Thank you for the music: Will Brisbane give new format a sporting chance?

Reporter

Brisbane radio legend Ian Skippen remembers wild celebrations on the banks of Breakfast Creek.

It’s one of the standout memories of his time at 4KQ, as he tells Radio Today:

“While branded ‘The Best Country in the World’ and programming country music we went to No.1 in Brisbane, knocking over the FM104 Rock in Stereo.”

As the end of an era looms, Skippen looks back fondly on his days hosting 4KQ breakfast:

“I have so many great memories of characters and wordsmiths, old school and uncool broadcasters and communicators.”

He says SEN’s acquisition – and plan to broadcast wall-to-wall sport – is a sad end for what has been a favourite station of Brisbane for decades:

“Sad for the long serving talents on air and behind the scenes. 24/7 sport will see tens of thousands of ears depart.”

Skippen says the platform established around the country by Craig Hutchison now adds a sizeable piece to his jigsaw.

“I wish them well but that format will never attract the numbers of 4KQ. But then they play a different ball game.”

Pete Rudder – drive host of 4KQ in the seventies – describes the station as a modern-day radio success story, and perfect example of a thriving adult music station. In a nutshell: Great music, judiciously placed for maximum local effect and a non-intrusive approach to news and commercial placement.

Rudder tells Radio Today that during his time at 4KQ – when Bill Riner was station PD – he was going through a bit of a hippy stage.

“Here I am on air during the week surrounded by commercialism, and at the weekend I’m running around with beads and cheesecloth.”

“I remember a lot of the stuff I had to do was live reads. One of the reads was the Bex commercial. ‘Take Bex. B-E-X. Bex is better!’”

“I had to do that every fifteen minutes. And here’s me, into naturopathy and whole foods and all that sort of stuff. So I would say ‘If you have back ache, muscular pain or neuralgia, please – go and see a naturopath or a medical practitioner.’”

“That went on for months and months before Dickie Swift (the manager) called me in and said ‘What are you doing??’ He went right off the deep end, as you can imagine.”

Being a self-confessed seventies-style tree hugger, reading ads for chainsaws also didn’t sit well with Pete.

“They were great times, because I had a lot of freedom there to do what I wanted, and I became quite creative in my own way. A bit too creative! Got myself into a bit of trouble. They were great days.”

Another standout memory for Pete was an O.B at the Ekka show in Brisbane.

“In those days they used to sell lots of live reads. So, in between the music breaks, you’d have to do at least six live reads, one after the other.”

“Can you imagine how exhausting that was? I mean, there I was, sitting in this little booth at the Ekka, with very minimal air conditioning, sweat running down my face, having to do six live reads after every two songs played. I was a bloody cot case when I finished! But that was the nature of the station back in those days.”

He says instead of being bitter about 4KQ’s demise, it’s better to look back fondly and appreciate how fortunate listeners have been to have had it for so long.

Voice actor Tony Bellette often found himself at the Stones Corner studios of 4KQ, and tells Radio Today his visits there remain a treasured memory:

“In my side of the business it’s easy to get the feeling that you’re just a voice for hire – you’re there to do a job and once that’s over you’re forgotten about. But at 4KQ I was always greeted as friend from front desk to production suite, from announcers, to writers, to audio engineers.”

“It was fun and I always felt I’d like to stay longer. I hope that feeling was reciprocated.”

On the SEN takeover, Bellette says “Like everyone, I’ll be watching carefully, but sport has never been a big ratings puller in Brissy so it’ll be a battle.”

“The thing is that, to many listeners, radio is their friend and the people they listen to, laugh and cry with can become close friends. There are going be a lot of sad people in Brissy when they don’t have their friends around anymore.”

In an interview with our sister publication RadioInfo earlier this year, 4KQ Music Director Brent James reflected on the station’s success.

“Listeners are passionate about the brand, a testament  to the consistency of 4KQ over many years. Literally, many have grown up with the product and format for nearly 40 years and they know what to expect.”

