The final hour of Hitz FM

It was Melbourne Cup Day – this week in 2001. The day we heard the final hour of Hitz FM.

Not that the Hitz crew – or their listeners – were particularly interested in horseracing. But for such an important part of Melbourne culture in the 90s, its probably fitting for one of the station’s anniversaries to coincide with a public holiday.

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Out with a bang: Hitz’s 9th Broadcast wraps up

It was this week, back in 1996 when Hitz’s 9th broadcast wraps up. Songs like On the Bible (Deuce), Passion (A-Man), Born Slippy (Underworld) and Keep Pushin’ (Boris Dlugosh) battled it out for the end of broadcast countdown.

And a LOT had happened since the broadcast began on September 14.

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STREAM: The FINAL Weekend Siesta Dance Classics

Just like today, it was the second Sunday in October, back in 1997. Time for Paul Dowsley’s Weekend Siesta – the Dance Classics edition. For a couple of years it had been one of Hitz FM’s most well-loved programs. But this week in 1997, was its final one. Paul was about to hit 25 – and Hitz FM’s famous age ceiling for presenters was non-negotiable.

Before I jump into the streaming audio, a quick look at Paul’s wonderful career at Hitz might be in order…

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Today: OJ’s defence finished and Hitz broadcast 6 began

September 22. Not today – I mean September 22 in 1995. When the defence team for the OJ Simpson case was just wrapping up. When the real life battles of the film “Black Hawk Down” were happening in Somalia. And Hitz FM returned for Hitz Broadcast 6.

All morning, a recording of “test tone” (a long ‘beep’) played onair, with the occasional announcement by Adele Cookson – asking for listener requests and sponsorship enquiries.

And most excitingly, I’ve found a recording.

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On this day: Hitz FM’s 9th Broadcast blasts into life

September 1996. Some of us were watching the first ever series of Friends on TV. At the movies it was all about Independance Day and The Nutty Professor. And on the radio, it was the first day of Hitz FM’s 9th Broadcast.

We were smashing Inspiration (Strike), Wannabe (Spicegirls), Macarena (Los Del Rio), Ready or Not (The Fugees), Professional Widow (Tori Amos) and a tonne of other great tracks.

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LISTEN: 2 hours of chaos – Hitz’s 2nd broadcast ends

July 18, 1993. 28 years ago – TONIGHT! After two fun-filled weeks, Hitz’s 2nd broadcast ends. The station had yet again managed to stay onair 24 hours a day using voluntters and borrowed equipment. And I’ve got 120 minutes of audio to share with you.

Looking back… compared to Hitz FM’s first broadcast – we’d made some great improvements.

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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.

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Looking back: Hitz FM broadcast 8

June/July 1996 – the time of Hitz FM broadcast 8.

On TV.. fans of hot men and women in uniform had a choice of new shows… Jag or Water Rats. Comedy fans were loving Good News Week on the ABC and 3rd Rock from the Sun on Seven.

In the cinemas we were spotting flying cows in Twister, watching Tom take on Mission Impossible, laughing at The Cable Guy and going Trainspotting.

Meanwhile, on 89.9 – the Hitz returned.

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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…

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When Hitz Supersized McHappy Day

Over the years, I did a few McHappy Days in community radio. In 1992, the ECB FM team helped out at Nunawading McDonald’s with Greg Evans (Perfect Match) and Ian McFadyen (Comedy Company). Many of ECB’s Night Crew (under 25s) went on to participate in Hitz FM. So it wasn’t a big surprise, when Hitz did a bit of McHappying of our own.

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