Brisbane’s independent music radio station 4ZZZ FM hits its 40th birthday this year. (The actual 40th anniversary of the first broadcast is not until 8th December, but it’s something worth building up to!) It was the first community radio and first FM radio station in Queensland. At the time FM – being in stereo, as opposed to the mono sound of the traditional AM band – was a bit of a thing for music buffs.
The nature of radio and the way music is produced – in particular the various ways people access music – has changed immeasurably since 1975, and some things that ZZZ used to be unique for are not so much the case these days. Things started to change when the ABC’s youth radio JJJ started to go national in the 1980s. Since then there has been the development of music specific platforms online such as Spotify, Last FM and Rdio, the ability to listen to most radio stations online from anywhere, the genre specific websites and programs that can all be accessed online, the distribution of music through iTunes and sites bands can upload their music to like Soundcloud, not to mention plain old email – there are any number of spaces and places to access all sorts of music of pretty much any style imaginable. Despite all this, 4ZZZ still has a number of very good genre, theme and issue specific programs, some of which are building followings from people all around the world.
But one thing which ZZZ does which is not like anywhere/anything else is the focus it can and does give to local bands and performers from around Brisbane/South East Queensland. The amount of local music ZZZ plays these days is much greater than it was 25-40 years ago – which is just as well, as there is also so much more recorded music around (another thing that has changed hugely over that time).
Just going through the 60+ local acts on the list of Hot 100 songs of 2014 which ZZZ listeners just voted on, there is so much good stuff, including a few which I hadn’t come across yet. The range of genres is very wide as well – from the more traditional heavy/blues/stoner rock and punk, to jazz, folk, alt-pop, indie, electronic, alt-country, garage, hip-hop, prog-rock, funk & R&B, shoegaze, industrial, gypsy and post-rock. And that’s just from the 60 or so local bands that made the cut! If you’re from south-east Queensland and you want to hear what sorts of sounds and culture is being produced from within your community, 4ZZZ is the place to go. The station is at FM102.1 on the dial, or you can listen from anywhere online through http://www.4zzzfm.org.au/listen-online. There is also Zed Digital – a separately broadcast digital radio station.
As part of celebrating that, and to do my bit to build up to the fortieth anniversary in December, I’m going to try to regularly/continually post tunes/videos by Brisbane bands on this site. So look out for them – and feel free to suggest any local performers I should look out for or recommend.