It’s a feeling echoed by country music great Troy CassarDaley, who paid tribute to his wife, long-serving 4KQ breakfast co-host Laurel Edwards.

In a social media post, Cassar-Daley said the switch in formats will destroy a music station with nearly 70 years of history which has been the fabric of life for so many Brisbane people and families.

“When the switch is turned sometime in July from music to sport, that will truly be the day the music died in Brisbane.”

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Jayme Doran
9 May 2022 - 10:49 am

Such a shame 4KQ is going. They were a successful and great music station in Brisbane and I feel sorry for everyone at 4KQ right now & wish them all the best for the future. Many will be turning off 693 once they switch to sport, I will be switching to 4BH as well as Magic 1278 from Melbourne (via Streaming) for music, I’ll won’t be giving the new SEN sports format a chance on 693.
ARN had no choice due to 2 station rule and wanting to keep River 94.9 Ipswich & Hot 91 Sunshine Coast after ARN acquired the Grant Broadcasters Regional stations (if they would of offloaded River/Hot 91 to someone else & keeping 4KQ then none of this would never have happened), Hopefully ACE Radio can get some or most of the 4KQ team to come across to 4BH.

Cpw
9 May 2022 - 2:15 pm

4bh now identifying on air as classic hits from the 60s 70s and 80s. Very poppy mix, hopefully they get a bit edgier ove the next few days. Magic 1278 made a similar move earlier this year, the magic playlist is now fairly close to the old 4kq format

Colin Ross
9 May 2022 - 3:31 pm

Seriously, Laurel Edwards has been there for 30 years and she’s complaining that it’s all over? she should be grateful that she lasted there that long most radio people dont survive anywhere near that time frame… 4KQ has been a closed shop for as long as i can remember with the same announcers there for 20 Years plus, have’nt listened to it since the 70’s Nothing lasts forever…Time for a change and Brisbane needed a 24 hour sports station, Love my footy & cricket.SEN will be welcome.

Jayme Doran
9 May 2022 - 4:16 pm

@Cpw

4BH is still sharing the 2UE Log (2UE still identifies as Easy Music, while 4BH identifies as Classic Hits but still sharing the one log for both Brisbane & Sydney).

Radio Fan
9 May 2022 - 4:47 pm

It could just be a pure coincidence but I noticed 4BH as of today (May 9) changed their traffic outro to “that’s the latest sky cruiser traffic on 1116 4BH” when 4KQ have been running “it’s … with 4KQ sky cruiser traffic” for as long as I can remember. Hmm…

Mojo
9 May 2022 - 6:49 pm

4BH did this once. Went talk. Instant 3 percent.

Colin Is a Tough Guy
9 May 2022 - 10:31 pm

I haven’t heard her complain at all Colin but its a funeral after years of toil, no matter how you swipe it away. But try working in a business for 30 years, is the idea of it dying supposed to get easier with every passing year you attach your life to it. Not if you care. Are you only supposed to “live the brand ” until the money runs out or someone closes it on you. Have a heart. You can’t trade in all this passion, “love the music” “local as the Brisbane River” and then when its over, say you didn’t mean any of it because people in that building bloody did. Maybe that’s why it was the same voices mate. And perhaps not yours. Integrity isn’t a buzz word its actually who you are. The point is, listening to sports games and commentary is all niche and moving online anyway – just like music. Its the localism dead and the disenfranchised loyal that were rusted and now gone, maybe forever from radio that is a big shame for the category. Radio people get it. Maybe your on the wrong site!

Trevor Young
9 May 2022 - 10:52 pm

The sport format will struggle. It hasn’t worked in Sydney & Melbourne, it won’t work in Brisbane.

Wayne Mcgregor
10 May 2022 - 7:29 am

Many Many listener’s to 4KQ will not be interested in the least to this new format. You have torn the heart out of brisbane radio for the older demographic. Long time fans are shocked that the classic hits will go . It will be like a death in the family RIP 4KQ.

