Debbie Kruger
Broadcaster BAY-FM
Debbie Does Breakfast reboot
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Debbie Does Breakfast
• Debbie Does Breakfast Programming
• The Famous Program IDs
• Special Segments
• Dog Dedications
• Press Coverage
• Debbie's Choices:
Top Ten Lists
• Essential Reading
• The not quite Final Show
No longer on air... but the memories linger

After a long hiatus, I returned to air on BAY FM in late 2008 presenting Debbie Does Breakfast, the radio show that's just right. As it turned out, it only lasted six months, but it was a lot of fun to have a new phase at BAY FM after eight years away from the station.

Below is some information and sound bites from my 2008-2009 stint on BAY FM, and further below is a more detailed history of my early years on BAY FM, which includes my still active lists of Top Ten CDs and Essential Reading.

BAY FM is an award-winning community radio station situated in Byron Bay. For more information about BAY FM and its programming, click on the logo above to check out the BAY FM website.

Even without me on air, you can listen to BAY FM live on the web, wherever you are in Australia or the world!
Audio Clips

Want to hear some snippets of me in action? These are short clips of me talking between tracks. I'm planning to add more!

First show back on air a miracle! – 6 November 2008
Waxing lyrical on (not so) silly '70s songs – 15 January 2009
On Chicago, Eagles and ELO – 29 January 2009
On Glen, Roy and the love of pop music – 26 February 2009
On Oscar-nominated movie songs from years past – 26 February 2009

Back in the 20th Century, BAY FM was on another frequency, in another studio, and I got involved during the exciting phase before the station even had a permanent license. Here's how it was back then...

It took a while after I moved to Byron Bay to take the plunge and become a presenter on BAY FM. The station had been on air with test broadcasts since the beginning of the 1990s, and by 1993 it was a 24/7 broadcaster on a long-term aspirant license.

My friends Bill and Lisa had a breakfast show called "Anarchy on Toast." After a morning as their special guest co-presenter I got the bug in a big way.

BAY FM logo
I admired presenters like Maurice Mathis, whose very smooth "Baby Boomer Show" ran on Sunday nights, and Gerry Williams with his Saturday afternoon country program "High Noon" – which evolved into "Back in the Saddle." I wanted to wear headphones and operate the panel just like them, and share my favourite music with the community in Byron Bay.

Debbie Does Breakfast advertisement Debbie Does Breakfast, the radio show that was Just Right, first went to air on Wednesday 6 July 1994 at 6am. Over the next six years it moved from Wednesdays to Mondays and then to Tuesdays, but always it was the same mix of music and mayhem. Great music, I have to say, with a combination of classic rock and pop, contemporary adult-oriented rock, and long-forgotten one-hit wonders. I talked a lot, demonstrating my wealth of knowledge of music information and trivia, conducted some fun interviews, collected and aired some of the finest and most coveted program IDs on the station, and enhanced the profile of Byron Shire's dogs like never before.

BAY FM became very active and prominent in the community in the mid-1990s, so it was a great time to establish my on air presence. I had a style that immediately stood out from the usual "trendy" programming of hard rock, indie rock, blues, techno and hip hop. I was offering good old fashioned pop and rock with Chicago getting heavy airplay, Linda Ronstadt, Eagles et al always on the playlist, and Australian acts from the '70s, such as Sherbet, Jon English and Dragon always on hand.
Outside old studio
Outside the old Fletcher Street studio
In the studio
Doing Breakfast on BAY FM in 1995
In the early days of Debbie Does Breakfast I relied heavily on the two turntables in the studio, cleaning up the old vinyl LPs and 45s. As time went on, and I travelled more the USA, my collection of CDs grew and grew, my musical tastes broadened, and so in turn the quality of my on air presentation improved.

At all times the programming on BAY FM was and still is free form — the presenters choose their own music.

You can check out a playlist from my First Birthday Show on Wednesday 12 July 1995 to see what my favourite on air music was early in the Debbie Does Breakfast era.

Summer was my favourite time for being a breakfast announcer on BAY FM, not the least because it was much easier to get up at 4.30 in the morning!! There were more people hanging around Byron and its environs, and I often had visitors who would come into the studio as special guests to play some of their favourite tracks.
In the studio some more
Doing Breakfast in the summer of '96

Judy in the studio Judy Does Breakfast
Judy Kopperman, a dear and zany friend from Los Angeles, was visiting in January 1997, and came on air to play Duran Duran, John Taylor (of Duran Duran), and discuss Tim Finn, Split Enz, Crowded House and all things John Taylor. No doubt somewhere in the listening audience that morning was a John Taylor fan or two.
Another very special guest in early 1997 was Denis Stokes, my friend and collegue from the 1997 Brisbane Biennial. Denis had fine taste in music and helped to present a memorable show. He also was reunited that morning with an old school mate, BAY-FM presenter Barbi Von, whom he had not seen for around 25 years.

Only a few weeks later Denis passed away suddenly. The tape from that show is a very special memento from a special time.

