Live Aid, Dire Straits and being the first radio station in australia to play CDs.
It was the 16-hour ‘super concert’ which more than 75 acts, including Queen, Run DMC, Paul McCartney, Madonna and Elton John, to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken countries of Africa.
Live Aid kicked off in 1985 on two stages: Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, where more than 150,000 watched in-person.
However, 13 satellites beamed the broadcast live to TVs and radios across the globe – one of the largest-scale broadcasts of all time – with an estimated audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 countries.
If you heard the concert broadcast on the radio in Perth, it was on 96FM.
“That was fascinating,” 96FM Managing Director Gary Roberts recalled.
“It was one of those significant events that took place that the moment we heard about it we wanted to be part of it.”
Roberts said that the radio station, together with Seven, chased the Live Aid organisers down, saying they wanted in – they wanted to broadcast it live.
“Technically, at that time, that was almost impossible,” he said.
“However, we managed to get it together to the point where we could do it live, so we did.”
In the lead-up, there was a lot of promotion about Live Aid, the reason for it being and that Bob Geldof was such a key part, it was an event that 96FM got Perth to be a part of on an international basis.
“And my God it was worthwhile, such a significant event around the world,” Roberts remarked.
“There are so many good stories about Live Aid and what was achieved, and it significantly changed was a lot of people thought, which I thought was a great result.
“I still like the Phil Collins story where he played in London then jumped on a plane, went straight to New York and played there as well!”
Closer to home, 96FM broke a huge amount of international and local acts.
Case in point: The Black Sorrows.
“The Black Sorrows were doing well, but they were making more money coming to Perth than anywhere else in the country,” Roberts said.
“Everyone wanted to go see The Black Sorrows, and that had a lot to do with the fact that we went deep on their first album and promoted the living daylights out of them because they were a fantastic Australian act.”
It was also the 1980s, when everyone headed to the pub to listen to music, which most were cover bands.
“But a lot of people who were around in the ‘80s remember seeing INXS at The Raffles and AC/DC when they would play pubs, all that sort of stuff. Every night at 6pm, 96FM would do a gig guide - who was playing where at what pubs because that’s where the music was.”
96FM also broke bands in other ways, one being Dire Straits.
“We were the first to play their CDs on radio in Australia, we got a nice little award for that, actually,” Roberts said before going a step further by saying 96FM was the first station in Australia to even play CDs.
And it didn’t sound easy.
“We got a pair of the top-of-the-range Marantz CD players which the guys on the air had to use a remote for them,” Roberts said.
“But the quality and the sound that we were then broadcasting actually improved and was better than the vinyl we had on the air and also, music was changing and progressing very quickly so the more CDs we could play the better off we were.
“No one else was doing it.”