2009. Brisbane's 150th as a city, Queensland's 150th as a state and Brisbane TV's fiftieth. If one were to pick the greatest moments of our TV industry, our list would be full of interstate imports. But if you restricted that list to moments that affected Queenslanders or brought Queensland to the world, it would be a fine list. So here is my top 10 moments over the last fifty years.
10. State Of Origin rugby league. This annual event started in 1980, as a single game, but has evolved to become a fully fledged Queensland tradition, usually drawing the highest ratings of the year in Brisbane. All three Brisbane commercial stations have aired the series in the past, with the current rights holder being Channel 9.
9. Brisbane Lions first premiership in 2001 (Seven) AFL football has had trouble gaining a foothold in Queensland, with the code until the late 1990's, not getting good enough crowds and TV ratings compared to the Broncos in the NRL. In 2001, a shocking thing happened, the Brisbane Lions (formed from a merger in 1996 between, the Brisbane Bears and Melbourne's Fitzroy Lions) rampaged through the finals qualifying for their first grand final, then one of the players won a Brownlow Medal, and finally, beat the reigning premiers Essendon. As a result, the Lions were bringing the AFL premiership cup north of the Murray River for the first time (and starting a interstate premiership dynasty that lasted until 2007.)
8. 1997 SuperLeague grand final. (Nine) In the mid 1990's, the Super League war had split the ARL. In the only year of a split rugby league competition, Nine had rights to both the Superleague and ARL grand finals, and free-to-air rights to both competitions. The most unique part of the Super League grand final was that there were two firsts, one being that it was held in Brisbane not Sydney (at then-ANZ Stadium), the other being that it was held at night. The Brisbane Broncos were on home turf and beat Cronulla to win the only-ever Super League title. By 1998 however, the two competitions were reunited as the NRL.
7. TVQ's involvement at Expo 88. (TV0/Brisbane Ten) There are four moments to come out of Expo 88 on this list, but this one was innovative. TVQ-0 (later TVQ-10) moved their entire production operation (news, playout, local production) off Mount Coot-tha for six months as part of Expo 88. The studios were located inside the Queensland pavilion, and became part of life at Expo, and life in Network Ten's schedule, as national morning news bulletins, and Brisbane's own Living with Ian Skippen (which was axed in late 1988) were for the duration of Expo, being produced in these studios. The most unique element was that Expo visitors could watch the news bulletin/programming being produced. What TVQ pioneered at Expo, has affected considrebly the way we see news in Australia.
6. The Australia Day 1974 floods and it's effects on the ABC. (ABC) Brisbane's commercial television stations all set up on One Tree Hill (another name for Mt Coot-tha), instead of closer to the city like in other capitals, the only one not to do this was the ABC which set up studios on the riverside in the inner Brisbane suburb of Toowong. It was a weird decision and it would learn the consequences the hard way in January 1974 when Cyclone Wanda struck Brisbane. The Brisbane River rose, and flooded the Toowong facility, causing damage to film records of the first 15 years of Brisbane's ABC TV station.
5. Brisbane moving from 0 to 10 in 1988. (Brisbane Ten) For the first twenty three years of operation, TVQ was on channel 0, a low channel on the VHF band, which had reception issues, which also plagued ATV-0 in Melbourne (which switched to 10 in 1980). TVQ was sold by then owners Qintex in 1987 (after purchasing rival station BTQ-7), to Darling Downs Television for $123 million. The new owners pledged to switch their new acqusition on 0 with their channel number, 10 to receive better reception in Brisbane at the expense of their station getting channel 0. So during Expo, people were being urged to "Come across" to 10, up until September 10 1988 when TV0 became Brisbane Ten, of which the public usage of "Brisbane" was later dropped, to become just Ten.
4. Exodus from the ABC Toowong studios in 2006. (ABC) Toowong for the ABC had its share of bad luck, flooded in '74, hail damaged in 2003, but the biggest by far was the ABC's abandonment of the Toowong facility in late 2006, due to a cancer cluster. As a result the ABC's Brisbane staff are spread all over the city, with the ABC TV newsroom based at TVQ-10, the Brisbane ABC radio operation based in Lissner St, not far from the old studios. The ABC has been doing a stringent search since then, to build the new home for ABC Queensland, so everyone can be under one roof again.
3. The Expo 88 opening ceremony. (TV0) As host broadcaster, TVQ had to produce the Expo opening ceremony broadcast, for nearly 800 million viewers, with Network Ten's Kerri-Anne Kennerly and Tim Webster from Good Morning Australia (back when it competed with 9's Today) anchoring the celebration that Brisbane came in droves to see unveiled, after nearly two years preparation.
2. The 1982 Commonwealth Games. (ABC and Nine) The original city booster, the 1982 Commonwealth Games was aired both on the ABC and Channel 9, which gave Brisbane viewers a lot to focus on, when they wer'nt at QEII or Chandler cheering Aussies on. It also gave rise to the "Love You Brisbane" campaign on 7 while channel 0 had "Hello Brisbane" (not the Frank Gari version that HSV in Melbourne used in 1985) to boost civic pride alongside the Brisbane City Council's "Shine On Brisbane" which was aimed at getting Brisbane spick and span for the world's arrival.
1. The Expo 88 Closing Ceremony. (Brisbane Ten) It was the farewell Brisbane didn't want to say. After six months, nearly 18 million visitors, and millions of memories, the carnival that was World Expo 88 was over. Brisbane viewers tuned in, as well as the people who stood on the Riverside Expressway, and oversaw a glittering closing ceremony. It had everything, from then PM Bob Hawke, to The Seekers (with Julie Anthony filling in for Judith Durham) singing "The Carnival is Over", Expo's entertainers getting their moment, Sir Llew's farewell speech, a sole trumpeter playing "Waltzing Matilda", while the flags of all the participants came down followed by a fireworks display to culminate Brisbane's finest hour.
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