If you feel embarrassed laughing out loud while reading, don’t buy The Bazz & Pilko Years.
Radio legend Barry Ion’s sidekick Peter Plus takes a sentimental journey through the radio phenomenon that was “Bazz and Pilko”.
Ion had teamed up with Tony Pilkington in 1976 at 5AD – what followed was extraordinary by every measure of radio.
The pair went close to number one in the first ratings survey and then sat on top in every survey for the next nine years. It was front-page news when they pulled the pin and headed to Sydney, the toughest radio market in the business.
Within a year, Bazz and Pilko were on the front page of Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph, having conquered the biggest names in the business to take 2UW to the top of the breakfast ratings.
They stayed in the harbour city until 1991, when they returned to Adelaide and started on FiveAA.
There they stayed until 21 years of early starts took its toll and at the end of 1996 Bazz pulled the pin, while Pilko went to Mornings with Leigh McClusky and later back to brekkie with Keith Conlon.
I remember reminiscing with Pilko one day in the FiveAA corridors: “We rated in the ’30s, you know – no one had ever done that and no one’s been near it since,” he said.
I’ve never heard a better radio program – nothing near it.
It pioneered the Phantom Phone Call, launched Peter Plus into iconic status as SA’s most famous short-arse, and set the standard for breakfast radio as entertainment.
The behind-the-scenes view through the eyes of Peter Plus serves as a bloody good laugh and a fascinating insight into old Adelaide; it leaves you wishing they were back.
As a bonus, late in the book you’ll discover who carved out Maree Man in the outback.
The last line of Plussie’s book says: “Bazz and Pilko have seldom met or talked since the day they parted.”
It sounds like a plea for the two radio giants to resume the partnership – off air, at least.
The Bazz & Pilko Years was launched last week and is available at Dillons, Book Boys, Mitcham Books and Dulwich Newsagency or via online order at www.bazzandplussy.com.au.
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