The Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 cemented 3AW's hold on a format some 25 years later is now common place if a disaster or big news story breaks.

On that day normal programming was put on hold as bush fires burned across Victoria and South Australia. Crews were dispatched from the newsroom and it was all hands on deck. South Australian correspondent Murray Nichol described vividly on air of a house burning before his eyes, his own family home.

The most significant contributors that day were the listeners, the 3AW family of listeners that sprung into action providing reports, telling their story and seeking news on missing loved ones. On that day something was identified by 3AW presenters and management, the power of their audience and unity of that audience in times of trouble and disaster.

This Friday 15 February 3AW's Derryn Hinch will broadcast his drive program live from the Mount Macedon Hotel and relive what was a horrific day in Victoria's history and a tipping point in what 3AW and their audience swing into in trying times.

Hinch re-lives the tragedy
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