Denis in the studio
Denis Does Breakfast

I wanted features on my program that made it special. Program IDs are a standard tool for branding a show, and I'd been heavily influenced by 2SM and Triple M programs, as well as the Capital Radio shows in London which were always individually promoted through jingles. With the help of fellow announcers and production guys at BAY FM, I put together a nice collection of Debbie Does Breakfast program IDs over the years there.

Even more exceptional were the highly coveted program IDs I collected from famous musicians. As I was interviewing great artists on a fairly regular basis in Australia, the US and UK, as well as doing the PR on the Biennial International Music Festival in Brisbane, I had access to some of the people whose music I played on my show. So I would get them to put something down for posterity. Robert Lamm of Chicago even produced something with a backing track in his home studio in LA and sent it to me in Byron Bay. What a guy!

Over the years, only one musician refused to give me an ID for my show. Don Henley's remark was: "My dear, we don't do station IDs any more. After 30 years in the business, we don't do that any more." Thanks, Don.

Here you can listen to the IDs that made Debbie Does Breakfast an internationally-known radio show.

Surry Hills Friends
Living in the '70s
Bex for the '90s
Distinctly Debbie Kruger
Just Right
Horny way to start your day
Summer of Love
Voices and Sounds
London Cabbie
London Cousins
A Capella

Joe Walsh and Debbie
Unlike another member of the Eagles, Joe Walsh was more than happy to put down some IDs for Debbie Does Breakfast when we met in
New Hampshire in 1997

Olivia Newton-John
Janis Ian
Glenn Shorrock (Little River Band)
Robert Lamm (Chicago)
Neil Finn
The Wheel
Lee Kernaghan
Jackson Browne 1
Jackson Browne 2
Eddi Reader
Joe Walsh 1
Joe Walsh 2
Stephen Stills
Graham Nash
JD Souther 1
JD Souther 2
JD Souther 3
JD Souther 4
JD Souther 5

When I left BAY FM the first time, in 1998, I really did not know if I would be back on air again, so during my year in the United States I didn't bother collecting IDs from the many great artists I met and associated with. Had I known that I would be doing breakfast on BAY FM again from late 1999, I would have obtained IDs from the other members of Chicago, as well as Linda Ronstadt, Ned Doheny, Glenn Frey, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Venice, and many more.

Debbie Does Breakfast had numerous special segments over the course of its life. In the first year I did a half-hour special guest segment at 8am every Wednesday called "Julian Rocks Discs." I would invite an interesting person from the region — or beyond if possible — to come in for a chat and play his or her three favourite tracks, the ones that would be most desired if stranded on a desert island... or Julian Rocks, the marine reserve off the shore of Byron Bay.
My guests during the first year of the show ranged from famous author Di Morrissey, Di's daughter sex education therapist (and now also an author) Gabrielle Morrissey, glass blower Colin Heaney and dancer Michael Hennessey to the local postmaster Darcy Holmes, the local magistrate Jeff Linden, a member of the local constabulary, Graham Childs (who humoured me by coming into the studio in full police uniform, despite it being his day off), and comedienne extraordinaire Mandy Nolan.
Julian Rocks
What would you want to play if you were
stranded out here?
A compilation of these fascinating interviews and song choices will be available to listen to on this page one of these days, so keep checking back. Meanwhile, click on the picture of Julian Rocks to hear the really bad theme for that segment.

Another regular segment for the first couple of years was the "7am Wake Up Call," when I would play something loud and rousing to lull lazy listeners out of bed. Songs such as Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" and Chicago's "I Don't Want Your Money" had just the right sound.

The "Fruit Loop" segment also lasted a couple of years and was very popular. I'd play a song so loopy most people would never have admitted they knew it let alone liked it until I played it on BAY FM. Typical fruit loops included:
• Disco Duck — Rick Dees and his Cast of Idiots
• Kung Fu Fighting — Carl Douglas
• Mr Jaws — Dickie Goodman
• The Streak — Ray Stevens
• Meaningless Songs — HeeBeeGeeBees
• You're My Son — Kenny Rogered (aka the HeeBeeGeeBees)
• Two Pints of Lager — Splodgenessabounds
• Star Trekkin' – The Firm
• Girls Just Want to Have Lunch — Weird Al Yankovic
• I Want a New Duck — Weird Al Yankovic
• Bohemian Rhapsody — Rolf Harris name a few

I introduced a Kiddies' Segment for a while on Debbie Does Breakfast, playing tracks each week from the marvellous Sesame Street album Grover Sings the Blues — my favourite, of course, being "Has Anybody Seen my Dog?"
Kiddies' albums I followed that up with tracks from the CD Kermit Unpigged, which featured Kermit and other muppets on duets with the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffet, Don Henley and George Benson. I always aimed to please all demographics!
There was one segment I aired for one season of the show that might have been more exciting in my head than on the radio, but I had fun doing it. In late 1996 and early 1997, in the early throes of my internet daze, I programmed the "Deb Does the Web" segment. I'd feature an interesting website, talk about its contents and give out the URL. Not many people were talking at length about websites on radio at that stage, so it was forward-thinking as well as informative.

