How a Brisbane radio station changed Australian Radio as we know it!
B105 held its 25 Year Reunion Party on the weekend with a star studded past alumni of the who's who of Australian radio making an appearance.
Former Austereo & DMG (now Nova Entertainment) Founder Paul Thompson, Sam Thompson, Brad March, Brian Ford, Rex Morris, Jamie Dunn, Ian Skippen, Donna Lynch, Robin Bailey, Jamie Angel, Paul Davies, David Rymer, Kylie Blucher, Ben Dark, Chris ‘Becko’ Beckhouse, Kieran Atkinson, Jason Staveley, plus over two decades of Black Thunder Pilots, mid dawn announcers who went into bigger things and a swag of support staff who made things tick all descended on the Paddo tavern for what was a great night.
Two amazing speeches set the tone and reminded us of the importance of the little station in Brisbane who toppled the juggernaut FM104 in its first survey.
Paul Thompson shared the never before told story that at the time Austereo was financed to the eyeballs and that if B105 wasn't an instant success it would have jeopardised the entire company and it was as a result of the cash flow provided by B105 that enabled the giant Austereo to grow and influence Australian Radio as we know it.
Brad March spoke of the passion of the staff and the quality people they hired to make radio history. How the B105 morning crew changed the face of Brisbane Radio and how proud he was of the calibre of people who had at some point in their career worked for B105. He made special mention of the great MD and PD Brian Ford who was offered a promotion elsewhere, but stayed on with Brad to finish the job they started.
Brad also spoke of the importance of the 6 Black Thunders that just dominated the city streets and commanded presence wherever they travelled.
Some general conversations overheard amongst the crowd included:
What a star everyone agreed Robin Bailey was, having now earned the number 1 spot in Brisbane Breakfast Ratings on not one, but two stations.
How Jamie Angel, (picture with Brian Ford, Jamie Angel, Elle Angel Mobs & Brad March) is by far the best solo jock this country has ever seen and is still revered today and how cruel it must have been for any competing stations to compete at the time against an in form Jamie Angel and Craig Bruce , both amazing on air talent.
For me, my time at B105 was from 1995-1999, and stories flowed of when the legendary Rock Cafe was rolled and smashed on the Bruce Highway on its way to an OB. It's hard to describe to today's young talent what we experienced on a daily basis. When I was there we rated a 35% share of the city's audience.
Black Thunder drops had over 100 plus listeners/fans 4 times every day. You learnt pretty quick how to control a big crowd and like the biblical feeding of the 5000, how a sticker and smile could go a long way when you ran out of product. (Editor Note: At the time having a fleet of Thunders on the streets was unique and they were the perfect mobile billboard)
Morning Crew breakfast OB's (Pict Jamie, Robyn & Ian) had thousand in attendance each and every week, and bumping into music royalty was the norm, like the time I had the privilege to take John Farnham to a meet and greet with disabled fans, that Human Nature were this young fresh band out of school who'd drop by often and would just sing at any chance they got in the most amazing harmony, and this one day I bumped into this stunning group of sisters in the B105 hallway, being well protected by their creepy brother, who I found out later turned out to be The Corrs.
A truly heady experience in any young career starting out that I still treasure today. The night was great and I question whether any of us truly knew the lifelong impact that little station would go on to have.
As for the tall tales on the night I can't elaborate on, let's just say Brad March has a cracking book in him that should start with the story as to what he was doing in the Whitsundays with a brief case that contained $1 million dollars in cash. I'll let him tell you the rest. Great story Brad, one of Australian Radio’s BBBest.
Liam Renton was part of the on air team who worked alongside Andrew G (osher gunsberg), Campo, Dean Kesby, Stuey Paton and Al Dobie in the late 90's at B105 and is now Breakfast host and PD at 96five Brisbane.
Editor Note: One of my b105 stories: I remember "someone" coming to the back door of the old Bowen Hills Studios. He was darn persistent in pushing the backdoor buzzer. I was in the middle of recording a call, and he just kept pushing it. Seeing him on camera, and still having no idea who it was, I let him in. Next I wandered into kitchen (those who worked there, remember the fridge from hell?) and I saw him and asked "Who are you?" He only had to speak and I knew instantly who it was. The one and only legendary Ray McGregor.
Pict: Ian Skippen, Donna Lynch and Greg Smith
Pict: Richard Barker, Chris Becko Beckhouse and David Rymer
Pcit: Sam Thompson, Ross Turner & Sally Dobson (right)
Pict: Brian Ford, Jamie Angel, Elle Angel Mobs & Brad March
Pict: Jamie Dunn, Robyn Bailey & Ian Skippen
Pict: Paul Thompson