Vale Glenn Wheatley

There was no more colourful a character in Australian radio than Glenn Wheatley.

From his early years as bass player in the ‘60’s rock band, Masters Apprentices to becoming a music entrepreneur and manager of talent that included Little River Band and John Farnham – he was one of the first to look the part of a businessman up top, wearing a smart jacket, collar and tie above the belt with blue jeans  below to denote his rock in trade.

Wheatley was also a pioneer of Commercial FM radio in Australia. And although Rod Muir is often credited with being the grandfather of FM, it is Wheatley who can claim ‘line honours’ for getting the first Australian commercial FM station, EON in Melbourne, to air on 11th July 1980.

In 2013 his consortium was the successful bidder for a pair of stations on the Sunshine Coast.

And in 2016, they bought 2CH for a reported $5.56 million, selling it in the midst of the pandemic  for almost double what he and Oceania had paid for it four years ago.

Glen Wheatley died after contracting COVID-19. He was 74.

Read our detailed interview with Wheatley from 2020 here, which includes the story of how Wheatley was instrumental in the birth of FM in Australia:

Having broken the Little River Band in America via FM Radio Wheatley wondered why Australia still only had AM Radio. There had to be more than 3XY, 2SM he thought. 
Wheatley made inquiries and discovered that years ago, the Government at the time gave the FM band away to Essential Services; Fire, Police and Ambulance. Working with the Department of Communications, Wheatley devised that the Essential Services could be moved to the UHF band thereby freeing up the FM band to be able to make way for commercial FM licences. After “walking Federal Parliament carpet thread bare” in 1979, he convinced the Government to do just that.
The concept was passed by Government and applications for FM licences were announced. Wheatley and Recording entrepreneur Bill Armstrong successfully put the EON consortium together and bid on one of the two Melbourne FM licences.

In memory of Glenn we reprise his tribute to radio in this song, Turn Up Your Radio.

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