Local community youth radio station 105.7 Radio Metro has been at the forefront of the Gold Coast’s electronic music scene since its inception as Hott FM more than two decades ago. The station has been instrumental in bringing festivals, the wildest parties and world-renowned DJs to the Gold Coast. As a community launchpad, they’ve helped numerous locals ascend to careers in broadcast, the music industry and journalism. Earlier this month, Radio Metro celebrated its 21st birthday. We sat down with the team for a trip down memory lane.
Starting out as Hott FM in the late 90’s, Radio Metro was founded by a group of local music enthusiasts who were unhappy with the music being played on the radio on the Gold Coast at the time. Rock and alternative rock were the main offerings, and with a thriving club scene on the Gold Coast, there was increasing demand for dance music and Hip Hop on the radio.
Stevie Z Zakos, volunteer, DJ, and part of the Radio Metro Music Committee, has been with the station since 1998, “In those early days, the station was only given a weekend temporary test broadcast, so it was only on-air midnight Friday to midnight Sunday. Without a lot of radio gear, we put together 8-hour-long video cassettes every week, drove the VCR up to the transmitter in Beechmont and plugged the VCR into the transmitter with a timer to start broadcasting at midnight on Friday. When the 8 hours had played through, it would auto rewind and play again!”.
Radio Metro received its permanent community radio license in November 2001. The shift from operating only on weekends to 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, presented new challenges for the team. “Without computers, all shows were mixed live on air, and all the music was on either CD or vinyl. If you were on air, you couldn’t leave the studio until someone had come in to replace you, which meant some pretty long shifts overnight!” said Stevie Z.
The Gold Coast has always been Radio Metro’s home base. Having set up studios in and around the Bundall area over the past 20 years, they’ve come ‘full circle’ by settling into their current premises on Bundall Road. A stint in Cavill Mall (Surfers Paradise) on the Gold Coast’s ‘Glitter Strip’ in the early noughties meant New Year’s Eve 2000 was one for the history books, “…we had a huge party with massive speakers on the balcony which overlooked Cavill Mall”, remembers Stevie Z.
Part of the Fabric of the Gold Coast Electronic Music Scene
The early 2000s saw the Gold Coast electronic music festival scene thriving, with Radio Metro supporting some of the biggest events in the country, including Two Tribes in 2003, with a line-up that featured international heavyweights Armin van Buuren, Sander Kleinenberg, Layo & Bushwacka and David Morales as well as Summafieldayze 2006, with Carl Cox, Benny Benassi, Evil Nine, Kid Kenobi and Krafty Kuts on deck to name just a few.
A Career Launchpad for Gold Coast Locals
Over the years, the station has provided the perfect learning environment for budding local journalists preparing for careers in broadcast media.
“Now as a national news reporter on Channel 7 Sunrise, I’m forever grateful to Radio Metro for trusting me on the mic, nurturing me and training me to be the confident journo I am today!” says Tamra Bow, who volunteered with the station in 2009.
Gold Coast local Bethany Larsen started with Radio Metro when she was just 16, which led to her scoring a full-time radio role in Adelaide before returning to the Gold Coast, where she now works at Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network.
But for the radio station that’s ‘all about the music’, it would be remiss not to mention the countless DJ and Producer’s careers that have also been kickstarted through Radio Metro, including but certainly not limited to New World Sound, who were catapulted to fame after winning the first ever Radio Metro DJ Competition and who’s track ‘Flute’ has amassed over 27 million plays on Spotify. And Yurie, who, amongst many of her achievements, has recently been announced as an official DJ for this year’s FIFA World Cup. Other notable Radio Metro alumni include Taglo and Kronic.
The station even released its own CD in 2013, mixed by Metro’s Station Manager Vikki Martin-Smith aka VMS Queen Victoria, who has been with the station for 18 years and local Stevie Z.
Radio Metro is showing no signs of slowing down and will continue to provide the Gold Coast community with the opportunity to be involved in the provision and programming of an extremely popular local community radio station. To bolster its continuing support for local artists and aspiring broadcasters, the station has plans to launch a second channel. While the details of this remain on the down low, one thing is for sure, even after 21 years, 105.7 Radio Metro remains a locally run, programmed and operated community radio station and will continue to be so for many years to come.