On the air with Ken Date (first broadcast on 2RRR: 10 June 1992, final broadcast 27 November 2011)
For nearly 20 years each Saturday morning, between 7 and 10, Ken presented 3 hours of what is termed "Sydney’s coolest country". The aim of the program was to present a wide cross-section of country music, but country that stays true to the ideals and themes of the genre. Ken loves a good cheatin’ and drinkin’ song, almost as much as he enjoys songs about lovin’ and leavin’. Those topics were always a welcome item on the show.
Ken played country music from all over the world, although there was a preponderance of American country in the program. The reason for this is that the only criterion for a song being included on the program’s playlist is that it be a good song, wherever it is from. It just so happens that much of the music that Ken likes originates in the USA, but he did play a selection of Australian country music, as well as products from other countries. Ken was one of the only DJs in Australia (if not the world) that played Japanese country music. The Japanese material was always a popular choice and proves that good country music, that honours the integrity of the style, can be made by people that are not born in the USA.
Mostly, Ken liked to have fun with the program. It is important to enjoy the music you play (Ken can’t imagine working for a radio station where you were required to play music that you didn’t like or even where you had no role in the selection in the music). Ken chose the songs himself and endeavoured to ensure there was a fair mix of styles and moods. Some people think that the program tended towards being a little too dominated by male artists, but Ken did play plenty of material by the ladies. From time to time, Ken devoted parts of programs (or even entire programs) to a particular theme. Songs about drinking were always a good filler, but Ken also had "girls only" programs and sometimes presented a short tribute to an artist after they had died. In 2002 Ken presented a special program entitled Marital Mayhem and devoted the entire program to cheatin' songs. This was so successful that such a program became an annual event and was usually broadcast on the last Saturday in July. The Saturday nearest St Valentines Day was sometimes celebrated with three hours of "country lurve" songs and the Saturday nearest September 29 was used to pay tribute to the 'Killer'. Each program featured a 15 minute country gospel segment at 9 am.
Every program opened and closed with the same theme songs – Floyd Cramer’s On the Rebound and Last Date, respectively.
Since leaving Sydney in late 2011, Ken has relocated to Melbourne, where he is still developing plans to return to the airwaves.