In 1969, in his final year at school, Dave Perkins became part of a program on local radio station 6VA Albany called “High School Half Hour” with fellow students who included Rodd Ryan who went onto become a recording artist with songs like “I Am Pegasus”. However, he was focused on joining the air force like his father before him. When he missed out on that career for medical reasons, he applied for and secured a job at 6VA as the night announcer.
6VA was “more ABC than the ABC” with gongs played between shows, programs like “Hospital Hour” every day – and the station did actually take the ABC News – which helped Dave learn to time-up to the news!
In 1971, he applied for an on-air position at 6GE Geraldton. These were great days with memories like being the drive-time announcer and standing out the street at 5.20 and waiting for a rep from the Geraldton Guardian News to drive past and throw the paper onto the driveway, then racing back into the studio and going to air reading the 5.30 news from a broadsheet paper hitting the microphone when you flicked the pages to go to the sport stories!
Around a year later, he applied for the job as Program Director for 6WB/BY Katanning in the WA wheat belt. He drove into Katanning trying to find the station and was directed to a farm about 10kms out of town where he met the manager, the sales manager (the manager’s wife) – and that was it. Just three people – but he had his first PD job!
In 1972, Dave secured a job at 6TZ-NA-CI Bunbury which was part of a network that also included 6PR in Perth. He moved into music and programming, but was also given the opportunity to do the 6pm to midnight shift on 6PR on Sunday nights – as well as working 6 days a week at 6TZ.
The effort paid off and Dave was offered a position at 6PR, starting on midnight to dawn and eventually working all the shifts including breakfast and mornings. He had an absolute passion for music and became known as the “musical encyclopedia” in the Perth market.
He was also lucky enough to learn from wonderful music people like Cherie Romaro and took over from her as Music Director and eventually at age 21 became the station’s Program Director under the iconic and flamboyant Rhett Walker. The late programming guru took the station from high rotation pure rock to the “Gentle On Your Mind” format which saw massive ratings success.
In the mid-70’s, radio stars Martin and Watts moved into 6PR and changed the station to a sports and racing station. Dave moved on to 6IX where he worked with great names like Tony Barber, Leon Byner and Gordon Elliott before moving back to the South West and what was now GWN Radio with owners Jack Bendat and Kerry Stokes.
In 1980, he decided to leave radio and start his own advertising agency, Movin’ Out Advertising and Promotions, a name taken from the radio show he hosted on 6PR Perth and GWN Radio. The business built to a point where it had clients in Perth and the south west of the state.In 1982, John Hubbard, an old radio mate from 6VA who lived in the same street when they were kids in Albany, called Dave and asked if he’d be interested in getting back into radio at 4TO Townsville in a fill-in role while the station’s star announcer, Rory Nash was on holidays. He accepted, did the morning talk-back program until Mr. Nash returned - and left the station, returned to WA and came back in a full time role at the 4TO as PD and morning announcer.It’s impossible to do justice to those years other than to say they were magical times!
In 1982, John Hubbard, an old radio mate from 6VA who lived in the same street when they were kids in Albany, called Dave and asked if he’d be interested in getting back into radio at 4TO Townsville in a fill-in role while the station’s star announcer, Rory Nash was on holidays. He accepted, did the morning talk-back program until Mr. Nash returned - and left the station, returned to WA and came back in a full time role at the 4TO as PD and morning announcer.
It’s impossible to do justice to those years other than to say they were magical times!
In 1984, 4TO’s manager and Dave’s good friend, Kevin Turner was lured to the rival station 4AY and before long, he followed Kevin to 4AY as Assistant Manager and PD. They tried every format possible including country music, but it wasn’t until another radio icon in Nigel Milan moved in that things started to click.
In February 1987, 4AY was rebranded as 4RR and for the first time in many years became a real competitor to 4TO – and Dave married the beautiful Tracy on June of that year! In late 1987, he was lured back to 4TO as Assistant Manager and PD – and returned to an on air role in the morning show.
The ratings improved and in the 1988 Australian Bicentennial Pater Awards, Dave was awarded the Pater for the Best Morning Regional Broadcaster in South East Asia!
In late 1989, Dave applied for and was successful in being appointed as General Manager of Radio 4MK Mackay. In those days, there were only two radio stations, 4MK and the ABC, both on the AM band, although 4MK had an FM translator station at Airlie Beach, apparently the first FM translator in Australia.
In 1992, he left the station to start Dave Perkins Advertising, but was never far away, returning to an on air role in semi-permanent or casual positions at 4MK or sister station ZINC over the next 24 years.
In 2004, Dave stood for local government and was elected to the then Mackay City Council. In 2007, he and wife Tracy made the critical decision to sell their very successful advertising and marketing company, Dave Perkins Advertising Pty Ltd so that he could focus on being re-elected in the 2008 election that saw the amalgamation of three councils, Mackay, Sarina and Mirani.
He was successful and in 2012, stood for his 3rd term as a councillor and received the highest number of votes of all candidates.
While he enjoyed his councillor role and was planning on standing again in March 2016, his first love has always been radio and in 2016, he celebrates 18 consecutive years hosting the Saturday morning program on 4MK.
He has always believed that to survive in an increasingly diverse market where mainstream media like print and television are facing major challenges from social media and a range of different visual platforms, live radio is what will keep the industry in the forefront of people’s minds.
Dave remains totally committed to his family, his music, is a proud member of Pioneer Valley Rotary and continues to be involved in a range of groups and organisations.