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Radio 4ZZZ and Brisbane’s postpunk explosion

4ZZZ logoJohn Willsteed of Brisbane, Australia is setting up a “live” documentary about the Brisbane music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The performance doc is called “It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity.” A reporter writing about Willsteed’s work places much significance on Brisbane community signal radio 4ZZZ. Tony Moore of the Brisbane Times calls radio 4ZZZ “the most powerful and influential in Australia.”

4ZZZ (“Triple Zed” as it is called) is celebrating its 40th birthday this December. After four years of organizing, it went live on the air on December 8, 1975: Australia’s first community FM broadcaster.

“At the time Australia had the second highest concentration of media ownership in the western world,” its history page notes, “and radio was a form of media that was easily accessible and could help promote the diversity that was so badly needed.”

Wilsteed, former bassist for The Go-Betweens, is writing a doctoral dissertation on the Brisbane postpunk era. He lectures at the Queensland University of Technology.

I wish I could be there for Wilsteed’s show, scheduled for this October. It promises to explore “a lost time, where faces and places and sounds long buried and forgotten, bloom and sway and speak again.”


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