Radio industry stalwart Des Foster has passed away, aged 88.
Foster returned from the second world war to a job as a newspaper reporter, but soon switched to radio, where he spent the rest of his working life.
During the war he was in the Z Force unit of Australia’s Special Forces regiment and saw active service against the Japanese. When he returned to Australia he worked as a reporter then later a sub editor on the Sunday Sun.
In 1955 he joined 2UE to manage news, sport and special events. Pictured below with 2UE staff from that time: John Hansberry, Des Foster, Bob Rogers, Ron Hurst, Mrs. Scott (Tea Lady) Bruce Rogerson, Len London, Sid Emmerton, Anne Tuckwell.
In 1960 he moved to 2GB as manager, and during his time at 2GB he became president of FARB, the precursor to Commercial Radio Australia.
Foster’s lobbying efforts during the introduction of FM helped steer commercial radio carefully into a new era. In 2002 he was inducted into the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame.
His lobbying work continued after his formal retirement, when he took up the role of Director of the Independent Regional Radio Association and represented regional stations on various issues, telling Communications Minister Helen Coonan in 2006 that her process in implementing new rules for regional radio “lacked integrity.”
In 2006 he told radioinfo the new rules were a “lousy deal for regional radio” and continued to lobby against the rules after they were introduced.
Des was considered one of the gentlemen of the radio industry. Always polite and softly spoken, yet firm in his opinions and strategic in his tactics.
Pics below: Z Force reunion, from ABC Radio’s PM program. Des, second from left.
From a Time Club lunch in 1978 (Des right)
Feel free to post your reminiscences about Des below. RIP Des Foster.