Hitz – and 30 years of memories


The 30th anniversary celebrations are in full swing for the crew from groundbreaking youth community station 89.9 Hitz FM.

On December 10, 1993, Hitz FM began blasting across Melbourne, broadcasting for 60 days from an old Department of Housing building in Station Street, Moorabbin.

And – as reflected in the first survey of 1994 – it certainly gave its commercial FM counterparts more than they bargained for.

Writer and blogger Gabe McGrath (pictured above), who was there at the beginning of the Hitz FM adventure, has been writing a memoir about the journey.

In an earlier interview with Radio Today, Gabe explained that radio back then didn’t offer a whole lot of choice for teens.

“It was 1991/1992 Melbourne. Fox and MMM (pre merger) were trying to out-Barnesy each other in a classic rock fight to the death.”

TTFM were at the other end of the musical scale mixing up Celine, Michael Bolton and Mariah, then repeating it the next hour. So the stereotypical male/female 25-39s were getting what they wanted.”

“Under 25s? Not so much. For your younger Radio Today readers this must sound like a parallel universe. Imagine … the early 90s equivalents of Taylor Swift/Sam Smith/Beyonce (let alone more challenging urban/dance tracks) were not on commercial stations during the day. At all. Ever. Just on the night shows.”

“So you had a tonne of under 25s not being targeted.”

While Hitz missed out on securing a full-time licence, its legacy lives on.

Gabe says the anniversary celebrations will continue through until March 12 next year, featuring Hitz FM recordings, home movies and interviews that haven’t been seen for decades.

A huge Spotify playlist of songs has also been made available to mark that unforgettable summer of 93/94.

*Photos courtesy of Gabe McGrath.

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