Countdown Memories

AN INTERVIEW WITH RYAN BURGER

Jason: When did you start watching Countdown?

Ryan: January 1993.

Jason: What are amongst some of your greatest Countdown memories, favourite Countdown episodes?

Ryan: 1979 Glen Shorrock Host - Iggy as Guest. 1982 Video Rock. 1979 End Of The Decade.

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Jason: Who were your favourite artists during the 70's and 80's that Countdown introduced you to?

Ryan: Yellow Dog impressed me, but I can't say they're my favourite artist. Most of my fave artists weren't ever played on Countdown.

Jason: What were or are your favourite segments of the show?

Ryan: Humdrum for the peak of the obscure clips and album reviews.

Jason: Did you ever attend Countdown, and if not did you ever want to at the time?

Ryan: To be honest, no and no!

Jason: Were you shocked when the show ended?

Ryan: I was 9 years old in 1987 and I remember the last show being on TV. It is also the only memory of Countdown I have! No, I was shocked!

Jason: Do you think that given the chance Countdown could have kept going to this day?

Ryan: ‘Countdown Revolution’ is an indicator as to what Countdown would have become if it continued going on right through the 90s. It could have kept going, but it would have needed to change its format in a lot of ways. Combine ‘Countdown Revolution’, Molly's Humdrum on ‘Hey Hey It's Saturday’, the musical guests on ‘Hey Hey It's Saturday’ in the 90s and the Anyones video 'Come Around,' which was a send up of Countdown into one weekly music TV show and you would get a pretty good idea as to what Countdown would have been like as a music program in the 90’s and today. By the late 80’s, Countdown had lost a lot of its charm, pretty much like a lot of pop music.

Jason: What do you think it is about Countdown that makes it still stand up today, and what is it that makes Countdown so special to you?

Ryan: Countdown stands up today because it captures it’s time perfectly and because the music was simply enjoyable. There is a certain atmosphere that Countdown generates. Its formula worked during it’s 'hey' day and the old shows work today. It just simply has the ability to draw people in. Sadly, this magic faded by the mid 80’s, but the magic of popular culture also lost a lot of magic by that period. Other things that make Countdown: It's shameless ability to place the Countdown logo behind every band that appeared on the show. The magic of Countdown during 1974 to 1982 is that its format didn't change. The logo designed remained the same up to 1983, even though trends and styles changed during those eight years. The show was also a rather minimalist program and quite easy to follow. Countdown also had the capability to bring obscure and lesser known artists into the spotlight. The show was instrumental for the early success of ABBA and Blondie and also gave XTC and Japan their first taste of success.

Jason: Do you think it's important that Rage keep repeating Countdown so that a new generation may be introduced to the history of Australian and overseas music through Countdown and just in general?

Ryan: I think it's more important that Rage keep repeating Countdown for the sake of the people who enjoy them, whether they are an older generation or a younger generation. There are going to be those who will see Countdown as a boring history lesson and other people who will become obsessed and engaged to it. The later, whether they are old or young, will seek and collect as many artifacts as they can in order to be closer to that time period. What Rage does in repeating these shows is making it easier for those people to unravel the past. It is important for Rage to play the Countdown episodes for those who love the show. Rage repeating Countdown doesn't educate a new generation, because the new generation is a very large demographic. It does, however, educate those who wish to be educated and for their sake, Rage repeating Countdown is important.

Jason: Do you think the ABC should repeat Countdown on a regular basis?

Ryan: Personally, I don’t think the ABC should repeat Countdown on a regular basis at all. Having a show like this repeated on a regular basis will only make it a routine leisure and a part of the excitement of watching those Countdown is the waiting that had taken place for a whole year prior. If the ABC repeated Countdown on a regular basis, the January Countdown month will quickly be long gone. However, the intrusion of Rock Arena, GTK and other music programs that also get played on Rage is an annoyance. A full January of Countdown alone is preferable.