One of Australia’s greatest on air line ups has been heard again on Ipswich station, River 949, as part of a ‘Back to 4IP Weekend’.
For the benefit of younger readers, 4IP was the little station from Ipswich with the BIG contemporary sound. It took on the Brisbane radio establishment of the ’60s and ’70s and beat them consistently with strong, targeted programming and hot promotions.
Many of the 4IP Good Guys reassembled in Ipswich from Friday and took over River 949 across the weekend. Their appearance was embellished with the old 4IP jingles.
Among those having a ‘tearful reminisce’ were Grant Goldman, Wayne Roberts, David Kidd, Jimmy White, Alan McGirvan, David Greenwood, Gray Clark, Kevin Hillier, Paul J Turner, Geoff Mullins, Graham Roberts, Warren Tapp, John McCoy and Pete Rudder.
Newsroom duties were handled by David Jull, Gary Hardgrave, Roy Jamieson, Rod Tiley and Des McWilliam.
Additionally, Billy J Smith, Keith Williams and Cousin Greg (Lawson) phoned in during the broadcast.
The Back to 4IP weekend was one of numerous Centenary of Ipswich celebrations. Mayor Paul Pisasale and River 949 hosted an outdoor cocktail party on Saturday night for several hundred guests.
Other highlights included a performance by the re-formed 4IP Big Band; ex-4IP PD and ’70s Good Guy, Geoff Mullins was MC; people told stories from the stage; and each staff member was given a special medallion, marking the Centenary of Ipswich and time served at 4IP.
Food and refreshments were plentiful, as were the great company and entertainment.
Radio historian, Wayne Mac, who had the mammoth task of sourcing and remastering the old 4IP jingles, was special guest of the organisers. Mac has told radioinfo:
“It was fantastic. I’m still drowsy, but I think I probably pulled up better than some. A good thing it was outdoors, too, after a day of highs in the mid 30s.
“Seriously, it was humbling to be among so many great contributors to Australian radio in one space. Celebrating achievement was really the order of the night, which of course 4IP did in spades for many years.
“They were one of the few stations of their time to really ‘seize the day’. Not everything they did was successful, as former owner of 4IP, Sir Frank Moore, pointed out that in his speech: ‘Having a go and seeing what might work tended to be our strength. Such was the naivety and newness of what we were doing back then’.”
radioinfo: Isn’t a radio station reunion just another form of school reunion?
Mac: “No I don’t. I think that being in radio – especially if you had an on air role – gives people a unique life experience that not a lot of have. The one thing I’ve found with these kinds of reunions – and I’ve been involved in five of them in as many years – is that people tend to just pick up where they left off even if they’ve not seen each other for 20 or 30 years.
“As you move around it’s evident that what people shared was something very special and they wouldn’t have missed it for quids – even the bad stuff. I’m sure the people attending the 5AD reunion, held on the same night in Adelaide, would agree.”
radioinfo: The actual on air event has received mixed reaction, especially on the aus.radio.broadcast newsgroup: what are your thoughts?
Mac: “I enjoyed hearing the actual voices once more. The fact that the guest jocks were allowed to take calls and talk more than they were in the More Music days of the ’70s was terrific. It enabled the intent of the event to come through.
“Personally, I would have liked it packaged to sound more like the 4IP we remembered, particularly the music and cosmetic things like intro-ing the news with a 4IP theme rather than the River theme. These would have been an added touch. But, I’m mindful of the balancing act River found themselves in. They should be congratulated for having a go. Most stations wouldn’t touch something like this. They’d see it too hard.”
radioinfo: How so?
Mac: “Well, it IS hard to do it well. A lot of resources are needed and favours are called in because it relies on the goodwill of the contributors. David Greenwood (River 949 GM), the poor bugger, I don’t think he’s had much sleep lately.
“He worked tirelessly to pull this off AND had to go on air for his ‘Back to 4IP’ appearance from 6am on the Saturday. Great work from the young bloke in the yellow coat!”
radioinfo: Do you think others might be tempted to have a go?
Mac: “Not really. There’s only a few who could do it anyway. While some of us were together for coffee and a sausage on the Sunday morning out at River, Paul J Turner said: ‘Could you imagine what a Back to 2SM Weekend would be like?’
“There were about six of us there. We looked at each other, knowing it would never happen. But, just for that brief moment, we knew how huge that would be. Ditto for 3XY … any of the great old stations really!
“The trouble with these things is that people get slagged for living in the past and that’s not a good look. I find it’s an intriguing attitude coming from an industry that, in some quarters, has turned playing of music of the past into an artform in recent decades.”