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John Vincent. A True Radio Legend

Recently on Adelaide Remember When Facebook page, friend and former radio colleague Andrew Heslop shared some memories of the late John Vincent, radio star and a true legend in the industry.

“Who remembers Vinnie’s Magical Misery Tours’?  wrote Andrew. “These were a big part of the SAFM Morning Zoo’s success as John Vincent led a group of listeners to some of Adelaide’s (allegedly) least popular attractions on a chartered STA bus.

One time he even brought them to 5DN 972, marching people through the front door at Tynte Street, down the corridor past the on-air studios and out the back door to The Wellington Hotel and Wellington Square.

Today’s big group FM breakfast shows began in Adelaide as Double SAFM pioneered a new style of radio in Australia which maximised the rich, clear sound of FM.

Did you listen to Vinnie, Jane Reilly, Grant Cameron and newsreader Greg Meyer at The Source? Did you ever go on a Magical Misery Tour? And where did you end up? The Bolivar Sewage Treatment Works were a popular destination”!

John Vincent during his SAFM days.

John Vincent during his SAFM days.

Many other people recalled the programme and of course John’s alter-ego Ken Oath and some of his better known recordings including “How Ya Goin’ Allright”, “Havin a Barbie’ and the garbos song “Mondays Collection Day’.

Still others remembered his work as a DJ at the Fiesta Villa and some of the sound bites on ‘The Morning Zoo’ of Paul Keating (aka Paul Bearer) saying,” Morning scumbags, get out of bed and earn some tax!”

Mind you, John’s career had been well and truly established and very successful even before the SAFM show. Having originally started in country radio, John moved to Adelaide and 5AD sometime in the mid 60s. He was already well established as a firm favourite there when I joined the station in 1970. By then he had covered most of the shifts and had settled down into an afternoon time slot. I recall how he always opened the programme with “Hello listener” because as he once explained to me, he did his programme for each person who was listening to him.

In the early 70s a new programme manager called Paul Thompson arrived in Adelaide at 5KA, heard John on the radio at AD and immediately poached him for his new line up. Paul was a programming genius who created ‘Earth Station 5KA’ and took it to the top of the ratings before assuming the role as manager of the newly opened FM station ‘SSAFM’. He created the ‘morning zoo’ breakfast programme which was led by Vinnie and eventually became the number one breakfast show on Adelaide’s airwaves.

John had been plagued with serious health problems for most of his life and he found the pace of radio affecting his wellbeing, eventually retiring from the airwaves in the 90s. He died in 2009.

Vinnie was one of the truly great personalities of Adelaide radio and the greatest guy you could ever meet! He was talented, funny, un-assuming, a great friend to everyone and we all still miss him!!

R I P John Vincent.

19 Responses to John Vincent. A True Radio Legend

  1. ian tige September 16, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    yes john was a great radio announcer and sung some good light hearted songs, I have one in my collection called “jungle music” listed as john vincent and Celsius 69 almost live at the findon hotel, which I often play on my sunday morning community radio show…R.I.P john

  2. tony becker November 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    What a great man and funny too…I bought the record “what do you expect for $2.95..way way back…I cant google anything about it or find it on youtube or anything …..I play his stuff regularly on community radio …what year was it released ?? etc etc

    • Paul Roberts December 1, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

      Hi Tony I worked at the Findon Hotel doing the lighting and audio during the 70’s and had the pleasure of working with Vinnie. I also did the audio recording of “Live at the Findon” which was recorded in 1974 but not released as an album until 1977 after being equalized and compressed to improve the quality.
      I have fond memories of those times.
      Paul Roberts

      • Paul Roberts December 8, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

        I do beleive there may have been an EP/single released during this period as well.

