Hot FM Mildura founder Max Thorburn has passed away

Staff Writer

Max Thorburn has passed at age 72 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Thorburn was not only the founder of Mildura community radio station Hot FM, but also the Mildura Country Music Festival.

In addition, he served on the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s Community Radio Network Advisory Committee.

CRN manager Martin Walters called him “a great supporter of community radio, in particular initiatives that served country music audiences.”

A passionate believer in community radio’s role as an independent voice of the people, Thorburn was always a maverick.

Starting his media career at the age of 13 writing football reviews, Thorburn tried to set up a new radio station in 1982 in opposition to the established local empire.

The powers-that-be clamped down on him, so he broadcast illegally for 77 days – which led to a court appearance and a fine of $1.

He got a permanent licence ten years later.

The Australian Country Music Broadcasters, which inducted him into its Hall of Fame, hailed him as “a country music legend”.

Thorburn was to celebrate his 10-year anniversary serving as a Mildura councillor next month, and in September was awarded a life membership of the Sunraysia Football and Netball League for his support for local sport.

His daughter Cassandra, ex-wife of TV’s Karl Stefanovic, recalled:  “My dad taught me to accept life is full of imperfect people, including ourselves and to approach each day as an opportunity to do better.

“If you hurt someone be man enough to admit it and make amends. True gifts.”

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Ex 3MA
22 Oct 2018 - 7:22 pm

May his soul rest in peace.

Susan Pope
10 Dec 2018 - 7:20 pm

Oh wow! Just saw this – my cousin Max passed away days before we travelled through Mildura in our motorhome! Fond memories of Healesville days & early morning home radio broadcasting then 3GL in Geelong then 3CS Colac. At rest with his Mum – Aunty Iris & Uncle Aussie! RIP Max. Sue Pope & (my Mum Dulcie Mulder nee Austin.)


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