Farewell to the grand old dame of Sydney Radio, 2CH
“It’s the end of an era that’s unlikely to be replicated again.”
As the curtain comes down today on the station that has faithfully served the Sydney radio market for more than 90 years, former 2CH General Manager Cherie Romaro tells Radio Today it leaves behind a unique legacy:
“I am sure like thousands of listeners, past employees and owners of 2CH, I feel a sense of loss. 90 years of heritage will disappear from the airwaves, but like any business, you must be a commercial success and without the revenue you cannot survive.”
In decades past, the New South Wales Council of Churches held the licence, hence the CH in the call sign. Now – as the station prepares to switch off for good at 6pm today – Cherie feels proud to have been a part of its history.
“I am particularly sad for the wonderful team who worked so hard to try and make it work after being acquired by SEN, but it was not their core business and it needed to deliver results and it was almost an impossible task after being relocated to DAB+.”
Cherie looks back fondly at her time at 2CH.
“It sounds like a cliché, but there were so many highlights, the first was being appointed as General Manager by John Williams from EON Broadcasting and entrusted to lead and create a format embracing the incredible heritage that was 2CH, and to retain their loyal listeners and attract new listeners.”
“Classic Hits was born and within a less than 18 months rated 5% in Sydney – a music station on the AM band, validation that the listeners loved Classic Hits.”
She says commercially it was much more of a challenge to be able to deliver the revenue to support a successful business.
“2CH was so unique, she had to be treated with respect, retain her history, and be respectful of its loyal listeners.”
“Classic Hits 2CH was created and a very special team was assembled. The on-air presenters, led by Tim Webster, Trevor Sinclair, the late Chris Kearns, Rob Duckworth, Ian Rogerson and the legendary Bob Rogers, were all chosen for their brilliance as communicators.”
“The heartbeat engine room was led by Matt Pardy, Gary King and Cinnamon Clark, and Eddie Hribar, our Music Director. Working with this team was an absolute privilege.”
“One of the surprises and a definite highlight for me, was meeting and working with the wonderful team at our sister stations SEAFM and MIX on the Sunshine Coast.”
“I was one of the lucky ones to experience a time at 2CH which will remain in my heart forever thanks to the incredible team and great, unique radio created.”
Trevor Sinclair says for many radio listeners, Friday, June 10th 2022 will be remembered as the day the music died.
He tells Radio Today “The station has been in a hospice since it was relegated to its DAB+ platform only back in late 2020.”
Considered the grand old dame of Sydney radio, Trevor says 2CH had a personal connection with its listeners.
“When its demise was announced, I started thinking of some of the legendary names of radio that have broadcast on 2CH: Howard Craven, Max Rowley, Len London, Tony Featherstone, Barry Spicer, John Poole, Tim Webster and the legend of all legends, Bob Rogers.”
Trevor was invited to join 2CH as Drive Show host in late 2009, when the when the station moved to a Greatest Memories format.
“I did that show for some 3 years. My own greatest memory of that time was chatting with Bob Rogers, a man whom I got to know and respected.”
“I returned briefly for a restructure during the 2CH ‘Happy Days Radio’ format, which is one of the weirdest times of my career, along with Magic 11. The format was strange and did not last long, nor did I.”
“It then flipped to the networked Magic format under that Macquarie Radio Network that was programmed out of Melbourne for Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.”
“At that time I felt that the format, and those presenting it, was like owning a dog and only giving it a bowl of water to live on – DISASTROUS.”
Trevor returned to the station in 2017. He broadcast his final show on the AM band from Midday-7pm on October 22nd, 2020
“Memories? Great people with a passion for Radio. Bob Rogers and his producer Gary King were some of the finest people you could know. Matt Pardy, the most extraordinary Operations Manager who was the ‘engine room’ and nailed the job every time. And Cherie Romaro who said, ‘Hey, why don’t we just say 2-C-H means CLASSIC HITS?’”
Former 2GB producer Nicky Elliott says listening to 2CH made her early morning starts easier.
Rather than setting her alarm to jolt her into life, she had her clock radio set to 2CH.
“It was a gentle way to wake up,” she tells Radio Today.
“I would lie there for ten or fifteen minutes in the dark just easing into the day, listening to Anita Savage’s beautiful voice doing news, a couple of tunes, some Michael Jeffreys whimsy.”
“I was in my twenties, so not the demographic, but I liked it and looked forward to it.”
Given the level of loyalty among listeners, veteran Breakfast host Tim Webster expects an outpouring of something akin to grief today.
“They loved the station. It’s like losing a family member.”