One of Mildura’s longest running radio shows has been axed by the HOT FM after being broadcast continuously from December 1992.
The 45 minute program “In The Theatre” with broadcaster Peter Lang occupied a 10pm Sunday night air time spot for 21 years and became a one hour show at 10am Sundays for the past four years
In a prepared statement Mr Lang said it is with a great deal of sadness that I announce that the "In The Theatre" radio show aired its final program last Sunday.
“The show first aired in December of 1992 and has been presented by myself, every week, voluntarily, since then for a total of 1300 programs in that 25 plus years.”
“I have used the program to promote local theatre and entertain listeners with a wide variety of music from stage and screen, covering everything from Gilbert & Sullivan to current Broadway productions.”
Mr Lang stated that on Tuesday of this week he received a letter from the radio station manager Ivan Behsman who inform me that the Committee had "decided to dispense with the program in its current format" as it "is negatively impacting on the Station's endeavour to increase its listening audience since the introduction of our new adult contemporary/easy listening music format" and "no longer resonates with enough listeners to warrant continuing with it."
He said he was offered an alternative similar program that would be a 30 minute program at 7.00 pm Sunday evening starting on April 8, but the content could only be reviews of current or upcoming shows either from capital cities, Mildura Arts Centre or local theatre and include a movie review, and any music played must be relevant only to the current or upcoming shows and/or the movie being reviewed.
“It was pointed out that if I declined the alternative that the entire "In The Theatre" segment was cancelled immediately.”
Mr Lang’s statement says “I have declined that offer.”
“Community Radio is not meant to be a copy of what is already available on commercial radio,” Mr Lang’s statement said.
“It is supposed to be an opportunity for genres of music that do not get the opportunity to be heard elsewhere.”
“It is there to support the local arts community.”
Mr Lang said It was only a few short weeks ago, at a meeting at the station that it was highlighted that the new format was going well on Monday to Friday, sport was being covered on the Saturday, ethnic programs in the evenings and Sundays were for those different genres of music, such as my program.
“In my 25 years presenting this program I have never heard any negative feedback from listeners, or from the Station itself.”
“I have amassed a wonderful collection of theatre music that will now only heard by my own ears.”
Mr Lang said he had a ew thank you's to make, the first to Max Thorburn, who initially offered me the opportunity, way back in 1992, and for hiscontinued support along the way,
“To the wonderful fellow presenters I met and worked alongside, including Melinda Binding, Geoff Hunt, Paul Scott, Sheryl Pettinau, Steve Burns and any others that slip my memory right now.”
“I would like to thank Mildura’s music historian Glen Dean, for finding some wonderful music for me!
“To the local theatre groups who sent people in to discuss their current productions, may local theatre continue to thrive.”
“And finally to everyone who tuned in and listened, whether it was for just one show, every week, or somewhere in between.”
The statement ended with “And so the curtain falls”
1611AM Old Gold Radio Manager Max Thorburn said that he had been advised on Wednesday night that Mr Lang would not be doing his 10 minute talk segment this week.
After finishing his shift on HOT FM on a Sunday morning Mr Lang, on his way home, would call at the 1611AM studios and do a brief segment and play one old musical number with either Mr Thorburn or Paul Scott, who host the Memorymakers program.
“It’s a bit sad for him as I have known Peter since his days at Maples and have always been impressed by his knowledge of musicals and of course, his devotion as an Elvis fan, ”Mr Thorburn said.