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Greg Byrne

Posted by ken On April - 11 - 2009

Gregory Byrne was part of TVW’s successful management team, being with the company for 32 years

Greg commenced just after the station opened and was there from May 1960 until July 1992.

For most of the time he was Sales Manager, and then in the top role of Managing Director from 1988 to 1992, before retiring.

One little known aspect, is that Jim Cruthers referred to Greg as “Fat Cat’s Dad !”

Greg and his wife Judith created Fat Cat. Judith made the concept drawing of a large head, which was cast in fibre glass in the workshop, and which soon became the lovable children’s show mascot.

Prior to their wedding on January 13, 1968, which was featured on the front page of the Weekend News on that day, Judy Oxer was a freestyle champion who held every title in W.A. 100, 200, 400 and 800. She swam in the era of Dawn Fraser and was selected for Commonwealth and Olympic teams, but due to budget restrictions they took swimmers in those days who could double up on backstroke or breast stroke.

Since Greg’s retirement from the television industry, they now live at Cowaramup which is between Busselton and Margaret River, and tend a 75 acre property with a vineyard, Avocados and Macadamias.

The following charts Greg’s career with TVW and places into perspective a number of organisational changes which took place…

▪ Joined TVW May 2,1960, age 22 as one of two Local Sales Representatives employed to develop the local market and sell television  advertising to local clients

▪ Appointed Manager of TVW’s Sydney Office in 1961 – age 23 years

▪ Returned to Perth for personal reasons in 1963 (brother had an accident and became a quadriplegic)

▪ Appointed Senior Sales Representative 1964

▪ Appointed Assistant Sales Manager 1965

▪ Appointed Sales Manager 1968 with responsibilities for National and Local Sales 

▪ In 1972 Appointed Group General Sales Manager for TVW-7, SAS-10, 6IX and Group Color

▪ Greg and his wife Judith developed a new children’s character for the station and called it FAT CAT- They received $100 dollars from Jim Cruthers for creating the character !

FAT CAT went on to become a National character in a Television Series – Fat Cat’s Funtime Show 

The character is still just as popular today as ever.

▪ 1974 Appointed a Director of the new Channel 7 – Edgley Entertainment Centre 

▪ 1976 asked to assist Radio Station 6IX to rectify Operational and Management problems as well as his other duties with TVW 7 

1982 – Perth based businessman Robert Holmes à Courtʼs Bell Group acquired Perth television station TVW-7 (and SAS in Adelaide) 

▪ 1982 seconded by Robert Holmes à Court to the Western Mail to help establish the Advertising Department

▪ 1983 returned to TVW to resume duties as General Sales Manager

1987 – Bell took ownership of The West Australian, Perth’s main daily newspaper.  Alan Bond took a controlling stake in Holmes à Court’s Bell Group and cash-rich Bell Resources. Christopher Skaseʼs Qintex group purchases the east coast Seven from Fairfax for $780m and expanded it’s Seven network by buying TVW-7 Perth from Alan Bond’s Bell Group for $130m.  

▪ 1987 TVW was sold to the Christopher Skase Quintex Group, and Greg was appointed the Perth Sales Director as the network took over National Sales

▪ 1988 Greg took over from Kevin Campbell as Managing Director of TVW Enterprises – Kevin moved to the Seven Network in the East- TVW had a staff of 250 people !

During this time Greg moved the Christmas Pageant to a night time parade with the floats lit up with lights and the crowds trebled

Greg was able to win the rights to telecast LOTTO on TVW7 – it had been on STW and was the reason STW used to win the Saturday night ratings

▪ Greg became a Telethon Trustee

1989 – The Qintex group collapsed

1991 – Qintexʼs broadcasting assets were buddled together and turned into the discrete company, the Seven Network.

▪ 1992 Greg retired after 32 years with TVW ( Kevin Campbell had moved back to Perth from the Eastern States )

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