Bb.
10 May 2022 - 10:19 am

The only station I have ever bothered with. No way will I be listening to radio any longer.

Jean
10 May 2022 - 10:45 am

Well very sorry to absolutely see everyone go who provided us with all your wonderful music mixes and competitions over the years. Has been the only radio station I have listened to since I relocated to Qld. Wish you all the best in your next venture!! Will not be listening to the new sports format at all.

Ross
10 May 2022 - 3:38 pm

Sad day for Brisbane Radio. I lived through the demise of 4IP, 4GG and now 4KQ. I certainly won’t be listening to the new format.

Allan & kay
10 May 2022 - 7:37 pm

Love loved 4kq and the morning crew it was the best station playing the songs we loved won’t be listening to sports all day every day just after to find a new station or alternatively have to dust off the cd player and the record player and put the radio into moth balls

Radio Birdman
10 May 2022 - 8:47 pm

@Colin

You’re taking the mickey, surely mate? 24/7 sports talk? Are you kidding? Do we really need it in Brisbane when:-

Triple M broadcast NRL matches and associated rugby league shows, as well as the cricket in summer;
Radio TAB has a breakfast sports show, followed by all-day & night racing;
4BC have Peter Psaltis’ WWOS show every night;
4BH broadcast AFL matches;
SEN has Pat & Heals and their all-day AM & DAB sports stations.

And you want more sport talk? Get serious!

And by the way, how would you know whether 4KQ have had the same announcers ‘for 20 years’ when you’ve admitted that you haven’t listened to the station since the 1970’s?

Jean Davis
11 May 2022 - 7:26 am

Where else will we oldies be able to listen to all the golden oldies? I can’t find another similar radio station. It will be very much missed. Thankyou all at 4KQ.

Denis
11 May 2022 - 7:42 am

Utter BS they cannot do this !

Debra Keighley
11 May 2022 - 10:09 am

I am totally devastated. I can’t believe I have listened to the Easter Countdown for the last time. I can believe the Sizzling 70’s, All Sorts, One Hit Wonders Weekends will soon be a thing of the past as well. Sunday mornings will not be the same for me without Brent and Sunday Morning 60’s. It’s not just the music but the background to the many wonderful songs and artists, especially from 4KQ’s amazing Music Director, Brent James. I still feel like it’s a bad dream and not really happening. I am so sad and will miss 4KQ so much. It’s such a shame. 4KQ allowed all these wonderful, happy songs be heard and passed down to new generations. Life will be somehow different for me .. Thank you to everyone at 4KQ for over 30 years of listening pleasure. It’s been the best. I still cannot believe it ..

Phil Macfarlane
11 May 2022 - 12:22 pm

What is wrong with these people in management roles
This station is not broken so don’t fix it
We seem to have lost all our good announcers and stations for this boring sport and talk back style
We need a good easy listening and country station for people who are interested in listening to good music
No more sports and talk back
So depressing

Joey
11 May 2022 - 2:08 pm

This article would not be possible if not for what 4KQ has demonstrated – which is something consistently delivered for such a long time it has become a “loved” radio brand.

If you want know what love is in the instance of a radio station being lost, go in search of the audio recordings you can find on the internet that records the 2019 closure of New York’s iconic WPLJ, which nearly 50 years on air being a rock station, then hit music station and eventually Hot AC station.

The emotional farewell of that station records the anguish a sizeable community of radio professionals and listeners alike were feeling about the loss of their radio station.

I cannot imagine Brisbane radio without 4KQ so I can only urge the custodians of 4BH, Ace Radio, to resist treating that station the way it was treated over the last 10 years – as a mere afterthought in a network ultimately programmed south of the border.

The void 4KQ leaves behind is too big for Ace not to afford 4BH much greater investment in talent and much format leverage.

A few subtle changes are already underway at 4BH but do they meet the objective of becoming the “default option” for listeners once 4KQ closes.

