Listen: Robbie Parkin, formerly of The Family Show, recounts some of his earliest School Excursion memories with Ken, Nicky and Steve.
It’s a bit strange looking back at some of the photos of the first school excursions I attended.
All those kids are now grown up and making their way out into the world. Where did the time go!
It was 2008 and I’d just started working for 96five. Even then the school excursion program was a roaring success, with packed school ovals in the chilly pre-dawn of winter testament to how much school communities loved the events.
It wasn’t uncommon for schools to have to wait two years for a live broadcast from their school.
Billy Diehm was one of the original 96five announcers when the station received a temporary full time broadcast licence in 1997, and says the school excursions came out of a desire to connect with school communities in Brisbane.
“We were already going into high schools with our Cool Choices program, which got the students connecting with the station through Nite Alive.”
“We were looking for a way to connect with primary schools and the school excursions were the perfect opportunity.”
Making the school the hero
Though the faces behind the microphones have changed – from Malcolm Pollard and Helen Shield in the very early days, to The Family Show with Liam, Robbie & Ness, and now Ken, Nicky & Steve, the heart has always been the same.
Billy recalls “right from the very start the goal was to make the school the hero. How can we make this the best day in the school year, and highlight what the school was doing in the community.”
Of course there was also the chance for a behind-the-scenes look at how the media works; not only from a radio perspective, but also from the world of TV news.
Our long running partnership with Channel 7 saw many of the station’s personalities arriving in the shiny red 7 News chopper, who would then spend time with the students discussing the news and also the weather. The chopper was the highlight of the day for many students!
Fast forward to May 2019 and 96five are celebrating the 250th School Excursion, this time at Shorncliffe State School.
The school was founded in 1919 and the community are celebrating their centenary this year. The local history is on show just near the school oval with some historic photos of the school and Shorncliffe area.
Melanie Rehm is the principal and says that there are some special celebrations taking place in September. “The students are looking back over the decades and learning dances from each era to present at our centenary fete.”
“They’ll also be writing letters to the future which will be placed in a time capsule, and opened on the 125th anniversary.”
Shorncliffe State School and the suburb both feature a village atmosphere, and it was such an amazing school to celebrate the 250th school broadcast.
Of course there was cake, but everyone really appreciated hearing from former breakfast host Robbie Parkin about the early days of the broadcasts.
“Before we could connect wirelessly, we had to connect back to the studio via a phone line. At one point we had to run the line across a paddock into a farmhouse!”
You can listen to Robbie reminiscing about the early days in the podcast player above, and check out the gallery of the 250th School Excursion below!
You can also look at some photos from over the years here.