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Vale John Torv

Australian radio man John Torv (born Jaan Torv), brother to Hans Torv has passed away. (That’s John in photo on far left – not to be confused wih Mad Mel.) A statement from the family says: “The family of Jaan (John) Torv is deeply saddened to announce his passing on July 17 in Cairns. He had been battling chronic cardiac issues for several years. Jaan leaves two sons, Joshua and Daniel, and a daughter, Ariella. Jaan was well known for his distinctive voice and his wide-ranging creative mind that produced unique musical programming in Australia and the US. To know him was to appreciate good music. He will forever be missed.”

Wayne Mac comments on Facebook’s Radio Rubber Room: “Torv (he’ll always be John to me) was required listening on 2SM from ’69 to mid ’72. Ooh that voice. He took over the drivetime reins from Rod Muir who came off air just after Christmas ’68 to concentrate on programming. Not a long run in terms of years but long enough to influence a lot of wannabes like myself. Many jocks of my era have a Torv story or three. I consider myself fortunate to have occasionally been in his orbit, even though we never actually worked together. I’m saddened by his passing. I feel another chunk of my youth has died with him. Vale and thanks for the inspiration Mr Torv.”

Audio from John Torv at 2SM

Rupert Murdoch’s former wife Anna Murdoch-Mann and her broadcaster brothers, Jaan and Hans Torv, paid $26 million for the Hot Tomato Gold Coast licence in 2002 and then spent another $4 million getting Hot Tomato ready for the market.It was sold in 2018.

Chris Mac recalls:

Growing up in Sydney in the 60’s and 70’s, in a family of Irish Catholic heritage, we lived by Sydney’s 11th Commandment…

“Thou Shalt Listen To 2SM.”

(From it’s inception on Christmas Eve, 1931 until 1992, 2SM was owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Church.)

We listened day & night, every day.

Music, News, sport (i.e. Frank Hyde) & Sunday evenings, (faith).

Having the largest religious grouping in Sydney as your listening base didn’t hurt 50 to 60 years ago, when such things were more prominent in society.

However, as the 60’s wore on, 2SM began appealing to a wider audience.

After a great era in the early to mid 1960’s with “The Good Guys”, 2SM lost it’s way, first with a soft pop change to so called “King Radio” in 1966, followed by talkback in 1967 and most of ‘68.

Late 1968 saw a young Rod Muir convince a worried station’s board to return to pop music.

For younger readers, this was the era when Sydney had just 8 radio stations, all AM and about half the population it has now.

Along with Rod Muir and another legend in John Brennan, they set about returning 2SM to the top of the ratings, where it remained until 2WS came on the air on 24 November 1978.

An integral part of the team with Muir and Brennan was a young announcer and later programmer, John (Jaan) Torv.

Torv took on drive and he introduced quick fired patter and brought us the now legendary American twang when telling us the time was “noine to foive”.

As the 70’s wore on, Torv moved into programming.

In 1974, when faced with doing something to address what was an historically soft advertising month, October, Torv developed the concept of “Rocktober”.

2SM was to run Rocktober with great success for the rest of the 1970’s…concerts, giveaways (hundreds of albums, concert tickets, the new and then very expensive colour TV’s, you get the idea!).

Other stations, such as 3XY, continued with Rocktober into the 80’s, but not SM.

After his time with 2SM, Jaan moved around and to be honest, I lost track of what happened to him. That was until I heard that he and his brother Hans (of the Hans and Kayley Brekky show on 2WS) had set up a new Gold Coast station, Hot Tomato, 102.9.

I heard this evening that after a long illness, Jaan Torv has passed away.

My condolences to Jaan’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.

And from that kid growing up with a small transistor radio under his pillow, listening as long as he could late at night to “More Music 2SM”, complete with that gorgeous reverb, can I say…

Thank You, Jaan Torv, travel well.

John Scott commented on Facebook’s Radio People: “Very sad to hear this news about John Torv. I worked with John at 4IP in 79. He was the PD.I really enjoyed working with him as PD.He really knew the business.”


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