Fox brings former presenters back for 40th birthday celebrations
Melbourne’s Fox FM is celebrating turning 40 by looking back on the presenters, the music and the moments which made the station.
Despite attempting to mark a milestone in a pandemic, the station’s content director Amanda Lee told Radio Today there is no mid-life crisis for “The Fox”.
“I think many who have had big milestones this year probably feel a bit ripped off,” she said, noting the station did plan to have a big party when it actually turned 40 back in August, but COVID-19 kept getting in the way.
So instead of a party, there will be a week-long on-air celebration. From today through to Thursday, the station will play music highlights from the past 40 years, including chart hits and key live moments when artists came into the studio or to the World Famous Rooftop.
Listeners will also reflect on their favourite moments growing up with, or growing old with, The Fox.
It will culminate on Friday with the return of some popular former presenters including Hamish & Andy, Osher Gunsberg (Andrew G when he was on air at the station), Ugly Phil, Tony Martin, Tracy Bartram, Gavin Wood, Barry Bissell, and the Matt & Jo Show.
“[This week] will be a really special week, paying homage to such an iconic brand. So many talent and shows have walked those hallways, and [there’s] just great memories. And I think its going to be a really special week, and really celebrate Melbourne. And that’s what The Fox was always built on, and always has been – being local, truly Melbourne, and very inclusive of our listeners,” Lee said.
Given Melbourne’s prolonged lockdowns though, and many in the city feeling downtrodden and excluded as the rest of the country exercises more freedoms, is the city in the mood for a party?
Lee said with school going back this week, there is a reason for some listeners to celebrate. Plus, she believes nostalgia and remembering a ‘simpler’ time, could be just what Melbourne needs.
“It will be a real walk down memory lane. And I think that’s probably what we indeed right now. I think it’s so dull in Melbourne right now, we’re still in lockdown, so when you hear some of that stuff, it really does put a smile on your face.
“It’s like when you play old-school music, you remember some of that nostalgia for what you were doing at the time. So I think it will give Melbourne a good little smile and laugh.”
Lee said despite Melbourne’s current struggles, and Fox’s fall in the recent radio ratings, what makes the station stand out over time is its connection to the city, and internally, the enduring “Fox Family”.
“I’ve worked at a lot of radio station and other networks as well, and I think what stands out for me is the team, and we do call it ‘The Fox Family’, and it is many, reincarnations of The Fox Family who have – it was a different team I was there last time as well – but it’s this kind of collection of misfits and it just works. It’s so open and open to ideas and it’s a real family who just wants to have fun, and I think that comes out of the speakers as well,” she told Radio Today.
Southern Cross Austereo’s chief content officer, Dave Cameron, has been at The Fox since the 90s, and said it’s always set the benchmark for on-air talent.
“From the very beginning we have engaged with the best, most experienced entertainers in the country who have created some of the best radio in the world. Our breakfast show Fifi, Fev and Byron has never been as connected to our audience than they are in 2020 and they’re going to have a lot of fun celebrating the last 40 years this week,” he said in a statement.