THERE are big celebrations happening online and around Australia as Nick Erby marks 50 years as a broadcaster.
Now operating his Country Music Radio online, Nick started out as an 18-year-old announcer at 2VM, Moree.
While there, Nick broke the record for the number of hours for a continuous on-air broadcast – a whopping 51 hours – only to have that record broken three weeks later.
He was privileged to board the bus with Charlie Perkins in 1964 for the Freedom Ride tour of rural NSW, reporting on the historic event for Macquarie News.
From Moree, his burgeoning radio career took him to 4GR Toowoomba and 2KM Kempsey, where he worked in all areas of radio including sport, news, sales and administration, before becoming studio, and then program, manager at 2UE. During his time at 2UE, the station was #1 in almost all the listener surveys.
In 1973 Nick produced 2UE’s coverage of the opening of the Sydney Opera House, while continuing to broadcast a full racing service.
In 1975, he became the first general manager of radio station 2CC Canberra, at age 29, also making him the youngest GM in radio.
He was part of a group of broadcasters who covered the Queen’s week-long Silver Jubilee celebrations in London in 1977.
Also in 1977, Nick Erby’s Country Music Jamboree was established to give country exposure on a lot of radio stations and at its peak was heard on more than 80 stations including 2UE Sydney, 3UZ Melbourne and 4KQ Brisbane. The program ran for 20 years.
In the first half of the ’80s, Nick returned to 2UE, hosting midnight-to-dawn for 12 months and then moved to manage the station’s program distribution in preparation for the introduction of satellite delivery.
In 1985 Nick took an extended country music study tour in the US, returning to launch a country format on Melbourne’s 3UZ.
He was invited to move to Tamworth in 1987 to take the helm of the flagship Hoedown program.
During this time Hoedown was expanded to seven nights a week and Nick was heavily involved in 2TM’s management of the annual Country Music Awards and other events associated with the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
After 2TM was sold to the Super Radio Network in the mid-1990s, Hoedown became CMR and was broadcast each weekend on all the Super Radio Network stations until the program was axed in 2000.
That was the impetus that launched Country Music Notes in The Northern Daily Leader, so Tamworth would at least have some regular country music presence, if not on the airwaves, in the local newspaper every week.
In 2000, Nick went to Brisbane to work with indigenous station 4AAA to develop its country music programming.
At the end of 2003, Nick was contracted to bring CMR back to the Super RadioNetwork, where it was broadcast each weekend until Nick moved CMR online in 2008 and began 24-hour streaming with CMR Online.
Since 1989 Nick has been producing and hosting a two-hour countdown of the week’s biggest hits on the country hits countdown.
The countdown has also been carried on a number of radio stations across Australia since 2009.
Country music has become a passion for Nick during his long and distinguished career.
He has been recognised with a number of significant awards, including a Golden Guitar, a CMAA Achiever Award, the inaugural Bugs Bunny Award (presented by Warner Chappell), and Nick is the only broadcaster to be presented with the (American) Country Music Association’s prestigious International Broadcaster of the Year Award twice.
Nick’s contribution to the industry has also been acknowledged by the Tamworth Songwriters Association and the Australian Bush Laureate (Golden Gumleaf) Awards.
While it hasn’t been country all the way for Nick Erby in his half-century on air, it sure has been an interesting ride.
These days he’s based at Banora Point, Queensland, where he lives with wife Lyn Wright, and continues to produce his internet radio program, CMR Online.
To hear some of the best country in the country, visit www.countrymusicradio.com.au
Country Music Notes salutes Nick Erby on his half-century on the airwaves and wishes him many more happy hours promoting and enjoying the music he loves.
EVERYONE loves the VIP treatment occasionally and the good people at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame have devised the ultimate package for fans of great country music.
Fifty premium tickets (all front-rows) at the ACMHOF’s Roll of Renown Concert in January will be offered for the special price of $50, with some very special added extras.
That $50 includes admission to the concert (normally $25), but you also get a bottle of Kitty Crawford port (from a local vineyard); a copy of the 2014 Official Festival Guide; an On The Road CD; an exclusive John Elliott portrait of Slim Dusty, a selection of vouchers from local businesses, and an exclusive invitation to the after-show get-together at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.
But as they say in the TV ads, but wait, there’s more ... each premium ticket holder has a one-in-50 chance of winning a limited-edition, leather-bound copy of Stars, Hurrahs and Golden Guitars (valued at $100), Max Ellis’s unique reflection on Tamworth’s country music history.
Are you excited? I am – and I haven’t even told you yet who’s starring on the show.
How’s this for a line-up? Roll of Renown inductees Ted Egan and Wayne Horsburgh along with Allan Caswell, The Harmonators, Clelia Adams, Brian Howard, Emma Hannah, Kenny Kitching and Samantha Bellamy.
Event co-ordinator Jon Wolfe said he feels the line-up offers an artist to suit every musical taste, making it an all-round, enjoyable, variety-packed program.
“We’re pretty excited about the premium package,” Jon said.
“It’s the first time we’ve offered it and I believe it’s a really valuable bundle. The items alone are worth close to the $100 mark, so we’re hoping it will boost the coffers.
“Every cent we make from this concert goes straight back into preserving the history of Australian country music.”
The show starts at 2pm on Saturday, January 18 and is where you’ll hear the 2014
Roll of Renown inductee announced, along with recipients of the Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame and Hands of Fame.
The concert is held at the historic Tamworth Town Hall, considered by many as “the holy grail of Australian country music”.
Tickets are available from the www.tcmf.com.au website or the Capitol Theatre box office, phone 6766 2028.
Be quick though. Don’t miss out on a bargain.Those seats are sure to sell quickly.