WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned the following story contains the name and image of someone who has passed away.
Well known Aboriginal radio announcer Peter Hill has been laid to rest in Brisbane.
‘Uncle Pete’ as he’s affectionately known was the longtime host of The Shout Out show on Brisbane’s Indigenous radio station, Triple A Murri Country.
Born south of Moree in 1943 and the seventh of ten children, he moved to Brisbane as a 19 year old. It was in Brisbane the following year that Uncle Pete first met Uncle Ross Watson, who would go on to be one of the founders of the station. Many years later, Hill got a phone call from Watson who offered him a job at the radio station as the janitor. However a shortage of announcers saw Hill needed on air for a weekend shift. By the 2000s, he was presenting The Show Out Show.
The music request show became listener favourite while also becoming a way for the Indigenous community on the inside to connect with their families and friends on the outside. This on-air work led to Hill becoming an official prisoner visitor off-air. Uncle Pete would travel to prisons and detention centres across southeast Queensland when not broadcasting to teach radio, attend NAIDOC events and record messages for the next show.
Uncle Pete continued broadcasting well into his sixties and seventies but in 20-17, he started to cut back to look after the health of wife, Aunty Betty and his own. But listener demand saw a yearly Christmas special presented by Uncle Pete. In 2022, he officially hung up his headphones at 75.
What many listeners didn’t see, was Uncle Pete’s passion for training the next generation of Indigenous broadcasters, which included one of his grandsons. The writer of this story was one of those young broadcasters trained by Uncle Pete. I was 21 years old and working at the time in Triple A’s Murri Newsroom while still finishing my journalism degree in the late 1990s.
When I was offered the opportunity to take an on air role, it was Uncle Pete who took me through my paces and showed me how to panel. I spent a number of weeks with him in the studio as he presented one of his week day lunch programmes. He taught me how to fade songs in and out, how to put the news to air, how to queue the cds, and eventually he would sit at the guest mic in the studio and make me panel for him while he did his show. I learnt so much from him, and even after leaving the station to continue my broadcasting and journalism elsewhere, whenever I’d see him, he’d continue to offer his guidance and wisdom on all things broadcasting and life. I would later interview him straight after winning Broadcaster of the Year at the 2008 Deadly awards at the Sydney Opera House, just one of the accolades Uncle Pete was recognised for (he also won a southeast Queensland NAIDOC award in 2004).
At his funeral on Tuesday, the impact of his life and work was clear, with many from the Indigenous and wider community coming along to pay their respects. Even as recently as last year, listeners were still calling the station asking when Uncle Pete would be back on air. He will be missed.