Today marks the 20th Anniversary of one of radio’s most successful teams of all time.
“That show was massive amount of fun, but always seemed to be about to come off the rails. There was lot of mad scrambling in between those songs by Roachford and Ace of Base. The listeners carried us along, and of course, Pete Smith and Paul Hester was always around to pick up the slack”’, Tony Martin told Radio Today.
Just over twenty years ago Jeff Allis (Austereo’s former Group PD) and I sat around on bean bags, talking about the idea of a national drive show with Tony Martin and Mick Molloy.
That conversation was to be the start of Martin Molloy, which ran from 1995 to 1998.
The idea that a Drive show could work was actually Greg Smiths (another former Austereo Group PD). I had only ever heard of it on WPLJ with Scott (Shannon) and Todd in New York. The concept being, putting a breakfast show in drive!
Selling the Martin Molloy show to the Austereo/Village Roadshow Board wasn’t easy at the time. I recall getting great support though from John Kirby and Peter Harvie.
I thought the show would work because Tony and Mick had a great profile and following from their work on The Late Show on TV, and also they had a huge following after a successful national live stand up tour.
I had worked with them earlier at Triple M Melbourne, they were on breakfast as part of the D Generation, so they had experience and knew the craft of putting together a radio show well.
And I knew Tony had a reputation as an extremely hard working perfectionist. That he would do whatever it took to make sure it worked. Also, they seemed like such a great balance with each other, the odd couple in some ways; the perfect combo .
After Tony and Mick were hired it became apparent that there was no office space for them. So we hastily organised a workers shed to be lifted, by crane, up to FOX FM’s third floor rooftop in St Kilda Road.
Martin Molloy’s radio show became famous for its irreverent, cutting, sharp humour and it was also known for its brilliant detailed production work, which was handled by Radio Todays Scott Muller and Daryl Missen.
Other members of the Martin Molloy team included Peter Grace, Pete Smith, Paul Hester, Sancia Robinson, Emma Moss, Steve Woods and Vicki Marr.
The show ran for 4 years and was networked to more than 50 stations nationally, achieving record ratings. The show featured famous segments like Radio Gladiators, Please Explain, Tum and Phil and Shoot The Celebrity in the Arse.
Martin Molloy was and still is considered the first and original national drive show, of which there are of course many around today. It truly was ground breaking radio. Martin Molloy also paved the way for a lot of great radio talent both on air and off air.
Kaizen Media’s Dan Bradley observed: “Martin Molloy were the first ‘talk’ show on FM drive, and it was completely revolutionary, so much so that as weird as it seems in hindsight, it was regarded as a risky move by many. These days of course multi-personality based FM Drive shows are the norm, but Martin Molloy were the first”
Congratulations to Tony and Mick and everyone else involved in this truly innovative, show.
Brad March is a Director of Radio Today and a former Group Program Director and CEO of Austereo. He is Director of Marchmedia.