  3. Mike from the NE suburbs April 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    I can remember when it was SSAFM and even written down as Double SAFM. Vinnie was one of the main reasons why I listened to SAFM (along with Pembo and Daisy), and I loved the morning Zoo. My favourite part of the show back then was Chicken Man, which I think Vinnie must have used to own because later when he had a 1 hour slot after 7.00pm on 5AA in the late 90’s??? he used to play Chicken man then as well. Having said this, my all time favourite part of SAFM was Breakfast with the Beatles on Saturday Mornings in the 80’s and also when SAFM played every Beatle song ever in alphabetical order in a marathon that I think went for over 12 hours straight. Ok now I just remembered that my all time favourite reason for loving to listen to SAFM as a music station when I was a young man was, I was also lucky enough to win around $1800 on the 107 card cash draw in around 1991. Radio stations are just not the same these days!

  4. julie April 4, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

    This man was so much of m teenage life. the man that mad me laugh when i had to go to school/ work thank you john

  5. ash royal October 8, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    ‘Take me back to Inaminka’ was one of my favorite tunes..

  6. Mike Micanopy December 14, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    John’s all time favourite song was Honky Tonk Women. He had some taste.

    For a while in the late 80s he liked to play a terrific humorous song called “I’m A Blonde” by an American called Julie Brown. Must try to find that if it’s available ….

  7. Lynette December 20, 2017 at 2:13 am #

    Is this the same John Vincent of “‘Ow ya goin’ Santa Claus? My Dad used to play this nearly every Christmas when I was a kid. And of “Goin’ OS”? It seems to be ,but the voice sounds so different between these two songs. Did he just sing differently?

    • Steven Brayshaw November 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm #

      Certainly is.

  8. Barb August 22, 2018 at 9:48 am #

    I remember going to Fiesta Villa (Fiesta Villa is Groovy) and seeing Vinnie there. I met him when I won the SA FM Juke Box From Hell competition – he was a very funny man. I still have my jacket from the competition but the Jukebox is long gone. Vale Vinnie thanks for all the great memories of the Morning Zoo, you brightened the trip to work. I loved his Aussie rendition of I’m Dreaming of a Hot Christmas….where the blowflies glisten…..

  9. Mike Harris October 24, 2019 at 6:39 pm #

    BTW: It was “Life Station 5KA”:

    • Robert Gibbs November 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Mike, there were two major campaigns for the station: The Life Station & The Earth Station. Both with amazing songs & jingles written for them. But Ive never been able to find the one for ‘the earth station’ campaign. Hoping someone might help. Cheers, Robert

  10. Steven Prime May 18, 2020 at 1:22 pm #

    Does anyone remember SAFM in the late 80’s I think releasing a comedy tape, it was very funny and they sold it from the SAFM building at the time in the city i think it was,
    If anyone still has a working copy I would love to hear it and maybe organise to have it converted to an MP4 or similar.

  11. Garry Williams September 13, 2020 at 5:13 pm #

    Was bass player with Gamble and did some tracks withJohn at 5KA studios. The KenOath Ockerstra.Got payed with cartons of beer. Band comprised of Claude Pompilli, Rick Phillips and Trevor Saunders. Did several gigs with John at the Findon early 80s.

  12. Geoff McCulloch May 17, 2021 at 6:53 am #

    John Vincent is a legend. I know Mick Kidd, a very successful Blues singer these days in Adelaide and surrounds. He was the Lead Guitarist on Live at the Findon. A mate of mine Chris Roberts and I always say we are the Ken Oath fan club at Murray Bridge in South Australia. Chis can sing every song of Ken Oath. Great memories. Love Mick Kidd.

  13. Jack Jensen September 23, 2021 at 6:59 pm #

    John Vincent, like Brian Henderson, had that unique ‘radio voice’, worth listening to. I came to Adelaide in 1968 and worked at the Advertiser. A few years later, Jeff Sunderland arrived at 5AD. The station was located a floor or two above where we composed the paper in Waymouth Street. John Vincent worked at 5KA in Franklin Street.

  14. Michael Springett January 30, 2022 at 4:10 pm #

    On Sat, 28th Dec 1974, John Vincent counted down Adelaide’s top singles of the year and 5KA gave them all away.

    You can listen here

  15. Iain Raphael May 31, 2024 at 6:45 pm #

    I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Vinnie along with Grant Cameron for a uni paper. [I passed.] He was both courteous and generous with his time with me being allowed to observe him work during his show. A true gentleman.

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