And although it wasn't a highly original concept, a very popular weekly feature of the show was my Birthdays segment, where I would announce all the birthdays of famous musicians for that week and play a selection of their music. I liked the way it came half-way through the show and whenever a listener tuned in at that time they knew exactly what point in Debbie Does Breakfast I was up to.

And then there was the Dog Dedication segment, which happened at around 8.45am on every show I did. It started as a simple dedication to my beautiful dog Morgan, when I would play a song for her and tell the listeners how much I loved her. Before long, people were popping into the studio asking, "Could you say hello to my dog?" They called me on air, stopped me in the street, sent me notes, all asking for me to mention their dogs.
Debbie and Morgan
Debbie and Morgan do Breakfast at BAY FM
Photo by Jeff Dawson
Soon I had a growing list of dogs' names to read out each week, and it became one of the most popular segments of my show. Everyone knew I was dog crazy. If you click on the photo of me and Morgan above you can see the Dog Dedication list at two different times over the Debbie Does Breakfast era.
The delectable Morgan
Favourite dog dedication songs included:
• "Just You 'n' Me" — Chicago
• "You're My Best Friend" — Queen
• "Close to You" — The Carpenters
• "Love Me Love My Dog" — Peter Shelley
• "I Love My Dog" — Lynne Randell
•••or Cat Stevens
• "Love Will Keep Us Together"
•••— The Captain & Tennille
• "You are the Sunshine of My Life"
•••— Stevie Wonder
To find out more about Morgan and some of the other dogs on the Dedication list, as well as other four-legged friends, head over to the Dog Days page of this site by clicking on the licking angel dog. But only after you've finished here at the BAY FM page!!

As a PR Whiz and a Leo, it was natural for me to plug my show occasionally, even in the national media once or twice. The Arts Editor of The Australian, Deborah Jones, loved the idea of a fine arts publicist playing rock music on radio in Byron Bay, so she featured me and Morgan in her column in 1995. The Brisbane News was also interested in my Byron life and did a column on me. And the local Byron Shire Echo was happy to run the odd blurb when the occasion called for it. You can read these press clippings by clicking on the image at right. Press clippings
Of the many kinds of fundraising activities BAY-FM held during my time at the station, my favourites were the Karaoke Nights. Here I am with a couple of my fellow announcers (Peter Braker on the right; can't remember the guy on the left) posing for a publicity shot in The Byron News before a 1996 Karaoke Night. I did Linda Ronstadt, of course.

My playlists on Debbie Does Breakfast were and still are eclectic and always full of surprises, with just as much contemporary music as there is classic rock. I've always prided myself on featuring new release albums that I import from overseas or bring back with me from my travels abroad.
Best CDs Each year at Christmas I feature a countdown of my Top Ten Albums for the year. And in December 1999 and December 2009 I counted down not only my ten favourite releases for that year, but also my ten favourite albums and songs from the entire decade.

These lists, plus lists from years that I wasn't even on air, can be found on my page of Debbie's Choices. Even though some of my preferences have changed since the lists were compiled, they serve as an interesting record of where I was at during particular times. Just click on the album covers on the left.

I haven't done a list since 2012... which says a lot about the way the music industry has gone for me and for the artists I love. Ah well.

Being a stickler for accuracy, a research hound and a voracious reader of books on music and musicians, I have always had my head in one or two books at any given time. Putting a show together like Debbie Does Breakfast means I am constantly looking for fascinating information and titbits. Even during the years without an on-air presence, I was still reading and learning, especially as I became a music book author myself. My recommended list of Essential Reading is provided for your edification. Just click on the book covers. Best books

In studio for the final show
Debbie farewelled by fellow presenters Barbi Von and Stephen Calder along with BAY FM president Sean Latham (right).

The final Debbie Does Breakfast of the 20th Century went to air on Tuesday 1 August 2000. It was a cheerful affair and I didn't allow myself to wallow in emotion, but it felt momentous at the same time. BAY FM president Sean Latham farewelled me on air and assured listeners I would be back — as I always had been. But something told me this time it was for good. It only took eight years to ensure that wasn't the case, but it was a long eight years.

You can check out my Final Show playlist to see how my musical tastes had inherently remained the same as when I first started six years before (it's amazing how many of the same songs I programmed without even realising it), yet at the same time developed and matured.

In 2001 BAY FM finally got its permanent licence and changed frequency to 99.9. Many of my friends were still presenting shows, such as Peter and Karena Wynn-Moylan with "Arts Canvass" and Carrie D's "Cowboy's Sweetheart." BAY FM finally went online and eventually you could start listening live. I kept in touch with the progress of BAY FM and finally, after re-settling in Byron after a long stint back in Sydney, and after some time on ABC Coast FM, in 2008 I rejoined BAY FM. I am glad that "final" never really was final, and that you can never say "never". It was good to be back at BAY FM in the late noughties and good to have those memories of being involved in a grass roots community broadcasting organisation over a vital period in its history. Doing Debbie Does Breakfast was the most fun I had with music over most of my career!

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