Stan Rofe

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Stan 'The Man' Rofe (30 May 1933 – 16 May 2003) was an Australian rock'n'roll disc jockey. He played the first rock and roll music on Melbourne radio 3KZ in 1956 and was a champion of Australian music.

Career[edit]

Stan Rofe was born in Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne. He was a student at Faraday Street State School in Carlton and later at Collingwood Technical School.[citation needed]

As a very young child Rofe was a fan of radio station 3KZ.[citation needed] His favourite announcer was Norman Banks who set the trend for radio announcers in the forties. To impersonate Banks Rofe would use kitchen pots for reverberation effects. This rehearsal went on for many years. Rofe's mother encouraged him to pursue a radio career.[citation needed]

Rofe commenced work at sixteen and a year later he was teaching ballroom dancing and was a member of the Victorian Square Dance Championship Team that was third in their national competition. At eighteen Rofe was called up for three months national service training, which was followed by four years in the Citizens' Military Forces.[citation needed]

In 1953, after three days tuition at the Bill Roberts Radio School, a position was secured with 7AD in Devonport, Tasmania. After a few weeks Rofe was made Chief Announcer. He recalled that, "it was a frightening experience that was too quick to worry about".[this quote needs a citation]

Returning to Melbourne, Rofe became an announcer with 3AK in 1956, before moving to 3XY alongside Bert Newton when the station broadcast out of the Princess Theatre in Spring Street. He then moved to 3KZ.[citation needed]

Rofe commenced in an afternoon trial slot combining popular music with listener’s requests. Rofe also presented "Call up KZ", which required listeners to identify recordings. Phil Gibbs, the program manager of 3KZ, gave Rofe the opportunity to call night football games at South Melbourne football ground.[citation needed] On occasions he would broadcast with Phil Gibbs and Harry Mueller at Saturday games. Rofe was one of only seventeen Australian Federation of Commercial Broadcasting accredited commentators for the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956.[citation needed]

At the end of the 1956 Olympics Rofe was presenting "Spin for the Stars" and was intrigued as to how DJ John Laws was securing American record releases.[citation needed] These records were often on the Memphis-based Sun label featuring artists such as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Rofe incorporated these recordings into "Spin for the Stars", where they were mixed with songs by Perry Como, Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Doris Day and Frank Sinatra. So at the end of 1956 Rofe was introducing rock-n-roll to Melbourne radio.[citation needed] He got access to the latest sounds after organising for Qantas pilots to bring in singles from the United States and Britain.[citation needed]

Rofe went on to work at 3KZ in the Trades Hall building in Carlton for eight years until Les Heile took over as General manager and changed 3KZ into a limp, middle-of-the road station.[citation needed] Rofe moved to 3UZ, returning to 3XY as music director in the 1970s. He was known as 'Stan the Man' and well known for his 'Hi-de-hi, Victoria!' at the start of his broadcasts. He later broadcast on 3DB and finally was heard on Gold-FM, the successor to 3KZ.[citation needed]

He made forays into TV, appearing on Uptight and Happening 70, and his popularity peaked in 1968 when he was crowned Prince of Moomba.[1] [2]

Legacy and influence[edit]

He helped start Johnny O'Keefe's career when he was the first DJ to play O'Keefe's first record, "You Hit the Wrong Note Billy Goat", and recommending he cover the Isley Brothers' "Shout", which became JOK's signature hit.[citation needed]

Johnny Chester, Ronnie Burns and Russell Morris and Normie Rowe all credit Rofe for advice and direction.[citation needed]

"He would encourage young groups to pursue their careers, and he would try and find a gig for them through the influential promoters he knew," said Ian Meldrum, whom Rofe dubbed "Molly" (after office boy Frank Howson suggested the name) when they worked together at Go-Set magazine. "At times he would actually pay money out of his own pocket, which today is unheard of."[this quote needs a citation]

Rofe actually produced a single for Frank Howson, "Seventeen Ain't Young" that made the Melbourne charts.[citation needed]

"He was an exceptional, warm man", said singer Russell Morris, who credits Rofe for suggesting he do a cover of "Hush", the first hit for his band, Somebody's Image. "He was such a huge star, but his door would always be open for any 16-year-old kid who came into his studio with a record."[this quote needs a citation]

In 1994, Rofe's services to the music industry were honoured when the Australian Record Industry Association presented him with a special achievement award.[citation needed]

At his funeral service on Wednesday 21 May 2003, more than 200 people attended the Trinity College chapel in Parkville, Victoria and they heard Rofe eulogised as a friend, a brother, an uncle, a mentor, a passionate supporter of Australian artists and an even more passionate supporter of the Essendon Football Club.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Craig Bellamy, Gordon Chisholm and Hilary Erikson, (2006), Moomba: A festival for the people Available on-line at: http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/rsrc/PDFs/Moomba/History%20of%20Moomba.pdf p 26 PDF
  2. ^ Roy Rofe, Ian Allen, Bob Hayden, Legendary Australian R & R Disc Jockey passes away. Accessed at: http://www.rockabillyhall.com/ThatsNewToMe11.html