On this day: Hitz FM’s 2nd broadcast fired off

When Hitz FM’s 2nd broadcast kicked off on July 3rd, 1993 – things were a bit different from the first time around. The music was a bit broader; less rock (sorry Guns n Roses), more pop (hello Sub Sub) and hip hop (hello Informer). The announcers sounded a bit more polished too. But the biggest change was the location.

Hitz FM’s 1st broadcast was held at a government school, John Gardner Secondary College. It was chosen for the location (near public transport) and the cost – free. But this time around, the station was a little further north – in the rather fancy Xavier College in Kew. Picture lots of big old buildings in a slightly Harry Potter style.

Announcers Ty Frost, Adele Cookson and Lisa Kastaniotis.

It was a Friday night at midnight, when Darryl Rae started the broadcast. For the next 2 weeks, as Melbourne schoolkids had their mid-year holidays – there was a new radio station to listen to. And thanks to a recent find, we’ve actually got the first minute of the broadcast to stream.

Allegedly more professional…

This time around, Hitz was a little more professional. We had lunchtime requests – recorded at a different highschool every day. We had new sponsors, including The Commonwealth Bank, Forest Hill Chase and The Australian College of Travel and Hospitality. And recorded broadcasts from nightclubs such as the Nu Hotel in Dandenong.

And we now had TWO phone lines for requests – the “tacky green phone” (call 854 5445) and the “Come Tarino with Me” orange phone (call 854 5450).

Paul Seidel taking listener requests on the famous green phone. Or orange phone.
(Bit hard to tell from a black & white photo)

And the requests rolled in – for two weeks solid. Popular songs include Informer, Killing in the Name, No Limit, Freak Me and Two Princes. Hitz reflected the musical turning point of 1993, as R&B and Hip Hop suddenly jumped in popularity to the expense of hard rock and grunge. And it was all powered by music surveys that Hitz volunteers had spread via youth centres and music shops in the months prior.

Hitz FM music ballots – pic by Darryl Rae

Hitz FM’s 2nd broadcast also saw some of the station’s great announcers join the team. Ty Frost and Adele Cookson. Lisa Kastaniotis. James Ash. People returning from the first broadcast included Paul Seidel, Troy Ellis and James Valentini. As for myself, I was doing the 10pm Saturday show, followed by a new guy, Darryl Rae who did mid-dawns. And this simple programming fact led to something pretty special.

And a partnership was born.

The first time I finished my shift at midnight, I offered to stick around and help Darryl with his first show. Whilst it’s true he’d done the first shift of the broadcast, he wasn’t too confident, so I gave him a hand with the button-pushing. And within a few short minutes – we both discovered we shared an almost identical sense of humour. And for years after that night – we were inseperable onair.

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Hitz FM’s 2nd broadcast continued for another two weeks. And I’ve got a tonne more cool stuff to share with you. Lots more photos, Hitz FM recordings and more. Even some old scripts we recorded. So I’ll put it all up on the anniversary of the broadcast’s final night – July 18th.

See you then!


[*Thanks to Nigel Slater for the sticker photo]

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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. GabeMcGrath.com includes tonnes of streaming audio recordings, photos, stories and behind-the-scenes info.

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