Zan Rowe gets ready to party milestone with co-hosting ABC 90 Celebrate!
Melbourne music broadcaster and podcast Zan Rowe’s relationship with the ABC goes far beyond the national broadcaster being her current employer — it was a big part, and is still a big part, of her family’s life.
“We were the kind of house where it was always locked on to Channel 2 and we would very rarely stray from that,” Rowe reminisces.
“I think that was largely because my parents felt they could trust the ABC, not just with kids’ programming, but with the sort of stories that were being told and with the news that was being reported. It’s just a really trusted storyteller for Australian stories and it’s always been that way.”
Like most children growing up in Australia, Rowe’s earliest memory on the small screen is watching Play School, where her love for John, Benita and Jemima was enduring, as was the show’s ability to inspire her craft sessions with pipe cleaners and toilet rolls.
When she got to her teenage years it became all about listening to Triple J to connect to the youth culture she longed for, to find community and a voice outside of her family.
“Triple J was right there to be that community for me and then through my life, I’ve always been a dyed in the wool viewer, listener and reader, so to be able to work for the ABC is a dream come true,” she says.
As was the news Rowe would be co-hosting ABC 90 Celebrate! alongside Tony Armstrong and Craig Reucassel to mark the ABC’s milestone 90th year.
The trio will lead the celebrations happening across the country from ABC’s Sydney studio in a special live two-hour entertainment television event on June 30.
“As soon as I heard they were both on board, I thought ‘this is going to be fun’,” Rowe laughs.
“I’m good mates with Tony from doing News Breakfast together. I’m on every Wednesday morning and we just hit it off straight away. And Craig I’ve known for years too because he used to do the Triple J drive show, Today Today, and we’ve always had a great rapport.”
Live crosses throughout the evening will take audiences to different locations, studios and community events throughout Australia, with the night of nostalgia including a long list of ABC favourite faces, cast reunions and even a delicious 90th anniversary birthday cake recipe from Maggie Beer to commemorate the occasion.
“We’re going to be digging deep into the amazing ABC archives, probably showing some very funny stuff, I’m sure some incredibly heartfelt stuff and really crossing across all the different ways the ABC tells stories — through news, sport, arts, culture and all kinds of different avenues,” Rowe says.
“They continue to find ways to tell those stories, not just on radio and TV but online and social media platforms, meeting Australians wherever they are.
“We’re so used to streaming services now, but of course iview was a first of its kind and preceded other streaming services by years, in terms of seeing the future and how people were going to interact.”
It comes as no surprise Rowe is looking forward to the night’s music offerings most, following the recent news her Double J in-depth interview podcast Take 5 is getting another life later this year as it is turned into a TV series.
“I know there’s going to be some pretty amazing music performances, and for me, obviously music is a huge part of my life and also my connection to the ABC,” she shares.
“Music has always a huge part of what the ABC does over many, many years, not just on shows like Rage and Recovery but Studio 22 and Take 5 later this year on TV.
“The ABC has always been there for literally 90 years, a lifetime, but sometimes it’s nice to take a step back to recognise it’s something special and we’re really lucky to have it.”
ABC 90 Celebrate! is on 8pm, June 30 on ABC TV and ABC iview.
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