In Sydney the first stations to play Rock'n'Roll were 2SM and
2UW and the Top 40 format came to Australia in early 1959
when 2UE was the first station to adopt it. 3UZ did the
same in Melbourne.It was later picked up by other stations in other
Basically this meant that 40 records were chosen by the station to
be played over and over, with another few, possibly up to 40 also getting
lesser play. Up until this time announcers either chose their music
content as they wished or based on requests. The libraries were open
to them and the program could be changed 'on the fly' simply by running
to the librray to get the desired record.
Recording artists were frequently interviewed and their records were
played without having to be promoted by 'major' lables or being on a
'best selling' list. This allowed listeners to hear new artists or new
material by well known artists.
Most of this died when a single programmer employed by the station,
decided what each announcer played in their programs. Much the same
as it is now, they were given a list of songs they had to play, based
on criteria the station decided upon. This could have included 'supposed
sales' in selected stores, promotion by the record company, requests
by listeners or even favourtism to certain artists for one reason or
Whilst those who have succeeded because of it, hail it as the 'best'
thing that ever happened to radio programming, others define it as the
single most defining thing to kill the recording industry. This was
because it severly limited the amount of new talent and previously successful
artsists, to get major station play for their new records. Most staions
also ceased interviewzx with artists.
Over the years many other stations had variations of the Top 40 and
at times their versions of the Hit Parade were more important and truthful
than the original Top 40 itself.
Because of the above, once an artists falls or is pushed off the 'best
seller' list, they maybe never got radio play again. This limits their
chance of performances and consequently a lessor life style or even
their total income ceases.
Once it was established that people other those who buy the 'latest
sellers' still wanted to hear 'their' style of music, formats that empasised
Classic Oldies Golden music came into being. These formats are based
on a format that goes back maybe 25 years and plays what it considers
are the most popular records of that time. This format means that every
years more songs drop off their play lists due to the 25 year period
Looking back from this year 2008, 25 years only takes us back to 1983.
So what about the great songs of the 50's, 60'and 70's? It means that millions of people over 45 years old have had to forgo
the chance to hear the favourites of their youth. This is why Community
Radio has been the saviour of music styles pre that time.
They have programs that present many music styles that are starved
from the stronger major stations! They are manned mainly by non professional
announcers who simply love their muisc and who know many others do as
These stations get very little funding from governments and seriously
rely on donations and advertisments.
You can can help your station survive to give you more of what 'you'
want, by offering a donation of money or services and if you are a
business, buying some very reasonabley priced adds on your favourite
These stations are there for you, not for advertisers, shareholders
or millionaire owners.
Check out who your local station is here, find out when they play your
kind of music, then listen in and request.
Let them know you are there for them!