Alternatively listeners will disperse all over the place (in particular will be interesting to see whether ARN paint River 94.9 in capital city colours or keep if strictly local) or, worse for radio, sone listeners will switch off altogether.

JASON
12 May 2022 - 7:11 am

FROM 2023 TRIPLE M WILL NOT BROADCAST NRL HENCE WHY CRAIG HUTCHISON WILL REBRAND 4KQ AS SENQ 693 IN 79 DAYS TO ATTRACT BRSBANE TRIPLE M LUSTENERS OVRT TO SENQ 693 HOE HUTCHY SOGNS THE 4MMM BREALFAST TEAM TO SWNQ 693 TO START ON SENQ 693 AS OF JULY 4TH 2023 AT 12PM

Radio Birdman
12 May 2022 - 5:33 pm

Note to 4BH & Ace Radio Broadcasters – if you want to take maximum advantage of the ‘exodus’ from 4KQ when 693 becomes 24/7 sport talk, do the following:-

– Get a local DJ/presenter or two, a Brisbane ‘name’

– Play songs of Brisbane bands from the classic hits era (e.g. Railroad Gin, Carol Lloyd, Moscos & Stone, Moonlight)

– Have themed weekends like 70’s, 80’s, one-hit wonders, double-shots etc.

– Consider a big Easter/Christmas countdown, similar to the 4KQ Easter Countdown of 1000 Hits

If you manage to implement some or all of these, loyal 4KQ listeners are going to be more likely to make the switch to 4BH.

Jenny Moore
12 May 2022 - 9:27 pm

I am so going to miss you all I’ve listened to you for over 30 years thank you for the music and thank you to all of you the best music ever

Carolyn
13 May 2022 - 8:46 am

Honestly…you’re screwing the silent majority that enjoy and have enjoyed this qld icon for a loooong time…and (it may come as a surprise ) the 4KQ playlist and 24/7 sport are not interchangeable
So, as someone said, why fix what’s not broken…it was successful. Period.
So obviously the new owners know this, so the question is, will sports fans tune in? Or watch on tv/go to games/tune in to their regulars, and who is going to pick up the silent majority of “old”4KQ listeners?
Are where can I go for my classic 60’s/70’s/80’s/90’s???
Far out, I haven’t died YET? When did I fall off the “desirable audience” list…
Yes my 20 yr old thinks it’s obsolete (although still listens to/knows a lot of the old rock!) but the whole world isn’t 20 yrs old

Helena Morton
18 May 2022 - 7:36 am

My name is Helena.

I have been a dedicated, exclusive 4KQ listener every day for 56 years.
I agree with the comments above.

I never have anything to do with sport.
It is traditionally connected to all the poor behaviours of our society. The sickening shows on TV like Front Bar are examples. Surely there are enough outlets for 24 hour sport for those who must do that.

It is the topic of least interest in my life.

I have never been to any football match.
Football gives the males in our society a destructive role model.

Boxing is insanity.

I don’t bet on the Melbourne Cup. Horse racing is cruel and the whole industry is wrong.

The list goes on.

I will never tune to 4KQ after that change.
Count me out absolutely.

Didn’t 4 BC do that too?

Just another move to over rule and bulldoze the masses for a perceived financial gain, ignoring the will of the people.

Sickening in these times when people are being “farmed” by multinationals all around the world and any “perceived freedom” is being stripped from us.

Not happy Jan!

Jayme Doran
19 May 2022 - 9:38 pm

Update to my earlier reply to Cpw:
4BH is now running their own Classic Hits log and is no longer log sharing with 2UE (has been since Tuesday), it appears they are getting ready now for when 4KQ switches to sport.

according to their website 4BH will introduce their own versions of Sunday Morning 60s and Jukebox Saturday Night (longtime staples of 4KQ), 4BH will also start to take the Classic Hits Countdown (with Gavin Miller) as well Sunday Mornings from 10:00am (same time as it goes to air on Magic 1278 Melbourne/ACE Radio’s Regional Victoria/Southern NSW Stations).

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