Farewell to the grand old dame of Sydney Radio, 2CH

Reporter

“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.”

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Recent comments (21)
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Hkn
10 Jun 2022 - 1:03 pm

Wow… SEN must hate classic hits…Brisbane and now Sydney….

Paul Ramsden
10 Jun 2022 - 2:43 pm

It is a very sad day. The AWA days in their day were not only successful but was the first station in Australia to take the blindfold off Radio and repositioned a radio station for a specific (very unsexy) 40+ market.

Chris Brammall, Joe Oost, Gary Collins, Dmac, Poolie, John Harris, Lennie London “did you happen to listen to that last newsread…” Howard Craven, the original 40+ stud, Chris Joscelyne, Pete Webster, Dee Story etc etc There are many more … anybody wants to add more? Who could forget the hidden fridge in Brammall’s office?

These people were pioneers who in their way changed Radio forever.

If you could put a heritage layer over Radio Stations 2CH would be my very first. In every respect, this whole situation is wrong … very wrong! Vale 2CH

JASON
10 Jun 2022 - 5:10 pm

I HOPE TM WEBSTER AND OTHER 2CH TALENT GET SIGNED BY 2UE ASAP

Peter
10 Jun 2022 - 11:43 pm

Does this mean 2SM is now the grand old dame of Sydney radio? Coincidentally also owned by a church originally. Still a fan of it from the mid 1970’s.

Rhonda
11 Jun 2022 - 10:48 am

What a sad day!! 2CH, her music, her presenters, brought so much joy, warmth and such a strong feeling of being connected to world for so many people who couldn’t get about as freely as they used to. The joy 2Ch brought wasn’t confined to “the older generation” either. Many of my younger friends loved listening to the gentler, mor meaningful music that was so relaxing! The presenters will always be remembered for their respectful humour, gently delivered thoughts and opinions and the compassion they exuded for all of their listeners. Vale 2CH.

Dave
11 Jun 2022 - 7:47 pm

Grand ole dame ? Don’t forget 2UE !!

JASON
12 Jun 2022 - 6:38 am

SO 2UE MUST BE THE GODFATHER OIF SYDHYE RADIO BEING AROUND FPOR LONGER THAN 2SM IS AND 2CH WERE

JASON
12 Jun 2022 - 4:36 pm

SYDNEY ON FRIDAT WENT FIRST FIRST VIA SEN BUYING 2CH NEXT WILL BE BRISBANE NOW SEN HAS BOUGHT 4KQ

Trudy Lincoln
12 Jun 2022 - 4:58 pm

How awfully sad. 2CH was the only AM radio station that I would listen to. My parents loved 2CH and it was through them that I would listen to it. Since I lost my mum last year I must admit I found it far to hard emotionally to listen to 2CH. I was also very fortunate when John Burgess was on, to have won an amazing cruise on the Pacific Sky. Thank you for the many years of wonderful music, you will be dearly missed.

Dennis
13 Jun 2022 - 9:51 am

So sad, loved this music/station and listened every day. Will miss it.

Joseph
14 Jun 2022 - 1:17 pm

Very sad day for a great station.
Always enjoyed listening.
Joseph from Marsden Park.

Rick Holmes
14 Jun 2022 - 6:04 pm

Grief is not the word.
I’ve been out of town for 3 days and come back today to blank silence on my usual cheer me up station.
Thank you to all, Tim Webster and the rest. You’ve filled my recent years with a lot of happy memories as I remember the 60’s and onward. I could almost smell the past the music was so real.
Its a pity you can’t find another platform. Maybe a podcast. But the essence of 2ch was unique and will be bitterly missed by me.

PS
15 Jun 2022 - 11:35 am

It’s so sad to see 2CH disappear after 90 years and will miss Tim in the morning.
If you’re looking for an oldies fix, I have just discovered Vintage FM which is on 88.7FM. I’ve been listening for the past day or so and is a great alternative. Not sure of the reach, but comes in well in the outer south west of Sydney.

