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Rock Arena 9/9/85

I couldn't sleep this morning and I wasn't interested in what was on this week's retro month so at 02:40 I went to the gym (Anytime Fitness 24 hour) and they had V Hits (Foxtel) on the big screens (with sound). I put the screen on one of the treadmills onto ABC1 (no sound) so I could keep track of what was on Rage. Hitscene was on.

The workout was going real good, V Hits played a few good songs. After a while I looked at the treadmill screen and up came my worst nightmare. On Rock Arena was that AWFUL clip from The Young Docteurs with the band members going around in a circle. As a Canberra resident in 1985/86 I can remember having this clip flogged to death on the local midnight to dawn rock video show Rock Till Dawn over and over. It was also shown on the local ABC several times as well as Rock Arena.

I'd managed to drive it out of my mind but seeing it on the screen brought it all back. Little wonder Rock Arena was one of my least favourite shows back then.

Re: Rock Arena 9/9/85

What is a Canberra midnight to dawn rock video show, Rock Till Dawn, what's channel does it on whether could it the local ABC or CTC Channel 7 and how many years does the series ran for when it's on in the 1980s?

Re: Rock Arena 9/9/85

Rock Till Dawn was shown on CTC7 (then known as Capital 7) during 1985 and 1986. CTC was Canberra's only commercial TV station at the time. They usually closed transmission at about 12 midnight but on Friday night thru to Saturday morning they showed Rock Till Dawn. It was hosted by a local disc jockey on 2CC (there was no commercial FM in Canberra then). The program was advertised on the back of ACTION buses.

The playlist was fairly narrow consisting of Rock Arena-style music, although the occasional pop clip such as Live It Up (Mentals) and Say You, Say Me (Lionel Ritchie) was played. In early 1986 I started at the University of Canberra and wrote a regular Rock History feature in the student newspaper, and as a result they began playing some retro stuff including House of the Rising Sun (The Animals).

In late 1986 they took the show off air without warning, and I thought it was because I told someone at the uni bar that I taped videos off it. Three years later I had a temp job in the Department of Social Security (pre-Centrelink) and worked with a former employee of Capital 7. He told me Rock Till Dawn was terminated not because of me taping the clips, but because the station was fed up with trying to deal with record companies which were getting fairly narky with licensing fees. In June 1987 this all came to a head with the pay for play controversy which took all the rock video shows off the air for two months (Countdown and Sounds were also axed during this period). Rage had only started at the beginning of 1987 and it was largely because of the negotiating skill of ABC boss David Hill that a compromise with the record companies was arrived at and Rage and Rock Arena returned to the ABC.