Read all about it: The Hitlist

Over 9 years, the Hitz FM newsletter The Hitlist evolved from a single black & white page to a 24 page full colour magazine. From a single writer/editor (Anton Vanderlely) to 10 volunteers, headed by editor Tracey Wooding.

But how did The Hitlist begin? How did it develop? What sort of cool content did it feature over the years?

Humble beginnings

The first couple of Hitlists were published in late 1992, consisting of just a couple of photocopied A4 sheets of paper. Each one featured music reviews, volunteer information, upcoming events and the Top 20 Requests from the most recent broadcast. Lots of good information, but no graphics or photos.

It wasn’t until July 1993 that The Hitlist took a giant step forward. Cartoonist Bruce Mutard was recruited to do the front covers. He did another six covers over the next 18 months, and I do hope to catch up with Bruce soon to give you a glimpse into his creative process.

Some of the Bruce Mutard covers for The Hitlist

Getting graphic

While Bruce Mutard was adding some extra interest to the covers, the interior of The Hitlist became more and more entertaining as the months and years rolled on. The first photos appeared in August 93. We added announcer profiles, club night reviews and even a crossword in April 94.

Over the years, The Hitlist covered all the newsworthy events from Hitz FM’s life. From the first CD released by the station (March 1995) to celebrities visiting the station (many issues). From Hitz’s first ever “webpage” (explaining what the internet is – is actually quite difficult!) to movie reviews, competitions and far too many dance parties ‘n’ nightclub events.

A splash of colour in The Hitlist

For the first 7 years, The Hitlist got bigger, more professional and ever more packed with photos and interesting reading. Then in May 1999 it was time for a change. The Hitz FM members mag became “Hitz Mag” – a large A4 coloured publication.

Yes, selected pages of the Hitz Mag were in full colour for the first time. The very first edition in May 99 (appearing below) captures the era with adverts for Britney’s first ever single, music reviews galore and a full-colour centre spread of the Hitz FM crew in action. You can flick through the entire edition below

Then a final transformation

The Hitz Mag continued for a couple more issues before changing again into the Hitz Minimag in early 2000. It was half the size (A5) but with many more pages.

The Hitz Minimags continued until the station wrapped up operations in 2001. By the time of the 4th edition (seen below) there was a lot more colour in each release. Features included celebrity interviews, music reviews, website features and full colour photos of the volunteers in action.

The Hitlist hunt continues!

These publications gave young people a chance to showcase their skills and develop them further. Just like the radio station itself, along with other Hitz productions such as community TV shows, CD releases and dance parties.

Right now (October 2021) I believe we’ve obtained and scanned just over 75% of the Hitz FM newsletter library.

We’re on the hunt for the following issues:

  • Issue 6 (Beverly Hills 90210 cover)
  • Issue 23 (approx June 1998)
  • Issues 24 & 25 (approx Sept/Nov 1998)
  • Hitz Mag 2 (approx Sept 1999)
  • The Hitz Mini Mag 2 (approx Aug 2000)
  • The Hitz Mini Mag 3 (approx Sep 2000)

If you (or you suspect, a friend) might have any of these old newsletters in an old shoebox somewhere – please contact me!

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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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