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50 year radio veteran - Tony Pilkington inducted into Hall of FameOctober 2011

One of radio’s enduring and much loved Aussie characters, Tony Pilkington, best known as “Pilko”, who has worked in commercial radio for nearly a half a century, was tonight inducted into the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame at the 2011 Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs).

Pilko was honoured for his outstanding lifetime achievement and contribution to the radio broadcasting industry at a gala ceremony, attended by nearly 1000 of his industry peers at Jupiters on the Gold Coast.

Best known for his part in the iconic on-air team, Bazz & Pilko, for more than two decades, Tony commenced his radio career in 1962 at 3YB Warrnambool as an 18 year old, doing sport and middawn shifts. After various jobs in NSW, he moved to Adelaide in 1969 and began work on the nightshift at 5AD.

It was in there in 1976, Pilko met Barry Ion (Baz), who would go on to become his friend and top rating on-air partner for 23 years. After a one-off Good Friday special for 5AD, the pair was planning to go their separate ways, when in an experiment; the station manager threw them together in the breakfast slot.

The “ Bazz & Pilko” show became one of the most successful in Australia (at one point drawing 42% of the listening audience in South Australia). The team moved to 5KA in Adelaide and then made front page news in Adelaide by relocating to Sydney radio 2UW (now MIX) in 1985 until 1993.

After more than two decades together across several radio stations in two states, they aired their final show in 1997 on FIVEaa. Pilko remained with the station and formed a decade long partnership with Keith Conlon. Together they had an unrivalled run of 45 consecutive number one ratings over their last five years together, presenting the breakfast show at FIVEaa until his retirement last year.

Married with six children and three grandchildren, Pilko and his wife, Anne now live in Sydney.

Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer, Joan Warner said: “Tony Pilkington is an engaging entertainer on radio and has had an incredible career where he continued to innovate and attract listeners.”

The Hall of Fame recipients are nominated by industry peers and are selected by a high level judging committee. Previous inductees include last year’s Derryn Hinch, John Laws, Bob Rogers, Gary O’Callaghan, Paul Thompson, Bob Francis, Rod Muir and the late Frank Hyde