Gabe McGrath - Hitz FM blogger and memoir writer

Latest blog posts

STREAM: The first FIVE HOURS of Hitz FM’s 14th Broadcast

Let's jump back to April 1998. It wasn't just the time of Hitz FM's 14th Broadcast. It was the era ...
Read More

TEN amazing bits of Hitz Melbourne audio worth preserving

Each year, ten pieces of 'important sound' are inducted into the National Film and Sound Archive's (NFSA) Sounds of Australia ...
Read More
Header image: The day Hitz Melbourne smashed the radio ratings

When Hitz Melbourne smashed the radio ratings

Back in Summer 93/94 the Hitz crew were having the time of our lives. We had our music on the ...
Read More

Behind the scenes: Hitz on Hey Hey it’s Saturday

As February 1994 began, Hitz FM's Summer 93/94 broadcast started to really take off. There were articles in the Herald ...
Read More

Count ’em down – the Hitz FM Broadcast 17 Top 60

Early in the year 2000, we were all relieved. The world had survived Y2K. And in February, Hitz FM broadcast ...
Read More

Today’s Time Travel Simulcast: January 28th 1995

Forget the DeLorean. Don't try to build your own time machine. I'm transporting you back 27 years RIGHT NOW - ...
Read More

Welcome to GabeMcGrath.com

Gabe’s a writer who works in radio. Gabe’s worked as a freelancer for magazines, newspapers and websites. And now he’s both blogging – and writing a memoir – about Hitz FM Melbourne.

Gabe was there at the beginning – in 1992 when Hitz FM first said ‘NO’ to classic rock, and burst onto the airwaves using borrowed gear and two small rooms in a highschool. He was there in 93/94 when this youth radio station became the ‘feel good’ story of Summer. And he was there in the mid 90s, when the station went from strength to strength, releasing its own CDs, starting its own TV show and training hundreds of volunteers in media and promotions.

Hitz FM Melbourne – the impact

When this ‘little station that could’ began, Melbourne’s two most popular FM radio stations we’re fighting it out over who could play the most classic rock. A third station was playing ballads (hello Michael Bolton) and a 4th was playing oldies.

Halfway through the station’s Summer 93/94 broadcast, one of the classic rock stations had started playing East 17 and Tevin Campbell. The other one crashed to 4th place in the ratings when young listeners found another option. And the “ballad” station was playing Robin S and M People.

Songs started appearing in the charts. Songs that were only played on Hitz FM. The announcers and guests were mobbed at live appearances. The volunteer-powered radio station appeared in every Melbourne TV news bulletin and newspaper.

Hitz FM Melbourne – the legacy

Although the station was ultimately unsuccessful in its application to the Australian government’s broadcast body – its name, achievements and impacts live on. Many Hitz alumni have moved on to great success in the media and other fields. Hundreds of volunteers have used the skills and experience they gained.

You can easily trace big changes in Melbourne radio formats back to the youth station and its music playlist. These changes eventually rippled elsewhere around Australia.

But most of all, for a generation of Melbournians, the name “Hitz FM” will trigger a massive grin. And for that, every sleepless night was worth it.