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Radio 6PM Reunion

Posted by ken On April - 14 - 2010


Simone Henry and other Austereo colleagues are coordinating a 6PM reunion for Wednesday April 21, 2010, for people who officially worked for 6PM during the years 1980–1990, the last decade of AM broadcasting before the conversion to the FM band.

The venue is the Paddington Ale House in Mount Hawthorn.

6PM veterans and staff can contact Simone on 0412 366 504




Lionel Lewis and Michael Gammon


Lee Cornell, Geoff Bradley and Michael A’Hern


Memorabilia courtesy of George Chapman
Please CLICK on below image to select full size view


6PM was Perth’s third commercial radio station when it launched April 22, 1937, broadcasting from the transmitter at Coffee Point, on the south side of the Swan River, near the South of Perth Yacht Club. 6PM was also the first Perth station to schedule announcers in regular time slots.

Young listeners enjoyed attending the incredibly popular “live” children’s sing-along program, Willie Weeties Club, the ‘Kiddies’ Kommunity Koncert and the Happy Hour Club, held Saturday mornings in a hall on the top storey of Boans department store. The Saturday Morning Children’s concert with John Luke was advertised as Children’s Concert. The sponsor was Weeties.

Early announcers included John Luke, Kevin Whitby, Noreen (Margo) Leen and Nell Shortland-Jones. Other loved personalities over the years on 6PM-AM included: Brien Thirley, Graham Gooden, Alan Robertson, Graham Bowra, Keith Taylor, Tony Barber, Philip Clark, Ashton Farley, Peter Chaplin, Steven Cooper, David Ellery, Laurie Henry. Programme managers included Jack Anstey and Monty Menhennett. Betty Farrington was heard broadcasting Community Announcements.

A popular lunch time show was a weekday 1 to 1.45 pm singalong ladies concert called the “John Luke’s Shopping Basket”. It was compered by John Luke in the studio’s auditorium, with a live audience of mostly women shoppers’ in the city.  Luke’s “Down the merry isle with the shopping basket” was one of his well know sayings when giving out little gifts and two shillings in cash. The first compere during WW2 was Stan Gervas. The station was owned by Frank Whitford (Managing) of Perth, and Archer Whitford of Sydney. In 1937 the studios were located in Fremantle and later moved to St. George’s House, 115 St George’s Terrace, Perth. The Whitford Network comprised 6PM Perth, 6AM Northam, 6KG Kalgoorlie and 6GE Geraldton, covering large areas of Western Australia. The regional stations were not on relay, (except at times for 6AM Northam) as each broadcast in their own right.

6PM was the last commercial station in Perth to give up taking the A.B.C. News, in 1964. Their early newsreaders were Brian Hocking (ex 6PR), Bill Gill, Peter Holland and Doug Foley.

PM’s Football Commentators included Bill Brophy, Jack Sweet, Clive Lewington, John O’Connell and John Dethridge. Match compere was Graham Gooden.

At one point TVW Channel 7 offered to purchase all of the issued shares in the Whitford Broadcasting Network, pending approval from the Postmaster-General. Brian Treasure was involved in the negotiations, but due to complications with major shareholder WA Newspapers’ interest in 6IX, Sir Frank Packer became the new owner. The Whitford Broadcasting Network was then renamed Consolidated Broadcasting System (CBS). 6PM General Manager was Eric Fisher who was later transferred to Melbourne and appointed General Manager of the Packer group’s GTV Channel 9. TVW eventually acquired 6IX.

In 1970 George Chapman became General Manager of the CBS Network and moved 6PM operations from the basement of St. George’s building, to new broadcasting studios and offices at 283 Rokeby Road, Subiaco. The new 6PM studios were officially opened on 31st August 1970 by the then Premier, Sir David Brand, who at the same ceremony laid a time capsule containing taped 6PM airchecks, messages and a microfilm copy of the Sunday Times “State of the West” supplement.

In 1971 Lionel Lewis moved from 6KY (where he had been top rating for many years) to 6PM Breakfast and joined the team including Gordon O’Byrne, Michael A’Hern, Geoff Bradley and later Lionel Yorke. The same year 6PM became No. 1 and held the top position for many years.

During the hey day of Top 40 radio in the ‘60s and ‘70s, 6PM promoted itself with slogans like ‘The Pleasure Machine’, ‘Peppermint Radio’ and later ‘6PMusic’. In the early-‘80s, 6PM was one of several stations at the time that adopted the signature tune ‘Rhythm Of The City’ as its main slogan.

Later in the ‘80s, while fighting off the growing dominance of FM, 6PM was promoted as ‘Better Music’. The competition came from one of the first FM radio stations in Australia when 96FM was launched on 8th August 1980 by Brian Treasure with the financial support of Kerry Stokes and Jack Bendat.

George Chapman was the inaugural Managing Director of 96FM (1980-1984), who had returned to his hometown after several years in Sydney as General Manager of Kerry Packer’s TCN Channel 9 and later Station Manager of 2UW Sydney.

