Gabe McGrath - Hitz FM blogger and memoir writer

Latest blog posts

Cover art - Hitz FM CD 'Ampfarm' showing a rendered Ant growing loudspeakers on a farm

A 90s Dance Music CD you could WATCH: HitzFour Ampfarm

It was September 2000, when Hitz Melbourne released one of their final compilation CDs - HitzFour Ampfarm. Like most CDs ...
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Clips from the GabeMcGrath website promo going into a cassette in a magical lit-up box

Save it Stream it: The Hitz FM Melbourne tape drive

It was 30 years ago - this week - that Hitz FM Melbourne came into being. And from 1992 to ...
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Collage of videoclips from popular songs in September 1997

Launching today in ’97 – Hitz Melbourne’s 12th broadcast

Hitz Melbourne's 12th broadcast begam on this very day, in 1997. It was a broadcast that had both massive changes, ...
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Going for gold in 2000: Hitz Melbourne’s 18th Broadcast

In September 2000, Hitz Melbourne's 18th Broadcast began. We were smashing out tracks like Lady (Modjo), Embrace the Sunshine (Quench) ...
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collection of header images from GabeMcGrath.com

9 unforgettable moments in TWO YEARS of Hitz FM blogging

It's my blog's anniversary today. Normally, after 2 years of Hitz FM blogging, you'd expect a list of favourite stories ...
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Collage of CD covers from Winter 1999

Stream: The first 2 hours of Hitz Melbourne Broadcast 16

July 26, 1999. Humberto 'Humpy' Texeria opened Hitz Melbourne Broadcast 16 at 9am with Hey Boy, Hey Girl by The ...
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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.