McGowan profiles the boy from Wonthaggi

Wonthaggi is a small town of almost 7000 people, 132 kilometres south east of Melbourne. Over the years this coal region has produced a famous author, a couple of first class cricketers, an AFL Premiership player and Kevin John, Magic’s Breakfast Personality.

Kevin was born, raised and educated in the area, and most weekends escapes the City to return to a cottage he owns there. Now in his fifth year at Magic, Kevin has a most impressive cv and at 56 he’s got no thoughts of giving it away.

Go back 37 years and Kevin John is spruking in a Melbourne department store, then making his way to Kelvin Hall in Collins Place, to read adds into a lifeless mike in front of Lee Murray, former 3AW Broadcaster from the 30’s and 40’s who coached countless young people who yearned for a future in radio. Some of the biggest names in Australian Radio would claim to be a “Lee Murray Boy”.  

Yes, Kevin John is a Lee Murray boy !  

3kz_120His first on air job was 3HA (Hamilton) then 3TR (Sale). From 3TR Kevin moved to mid-dawns  and mornings on  3KZ in that station’s “heart shaped sticker” era. At the time 3KZ was a formidable contender in the Melbourne Market with Pete (Meehan) & Liz (Sullivan) huge at Breakfast. After time at 3MP and 3UZ (playing country music for Nick Erby)  Kevin John became if not disillusioned, then a little restless.

In 1986 he packed his bags and headed to Europe.  It wasn’t long before “The Boy From Wonthaggi” was living just over the border in Italy and broadcasting from Riviera 104 in Monte Carlo playing Euro Pop Music and pretty much whatever he wanted that fitted the required station sound. Kevin told me “This was one of the best times of my life although I’ve been lucky, as I’ve had lots of best times”.  

In 1989 he was back in Australia for his Sister’s Wedding and other family reasons. His Riviera 104 program was kept open for him to return, but he chose not to as it was about now the demise of 3DB was being orchestrated and Kevin John joined the fledgling 3TT (later 3TTFM) where he recalls the excitement of that station’s early success.

After a period doing voice overs for 3AW and the “odd shift” on Magic, Kevin was slotted into 1278 Breakfast which he shares with Jane Holmes.

Breakfast in Melbourne is a hard shift, but Kevin meets the challenge head on. Given Magic is an AM music station, you could say the odds are against them. However, over the years they have built a loyal audience and for many (like myself) 1278 is the escape from talk format.

Kevin John has been playing the hits and then playing them again as gold for more than 35 years. He could do it for another decade or more. And why shouldn’t he ? Kevin John is a great broadcaster. 





Keith McGowan