The first Program Director of 96FM was Gary Roberts, who had returned to Australia from New Zealand, whilst former 6PM announcer Gordon O’Byrne was the first DJ to be heard on FM radio in Perth.

In 1987, Kerry Stokes and Jack Bendat sold the Golden West regional TV network to Frank Lowy’s Northern Star Holdings for AU$206 million (who later sold GWN back to Stokes in 1988 for AU$54 million).

On 31 December 1990, 6PM was the first AM radio station in Perth to convert to the FM band. The new station was branded 6PMFM (call-sign 6PPM) on the frequency 92.9 MHz. Now known as 92.9FM.

In 1991, the Jack Bendat owned 6KY was the second AM radio station in Perth to go FM, initially being identified on-air as 94.5 KY FM, later to be known as Mix 94.5.

In 1992, Gary Roberts moved from 96FM to 94.5FM to take up the role of General Manager (after being General Manager of 96FM from 1984 to 1992).

In 1993, the Triple M network in the eastern states, bought 96FM and renamed the station Triple M.

In August 1993, 94.5FM purchased PMFM (now 92.9) from Kerry Packer, and Gary Roberts was subsequently appointed Managing Director of both stations, with Jack Bendat investing some of his $100m from the sale of Golden West to finance both stations.

In 1994, the Triple M network, owned by Hoyts Media, was in financial difficulties and sold to Village Roadshow, who then sold the network to Austereo, in return for a controlling share of Austereo.

In 1997, Village Roadshow subsidiary Austereo purchased both stations from Jack Bendat, but Australian media ownership laws required the divestiture of Triple M (former 96FM), so Village Roadshow sold it to Southern Cross Broadcasting (a division of Fairfax Media from 2007), which also owned AM radio station 6PR. Southern Cross then returned the station back to its original ’96FM’ branding.

In March 2007 92.9FM and sister station Mix 94.5 moved from premises at 283 Rokeby Road, Subiaco, to a new purpose built broadcast centre at 450 Roberts Road, on the corner of Monteath and Roberts Roads, Subiaco, Western Australia.

6PM story contributions thanks to George Chapman, John Cranfield, Richard Ashton, Paul Bendat and Bret Treasure.




13 Responses to “Radio 6PM Reunion”

  1. Lee Cornell says:

    Wow! GEORGE CHAPMAN sent me that grumpy looking shot (mid-dawns did that!) back in my PM days… and just found this site while on WAYNE MAC’S Facebook page this evening. Some amazing memorabilia! Hope you all had a great reunion!

  2. Many, many great and fun memories during my tenure at Radio 6PM. Worked there 1970-79 – the halcyon years of Australian Radio.

    Hope all went well. Drinks on me next time!


  3. frank glosny says:

    i am impressed that george chapman has so much memorabillia from his 6pm days.i am one of a few hardcore collectors who are looking for photo copies of top forty charts from the fifties,sixties and seventies.i am wondering if george would be willing to share any charts he has.this part of our history has been neglected and a large part of this history is missing and maybe lost forever.

  4. Phil Stevenson says:

    Returned here again after 30 months… Amazing how time flies… ;)

    I want to share this ditty with all those that were part of 6PM Management & Staff
    between 1970 to 1979 (the 70’s):

    At that time, February 1972, I had a coveted job working for Radio 6PM (Perth’s No. 1 top 40 radio station during the 1970’s). Radio 6PM was a supporter of the concert as part of the Festival of Perth.

    I was asked to tape interviews with our evening ‘DJ’, Dean Johns. I had a ‘full-track’ Rola professional tape recorder about the size of a small suitcase that needed mains power. The members of Led Zepp came down from their units at the Sundowner Hotel on Sterling Highway, Cottesloe, to greet the media.

    It was a good Perth hot February afternoon and we got some 30 mins of tape. Drank beer and ate nibbles. Paul Jones was chatting about mystic stuff; Jimmy Page seemed a shy and reserved man (no criticism attended) – I immediately liked him. Robert Plant was young, vibrant (as me at this time being only 19) and a consummate artist. John Bonham didn’t say much. Drummers (for some reason) never seem to do…

    The next day (the concert day) I went down from Radio 6PM located in Rokeby Road, Subiaco (which was a 15-minute walk to (Subiaco Oval) at about 1pm to see the PA system being installed/tested. I had a pass to get in and to my amazement Robert Plant came over to me and saw my Radio pass and asked where he could get a few complimentary tickets for guests he wanted to invite. I politely told him that he needed to speak to the promoter. He smiled, we shook hands and he went back to the sound stage.

    That night it was awesome. As mentioned, the sound was so clear and so very loud that residents within three/four miles complained.

    At the time I was driving an old EK Holden ‘Standard’ sedan that rattled and banged. But, driving home that night, with my ears ringing, it felt like the old EK was a Rolls Royce. I never heard any clunks or rattles.

    I am privileged that I attended the concert and even more so meeting the band in person.

