Thumbs up to two legends: Thankyou Anton and Nick

This week marks a special anniversary for the Hitz team. It’s the week Anton Vanderlely and Nick Karlas won a Tattersall’s ‘Enterprise and Achievement’ award for their groundbreaking idea of creating a youth radio station in Melbourne.

And this time… “that’s enough from me”.

I’m handing this post over to other members of the Hitz crew. They’re all very grateful to Anton and Nick, for creating that ‘Sliding Doors’ moment when their lives changed…

Dear Anton and Nick.

What can I say… thank you thank you and thank you.

Anton – I still remember our first meeting at the pancake parlour at Chadstone shopping centre to talk about a youth station that would play “nothing but the Hitz” as all the other stations were playing classic rock.

I was working at clubs and community radio during that time and your passion and drive was amazing.

It was great to be a part of something special and something that changed the radio landscape and certainly set me up for my career in radio.

Simon Diaz – Hitz FM announcer 1992-93

Dear Anton & Nick,

Who would have thought a radio station could change lives? But that’s exactly what Hitz FM did for so many of us.

Nick, you were the first Hitz person I met and you were so friendly and welcoming. I had zero experience in radio, but it didn’t matter and I realised very quickly that was the point. Very few of us had any experience, but by the end of our time at Hitz we had developed a wide range of skills and experience, and had fun doing it!

Anton, I met you a few times over the years, most notably the day you received that Tattersalls Award!

Anton and Nick, you created something so amazing for young people in Melbourne, for both listeners and volunteers of the station, and your creation inspired similar stations all over Australia. That’s something to be proud of. For me personally, some of my closest friends are from my Hitz days. That time in my life has helped shape who I am today. I still dabble in community radio from time to time, but now I bring my kids along for the ride!

Anton and Nick, thanks for starting Hitz FM and giving me life long skills, experience and friends!

Oh, and I met my husband at Hitz, so there’s that!

Tracey Szymanski – Hitz FM Treasurer, Hitlist Editor and Announcer 1995-2001

Dear Anton & Nick,

Thank you for starting Hitz. It provided me with my first radio gig and it was great fun (mid-dawns 1994/95). I still work in radio to this day, although it’s in sports broadcasting rather than cueing music CDs!
Brilliant memories.

Adam Crettenden – Hitz announcer 1994-5

Dear Anton and Nick,

Thank you for starting Hitz FM because it was the beginning of an adventure that I am still on 25 years later!

Life long friendships, learnings and stories that I am privileged to have today came from a truly magic moment that the two of you created!

Be proud gents.

Rod Cuddihy – Hitz FM announcer 1994-7

Dear Anton and Nick,

Thank you so much for starting Hitz FM almost 30 years ago!

I am glad to say that Hitz’s legacy has already reached the next generation of young music fans. I wasn’t around to witness the magic happen, but I’ve been researching and listening to a lot of 90s dance music and old Hitz recordings for a few years now. My parents used to record shows off the station onto tapes and they eventually made their way into my hands, where my ears were opened up to a whole new world!

I hope this small token of appreciation and gratitude will go noticed, and to let you know that there are still people out there who are thinking of Hitz FM.

From a very grateful young music lover,
Matthew Robottom, age 16

Dear Anton and Nick,

A massive thank you for having the guts to have a go and start Hitz FM!! I don’t think anyone had any idea of how this small youth station would become such a huge thing in Melbourne. You guys had the commercial stations scrambling to catch up.

I got involved through a good friend Glenn as we DJed together and he encouraged me to try. I had a very small on air gig- the lunchtime hour even though I had absolutely no experience and was so nervous! But it was you two – and others – who encouraged me and made think I could do this radio presenting.

Anton and Nick you both gave me so much! Self confidence, self esteem, empathy, kindness, so many people skills. Things I still use to this day! Thank you both for difference it made to the youth of Melbourne. Just know I had some of the best memories of entire life at Hitz FM and you guys were a massive part of that.

Matt Clement – Hitz announcer and volunteer 1993-95

Wow, Anton and Nick,

Who knew you would start something so special that has led to so many long term friendships, so many careers in radio and so many good stories. Thank you both.

Nick, I want to really thank you for your tireless efforts to ensure as many young people were included and involved. The countless hours you spent driving people around, the meetings you had around the city to encourage interest and involvement, your boundless enthusiasm for any task that needed doing and your willingness to do whatever it took.

Thank you both for giving us all such a wonderful opportunity.

Myf Trant (Webster) – Hitz FM treasurer, volunteer co-ordinator, founding committee member 1992-95

Dear Anton and Nick,

Thank you for starting Hitz FM because being a volunteer for the 93/94 broadcast was a great experience for me. I got to meet some great people and really enjoyed being part of that team and helping the community.

I will always look back fondly at that time.

Jeremy Friedman – Hitz FM promotions volunteer 1993-94

Dear Anton and Nick.

Thanks so much for being both brave and innovative. What you did still to this day had a massive impact on Melbourne radio.

Nick thank you for really taking me under your wing when I started at Hitz and being an amazing mentor.

Mikey Dynon – Hitz promotions volunteer 1997-99

Dear Nick and Anton,

I spent time with Hitz, though not very long. Hitz bolstered momentum for many other aspiring stations keen to test their value. That included stations across Australia. Wild in Sydney most notable. Youth stations in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Adelaide, somewhat similar to Hitz in format and culture, did obtain full-time licences.

I agree with others who have engaged with the Hitz Facebook page – it’s all a reminder of something of value that is missed.

Justin Christie – Hitz FM volunteer 1993-1994

Hey Anton & Nick,

What a crazy idea! A bunch of kids running a radio station.

How? Where? Why?
It turns out that your crazy idea changed lives. Lots of lives. And changed Melbourne’s music scene and radio industry…forever.

Thank you for your crazy idea.

Andrew Gyopar – Hitz FM president (94-2001), announcer, volunteer (92-94)

Dear Anton and Nick,

Thankyou for starting Hitz because you quite literally changed my life.

You took a chance and gave me, an unknown and unsigned artist airplay. Then you continued to support me which led to being signed, picked up by national radio, magazines and TV, helping me to build the foundations for what I’m still able to do today.

You and the whole team also embraced me as one of you, and it was the first time I really felt accepted as a person in a group. I’ll never forget my HITZ experience and I’ll always be grateful

Thank you,

Peter Wilson – Hitz FM volunteer 1993-95

If you’re a Hitz volunteer who didn’t get their say above, just contact me via this link – and I’ll happily update this page.

How did Anton Vanderlely and Nick Karlas change YOUR life, with their idea?

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Author: Gabe McGrath

Gabe McGrath is a radio creative and freelance writer. He helped set up 89.9 Hitz FM Melbourne in the 90s. This youth radio station caused a sensation and 30 years later many a 90s kid will smile when 'Hitz' is mentioned. Gabe is working on a book about that era and now blogs about Hitz Melbourne. includes tonnes of streaming audio recordings, photos, stories and behind-the-scenes info.

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