All 60’s and 70’s music and they play a lot of songs from the 60’s Australian rockers that I haven’t heard for years like JOK, Lonnie Lee, Little Pattie, Frank Ifield, Normie Rowe and Johnny Young. I highly recommend giving these guys a listen. They also promote themselves broadcasting online through the i heart radio app.

Linda Clarke
15 Jun 2022 - 4:37 pm

How sad, where do we tune to get those songs of an older era?. I work in a Rehab hospital, older generations come to the Gym, 2ch on which helped them get through the exercises and the pain. So nice to hear them sing along. Shame that it’s all sports and money .

    Editor
    16 Jun 2022 - 8:36 am

    Linda – Try 2UE, on either DAB+ or AM, it has changed to a similar music format.

Debra Elaine Smith
16 Jun 2022 - 8:01 am

Disgustung why stop a station that was popular. Very disappointing. Bring it back. Or sell to someone that will continue it

Peter
18 Jun 2022 - 10:46 pm

Wow – I just jumped online tonight to listen, only to find the station gone.

I’ve been listening for 50 years, save for my teen years. From listening to 2CH on my grandfather’s old transistor radio back in the early 70’s to enjoying it online in my now home of Hong Kong, this station has been a haven.

A very sad day indeed.

Toni Woodward
19 Jun 2022 - 1:23 pm

Such a sad day for all TRUE MUSIC LOVERS out there – CH gone and now KQ – so what is left do i ask?? Yes, I guess a lot of us oldies may have our favorite music on our phones these days and have ear pods like I do (and I am 75 years old) but I DO LOVE MY MUSIC – however when in the car, especially on longer trips – I prefer the ‘old days’ and a good old singalong to a darned good RADIO STATION and that’s exactly what CH and WS provided – even my kids and grandkids grew up with JUKEBOX SATURDAY NIGHT blaring in my house and LOVED IT and sang along! Isn’t there enough SPORT on TV? Like my hubby, I enjoy all sports too – but dedicated 24/4 RADIO – NO THANK YOU – I for one will be turning OFF – Bad decision, Bad choices – and so sad for all the dedicated employees who have entertained us and given TOP RATINGS over so many years – THANK YOU FOR THE MEMORIES one and ALL.

Col Hinton
23 Jun 2022 - 7:18 pm

Is Tim Webster moving to a new station. I hope to follow, Blackban on SEN

Peter Astridge
25 Jun 2022 - 8:24 pm

To close down the great music section of your station 2CH is an absolutely disgusting move and turning it into another racing Chanel on DAB is a shame on radio 2ch and a dumb stupid decision by your directors. What on earth are you doing…??? Everyone listens to your music you produced as it cannot be duplicated by any other station. You should have been proud of yourselves. You don’t understand you have saved many lives in hospitals and nursing homes and just plain enthusiasts who just loved what you had produced and enjoyed it for many years. Your music and style cannot be reproduced by any other station and you were unique in a style of entertainment that nobody has mastered and now you have destroyed the only thing that meant something to your listeners and your fans. You need to have a very sincere look at yourselves and come back at what you were doing but first clean out your board room of those who made this dumb decision and take a good look at yourselves.

Jenn Bussanich Hudson
29 Jun 2022 - 10:54 am

I’ve only now come across this article – and as a former programmer at 2CH and programmed lots of 9 O’clock specials – reading these posts I was flung backwards into memories – yes Paul Ramsden – I remember the hidden fridge in Chris Brammall’s office, the nail-biting days of “the book” coming out – and much much more….I was extremely grateful to have such fun working alongside Gary Collins, Sonja Chalmers, Barry Spicer, Dee Story, Tony Featherstone, Anne Brown, Howard Craven, Len London, and many more, they remain some of the happiest times of my working life. I am sorry to see the end of the Name – but the working days there were for me, the magic.

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