 90s to form… SYN Media! John Hill was one of the earliest members of Studio 2 in 1964-1967, and is currently the Senior Engineer for Channel 7. He shared with me stories of on air shenanigans, a rivalry between the student radio station and the ham radio operators, and memories of the Miss Studio 2 pageant. The off-air interview took place in SYN’s brand spankin’ new studios, the successor to Studio 2 fifty years down the road. Stay tuned for developments on the book which will publish the entire story of Australia’s student radio history for the first time.