Stuart Matchett, who has been credited as shaping triple j into the station it is today, has passed away at the age of 67.
As Radioinfo reports, Matchett passed away earlier this week, which was confirmed in a memo to triple j management and staff from the ABC’s Head of Music & Creative Development, Chris Scaddan.
“Some very sad news this afternoon,” the memo began. “Our colleague and friend Stuart Matchett passed away last night after a battle with cancer.”
“Stuart was a Double J and triple j legend, starting in 1978 and working his way up as a music programmer, presenter and producer. He led the triple j team as the Network Program Director in the 90s as it expanded into a truly national network. In the 2000s, Stuart started the ABC’s first forays into digital radio, with ABC DIG, Jazz and Country.”
“Stuart was a huge music fan whose knowledge and passion spread over so many genres. He gave so many of us our first start at the ABC and will be remembered as a warm, funny and genuine person. Someone with a huge heart and a huge love of music.”
Matchett began his radio career at Brisbane’s 4ZZZ in 1975, before joining the triple j family in 1978, where he stayed until 1986. From 1989 until 2002, Stuart served as the Program Director of triple j, after which he became the Program Director for the ABC’s DIG Music. Leaving this position in 2009, Matchett became the Content Director for ABC Digital Radio, before retiring in 2013.
Very sad to hear of the passing of @DoubleJRadio/@triplej radio broadcaster Stuart Matchett. Earlier, at @4zzzradio, he would have been one of the first DJs anywhere to get behind a song that changed Australian music pic.twitter.com/cDgW5i6LWJ
— Andrew Stafford (@staffo_sez) April 5, 2018
We received news this week that one of 4ZZZ's founding staffers, Stuart Matchett, has passed away. This photo was taken by Gordon Curtis on the first full day of broadcasting in December 1975, Stuart is front and centre wearing braces. John Stanwell wrote this tribute: pic.twitter.com/7U7fGEv3O8
— 4ZZZ (@4zzzradio) April 4, 2018
“He’s one of the most influential people in Australian music you might not have heard of,” former triple j Breakfast host Mikey Robins explained to Double J’s Zan Rowe. “You almost got the feeling that the radio station had been built solely around Stuart’s office.”
“He was very hands on. Very much involved with every part of the station, not just hiring presenters, he was the most involved with the music of any Program Director I’ve ever met in my life.”
Double J are set to pay tribute to Stuart Matchett’s life and legacy by playing a selection of interviews over the coming days.