    It amazes me, the reaction of people, when I tell them I saw Led Zeppelin live and even met them. And that Perth concert was so special… They look at me with a mixture of disbelief, envy, longing and mystic. Such is Led Zeppelin.

    I worked at Radio 6PM (Top 40 – #1 – for the 1970’s) and went to most of the concerts (for free) in Perth. Reminiscing from that warm, still, clean-air February evening, until now… Nothing has surpassed that experience: energy; art; professional and gentlemen.

    Find that today?

    Love to all as we age into the mystic…


  5. Drug Test says:

    And this is what I call awesome information. Keep up the good work.

  6. sherill5044 says:

    I’m actually delighted I found this posting. It’s well written plus the information is great. I hope to uncover more like this.

  7. Ian Freeman says:

    Hi all,

    Wow … wish I had known about the reunion. Must have been fabulous! You might remember I did the Peppermint Radio ad campaign and wrote the Sounds of Peppermint with Ross Ryan. Lots of memories. These days I am a lecturer in business and marketing.


    Ian Freeman

  8. John Stephens says:

    I found this site by accident
    I worked at 6PM from the end of 1965 to the middle of 1966 as a control operator under the guidence of Gus Slater. They were good times . I left 6PM to join the RAAF as of all things a radio technician. I remember on my last day Gus taking me (17) to the pub (Charles hotel??) and buying me my last beer as a civilian (under age of course). 6PM was my first job out of school and it launched me into life. 21years in the RAAF, 13 years as a technical officer in a Uni. 7 years overseas a good wife and family. thanks 6PM and Gus.

  9. kristian2452 says:

    Great content in comparison to some of the similar posts I’ve read. Carry on the nice work.

  10. Phil Stevenson says:

    I was in at Radio 6PM one evening. Is was late 1972. It also was Greg Smith’s last on-air DJ shift before he left 6PM to go to Adelaide Radio. Greg was a friend of mine and would go out to dinner with his lovely wife on occasions.
    Subsequently, he stayed in Adelaide and became a well recognised contributor to Adelaide Radio for decades.

    He was introducing Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) by Melanie, and said,
    ‘This one is for all the girls, so you can lay down with a candle’…

    I stormed into the studio and asked him if I had just heard was correct.

    He smiled and said, ‘Well Phil, It’s my last shift’.
    We laughed and I went out and got a six-pack of beer and shared it with him until his shift finished.

  11. Don YATES says:

    How the years travel on … so when is the next 6PM/92.9 reunion?

    Tech March 1976-Jan 1977 with a couple of stints with Miss West Coast
    on the beaches of Perth with the band Breakaway …. very much another era!

  12. Ian Stimson says:

    Radio 6PM did not start broadcasting from Coffee Point as it is posted here.
    6PM started life at Palmyra in 1937 it was the Fourth commercial Radio
    station to go on air in the metropolitan area,after representation to the Member of Fremantle Mr John Curtin he was PM by now,permission was granted to
    move the station to Coffee Point in 1941.

  13. Phil Stevernson says:

    Des McDonald, was Station GM for the early/mid 70’s, after George Chapman. Both were great guys and real Radio dudes.

    In 1971, I was a Control Room Operator, doing a shift on a Saturday, when George arrived and sat in the control room with me. He had been a Control Room operator in his early radio days. I asked him if he would like a warm Granita biscuit with the coffee he was drinking. With his nod, I retrieved a pack of biscuits from behind the back of a Rola full track tape recorder. Valves then, my deal comrades, but they warmed the biscuit pack.

    I also gave George some great ideas, such as the ‘6PM Think Happy’ buttons, that my sister had sent me from the USA. An a ‘Desiderata’ scroll which he duplicated and gave out.

    I got to know Des a bit more. He asked me in 1975, to go to IBM Australia for one year and learn to write a Radio Station computer system. I will always remember what he said to me, ‘From today you will never be unemployed’. And so, it was, as I left 6PM in 1979 to join IBM Australia and later to go on to be the IT Director for Burswood Resort Casino for 14 years.

    I wrote the computer package for my beloved 6PM, which contained many ground-breaking features. Such as, computerised commercial scheduling, music library tracking, APRA returns, accounts, sales info and availability for sessions.

    It was the first software to be written for Australian radio. And so successful that 6PM sold the System to the Macquarie Broadcasting Network. So, I had the prestigious job of installing the system I wrote, at 2WL, 3AW, 2GB and 5DN, over the 1977-79 years. Boy, being 26 years old and being flown 1st Class across Australia (TAA or Ansett), hire cars and Hilton Hotels, with spending money – it was an amazing time. And yes, I had a girl in every port.

    During my time, I loved doing 6PM promotional work on weekends and whenever required. Drove the 6PM double-decker bus on the beaches during summer. Even picked up, at the Perth airport, the cast for ‘Hair’ and a baby 16-year-old Marcia Hines climbing the bus steps.

    Yes, my ten years were dedicated to my employer – Radio 6PM. And I loved George and Des.

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