AWA Radio Execs reunite

A group of former AWA Radio Network executives reunited last weekend to remember one of Australia’s great radio networks and catch up on past and present successes.

In a week where the RG Capital network has been sold, David Rogerson remembers one of Australia’s earlier great networks and reports on what the landscape was like at the time and who some of the key players were:

On 28 October 1987, the AWA Radio Network was sold to Wesgo Radio for a price believed to be in the vicinity of $40 million (a small price compared to today’s heady fees for new FM licences).

At the time of sale, AWA was one of the oldest radio groups in Australia having begun broadcasting on 13 August 1919. The group comprised 4CA Cairns, 4TO Townsville, 2GN Goulburn, 2CH Sydney, 3BO Bendigo, 3MP Melbourne and 6KY Perth. Radio groups were not allowed to own as many stations then as they are now.

One of the most significant milestones for the group was 23 November 1979 when 2CH’s Good Music format made it to number one in Sydney. It was the first time the station had achieved the number one slot since it began broadcasting on 15 February 1932.

It was at the time 2SM was experiencing a sliding audience share on the back of the entry of 2WS-AM into the Sydney market, serving Sydney’s growing western suburbs.

Many of us, who have been in the industry for less than 15 years, are probably not aware of the existence of the AWA Radio Network, owned by the same AWA who were once household names when it came quality radio and TV sets. Many of the stations still exist (with 6KY Perth converting from AM to become MIX-FM ).

As for remnants of the AWA radio empire, their office headquarters in Sydney still remains as a preserved building of significance at 47 York Street. The historical AWA tower, once one of the tallest landmarks in Sydney, is also listed as part of the significance of Sydney’s landmark builings.

Last weekend, a handful of the key executive team, who were a successful part of the AWA Radio Network, held a reunion in Sydney to celebrate their time with AWA and reunite old friendships.

They are pictured below, listed with their titles from that time.

Rear: Peter Webster – Marketing, Bob Bermingham former 4TO GM & Personality; Chris Joscelyne former 2CH GM; Paul McCarthy former 2GF GM

Middle Row: David Rogerson – AWA Victorian National Sales & Marketing Manager; Alan Liddlelow AWA Technical Engineering; Roger Searle – AWA Research Manager; Kevin Turner – 4TO GM; Bruce Rogerson – AWA Radio Network GM.

Front Row: Joe Oost – AWA Ops Mngr; John Grim – 2GN; Richard Tan – 2CH Sales Mngr; Peter Verhoeven – 2AY GM; Tony McAdam – 2GN Sales Mngr

(Out of shot taking the picture is David McDonald – AWA Finance Manager)