10 Questions with Kevin Hillier
Kevin Hillier’s radio resume is one that many would kill for. It spans 45 years and he’s been a music jock, a talk jock and producer – and just about everything else in between.
Like many, he started very young and landed his first job in 1973 in Queensland. After establishing himself in the Sunshine State, he made the move to Melbourne in 1982 to join 3XY.
He was eventually lured to Fox FM in 1986 to anchor the Morning Crew with Peter ‘Grubby’ Stubbs, Diane ‘Dee Dee’ Dunleavy, Denis O’Kane (now at 3AW) and Ian McFadyen. The line-up also included a young Mick Molloy in his first radio job as a writer/producer.
In 1990, he literally caused headlines by leaving the Fox to join the ‘mortal enemies’ at Triple M, where the breakfast show was known as Kevin Hillier and the D-Generation.
Stints at Gold fm and 3AK followed and when he’s not spending time with his beloved Western Bulldogs, the WRFL, the Werribee Football Club, Kevin can be heard on SEN in Melbourne. Or writing his newspaper columns.
Now married to SCA Melbourne newsreader Sarah Patterson, Hillier answers Radio Today’s 10 Questions.
- What got you started on this radio adventure?
It combined the two things I loved most as a teenager – music and talking. I did the Air TV course run by Ivor Hancock and Jim Illiffe in Brisbane as a 16 year old. My tape got me a job in the Color Radio Network starting at 4LG Longreach in 1973.
- Was there someone who inspired you/captured your imagination?
No one person, but a lot of jocks on air in Brisbane at the time were good to listen to.
- You’ve worked with some amazing talent; can you name a favourite?
Not ‘one’. At Triple M, The D Gen were amazing and have since had a small amount of success (cough, cough). Wayne Roberts and the late John Miller were brilliant in Brisbane, as was Alan McGirvan. I have worked with dozens of exceptional music presenters as well.
- You’ve made the transition from ‘rock jock’ to a sports station presenter, was it a difficult switch?
The kind of breakfast radio I did for the majority of my career was talk based (Kevin Hillier & Friends at 4IP/ Morning Crew at Fox and the D-Gen at Triple M).
All had music but it was secondary to the talk, so that certainly helped.
- You’re filling great swathes of airtime without relying on music to fill, what’s the key?
Passion and homework. I used to do a lot of research in my music days and I do the same now.
I don’t pretend to watch everything or know everything about every sport, but I think I ask the experts the right questions and involve the listener so they can throw their twenty cents’ worth in.
- Best Interview and why?
Of recent times, I loved talking to South African cricketer Barry Richards. He was brilliant.
3XY sent me to Perth to cover the Bowie tour in the mid eighties and while I did not interview Bowie, I did interview Dennis Lillee in my Perth hotel room. He was my boyhood sporting idol so that was good.
I built up a great relationship with John Farnham so we always had a great time before and after Whispering Jack.
- Flip side: most difficult and why?
Must be my boyish good looks and wonderful personality but most have been fine.
I stopped recording one day with Marc Hunter from Dragon because he was being a pain. We were good friends so we sorted that out quickly.
Chrissie Amphlett intimidated me on Rocksat (a nationally syndicated show). I thought she was going to snot me.
- Who’d be your dinner party ‘must haves’?
I guess you mean either the people I have worked with or interviewed and I won’t include any family.
John Farnham – he would have to bring Jill because she is funnier than him and tells the real stories.
Ian Skippen – we played cricket together in Brisbane but we never worked together. One of those people you just pick up from where you left off regardless of how many years that was.
Rob Sitch and Jane Kennedy from the D-Gen/Working Dog group. That breakfast show was pretty special.
Graham Simpson (aka Lester Parsons) – he was a contributor to my morning show on 3XY and still the king of the caustic one liner, his off air ones even better than the on air ones.
Merv Hughes and Doug Hawkins ‘cause we boys from the west stick together.
- Do you still enjoy radio? If so, why?
Yes I do. I really enjoy being on air because it is a constant challenge to relate, entertain, inform and engage a listener. That has not changed in the 40 plus years I have been doing this.
The things I don’t enjoy are not exclusive to radio. I don’t like the politics in any organisation or the false people, the broken promises and lies.
- What advice do you have for anyone getting into the biz?
Just remember it was Marconi who invented radio, not you. You are getting a chance, like me, to play with his invention and we all give it back in the end.
Have fun and remember the three words that have got me into my 45th year – its all bullshit.