Huggy clocks up 32 years at Gold 104.3


No matter what the job, working more than three decades for one employer is an impressive milestone in anyone’s book.

But when you’re a radio announcer, it’s an extraordinary feat.

This month, Craig ‘Huggy’ Huggins celebrates 32 years on air at Melbourne’s Gold 104.3.

After starting out at 3XY at the age of just 16, Huggy landed at Gold HQ in Victoria Street, Carlton on May 6, 1991 – and has never looked back.

When he first started there, the station was called KZ FM and its demographic was 18 to 30.

Huggy tells Radio Today “About 4 weeks into that, we were doing ‘Good Time Oldies’ weekends, and then we changed the station’s name a month or so afterwards.”

The original Gold104.3 line-up was:

Breakfast: Shawn Cosgrove & Liz Sullivan

Mornings: Gavin Wood

Drive: Craig Huggins

Early Nights: Peter Byrne

Late Nights: Phil Baildon

Floater: Peter McInnes.

Times – and shifts – were certainly different back then.

“We had three mid-dawners!” Huggy remembers.

“We were playing records and cartridges, recording interviews on tape and editing them with razor blades and sticky tape.”

Huggy says it was an exhilarating time.

In its early days, Gold’s music format showcased songs of the 60s and 70s.

The Beatles were a staple almost every hour.”

Huggy says that over the years, Gold’s playlist has grown along with its audience.

“People love music they were listening to when they were around 15-18 years old. As those 15 year olds have moved into our demo, so has the music.”

“Now we play almost no 60s songs, very few 70s, but are heavy on the 80s, 90s and up to about 2015.”

Huggy says his three decades at Gold have given him a huge appreciation for the history of music.

“When we started, I was playing songs I didn’t know, then songs I’d grown up with, then songs I’d played as current hits. Now (I’m playing) songs I’ve never played on radio, so they are fresh to me.”

As well as a shift in technology over the years, there was a shift in location.

Today, Gold broadcasts from what was formerly the Pelaco shirt factory in Goodwood Street, Richmond.

So what has kept Huggy at Gold for 32 years?

“I’ve had many opportunities to go elsewhere, but I genuinely love Gold 104.3 and always have,” he says.

“When people have left, they’ve always been replaced with great fun and talented new people. Everyone brings new ideas that I continually learn from.”

Another thing that’s changed over the decades is Huggy’s on-air style.

“I’m always trying to sound contemporary but at the same time, I don’t hide that my audience has grown up with me.”

“I know it’s a cliche, but I still love doing it. My job is everyone else’s leisure activity. I play ‘records’ for a living.”

Huggy says there have been many highlights along the journey, from hosting huge concerts to giving away houses – things he will never take for granted.

“I’ve obviously played many of our songs for years and challenge myself to find new ways of selling them or new things about them.”

He says it’s easy to identify with his listeners because he’s just like them.

“I’m a regular Joe with a family, I’m Vice President of my local footy club, and one of my jobs is mopping out the changerooms.”

“My boss Sue Carter is encouraging when it comes to telling my stories because they are recognisable to my listeners.”

“I guess I enjoy the challenge of being a jock on a station that doesn’t play new music, making us sound contemporary and being at one with the audience.”

“I am genuinely one of those guys that truly just loves his job, and a lot of that is down to the young people I work with making me feel like one of them.”

Whilst Gold’s continued ratings success is cause for job satisfaction, for Huggy, it’s all about the people:

“I don’t mean the ‘stars’ I’ve met, but the people I work with every day,” he says.

“I’ve never seen my role as being any more important than anyone else’s.”

“At the end of the day we’re a team. One stick is breakable, but tie a bundle together and they’re unbreakable.”

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Made Atmaja
10 May 2023 - 7:28 pm

Cheers for the great music and stories Huggy,hopefully,we bump into one another in Bali over Bintang on our holiday one day
Keep up the great work and it’s been a pleasure listening to you on the radio.

Josh Olek
11 May 2023 - 10:25 am

One of the greats of the aussie industry! That’s a huge innings Huggie and you should be immensely proud 🙂

11 May 2023 - 5:21 pm

I absolutely love Huggy from when I lived in Melbourne. Congratulations, and a huge thank you for sharing the 32 years with us Melbournians!

Gary Milburn
11 May 2023 - 6:00 pm

Congratulations Craig! That’s a huge effort!

Dorothy Milburn
13 May 2023 - 12:32 pm

Congratulations Craig! How well I remember two very proud parents when you were 16 and just starting what has been a fabulous career.
Dorothy Milburn


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