Hobart’s oldest commercial radio station, Grant Broadcasters owned 7HOFM, is celebrating its 90th birthday today
You might think the “HO” in the call sign comes from the station being located in Hobart, but it’s actually taken from the first two letters in the surname of the brilliant 20-year-old engineer who designed and built the station, Ron Hope.
Current General Manager, industry veteran Mick Raisin, would argue that as far as the nuts and bolts go, little has changed in 7HOFM’s core business of making the listener the focus, particularly during a global pandemic.
“We feel that our role in the community is extremely important, to keep people informed, keep them motivated and up and positive,” Raisin said. “There’s a wonderful culture and DNA in Tasmania to buy and support everyone locally…we took that approach with our advertisers and supported them during covid too. I think that’s put us in pretty good stead now.”
Perhaps the last word on a station that’s been embedded for 90 years in the heart of Tasmania’s capital should come from Mick Newell, a knockabout larrikin who’s made a seemingly unlikely transition.
In one of those “only in Tasmania” stories, the Huon Valley abalone diver, glad to survive the occasional bout of the bends, eventually found himself on reality TV with son Matt, before the way opened for 7HOFM’s breakfast gig in 2012.
The wisecracking and outspoken Newell has made headlines across the years, including a charity boxing match belting for then-Premier Will Hodgman in 2014, but his biggest win came in 2019 when the Breakfast Show and the station topped the ratings.
“We never try to be better than anyone else,” Newell explained. “We’re 100 per cent locals, we’re 100 per cent the same as you guys, no matter what you do for a job, we’ve all got the same two feet on the planet. We just try to be real local and a bit of fun every day.”