Brian Treasure

November 15th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Biographical detail by Bret Treasure; one of Brian’s four children.

1. Started as a clerk for West Australian Newspapers and was one of two people to start up TVW 7 in 1959.

2. … a charismatic person; a former cricketer, tennis and squash player, he was as much at home playing pool in the front bar of the local pub (The John Barleycorn) as he was in the executive suites of New York and London. He was the front man for TVW for its first seventeen years. (paraphrased from Eric Fisher’s article, “the Introduction of Television into Western Australia”).

3. He was tremendously innovative, in some ways brilliant. He devised a program-buying arrangement with newcomer STW 9 which gave TVW an on-going advantage over its rival. To this day, TVW retains a substantial lead over the Nine station.

4. He was the leading influence on programming in the first seventeen years of commercial TV. In this period Perth produced significant amounts of local programming, some of which Brian conceived himself. He was a passionate believer in local talent, local content and provided many opportunities for young artists to gain national exposure. A number of shows produced by TVW went national.

5. He invented the “spot” system of advertising which became the dominant system of advertising sales for TV across all Australia. (Fisher, op cit)

6. He gave many people their start in the industry and in show business. He told Rolf Harris it would be a good idea to make a recording of a song he’d performed on his kid’s show; Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport. He employed or was greatly influential in the careers of Greg Byrne, Stan Fildes, Brian Williams, Lloyd Lawson, Harry Bluck, Jeff Newman, Jeff Phillips, Lionel Yorke, Tony Barber, Sam Kronja, Ken Kemp and Graeme Plummer. John McAlpine, who went on to head the Ten Network used to pick me up from kindergarten. But Brian was also close to Darcy Bisott the station mechanic and secretaries Peta Armanasco, Olive Shearer, and Gwen Andrews.

7. His engaging personality and the opportunities presented by the media gave him experiences with some of the world’s best known celebrities. He connected especially well with Sammy Davis Jr, Sir Ralph Richardson and Walter Cronkite. He had to troubleshoot problems involving Dione Warwick and The Beach Boys. He had business dealings with Sir Lew Grade, Rupert Murdoch, Sir Frank and Kerry Packer and with local business personalities Laurie Kiernan, Arthur Povar, Arthur and Alan Stiles, and Garry Roberts.

8. He was involved in setting up in Perth World Championship Wrestling, The Hole in One, the Christmas Pageant and the Miss West Coast competition. These were all very successful but he was also responsible for mounting a spectacular Follies show which lost money handsomely.

9. Together with Garry Roberts he started the SkyWorks show, still the single largest annual event in Perth.

10. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Variety and of Telethon from its inception. He used to hire a caravan so he could spend all weekend at the station. The first time I saw my father cry was in 1970 when he realised Telethon was going to raise $100,000.

11. He was highly entrepreneurial and loved family entertainment and musicals in particular. His close relationship with Michael Edgley and the Disney organisation resulted in the Disney on Parade stage shows coming to Australia. At the time the most popular live entertainment ever to tour the country. He was integrally involved in all aspects of the show, which culminated in the Australian company touring Asia.

12. The difficulties of presenting large stage shows in a circus tent (housing up to 80,000 people a week for months on end) persuaded him of the need for a permanent entertainment centre in Perth. The lack of a suitable venue in Perth for large concert acts meant that the city missed out on many international acts. The Channel Seven Edgley Entertainment Centre was the leading building of its type in Australia when built and had an unparalleled effect on the entertainment industry in Perth.

13. He had a role in arranging for the first Test match to be played in Perth in 1972. His history of innovation in TVW’s cricket coverage meant that he was asked by Kerry Packer to administer the first year of World Series Cricket.

14. Through the TVW years and then afterwards he was involved with many of Perth’s commercial radio stations. He was involved in buying or selling every commercial radio station in Perth at least once.

15. With finance from Bendat and Stokes he established 96fm which at one stage had the longest string of #1 ratings results of any commercial radio station in Australia. When sold he calculated it had returned 96 times its initial investment.

16. He campaigned and agitated for many years to get a third commercial television license for Perth. When applications were finally called for he led the successful group, NEW Broadcasting, Channel 10. It was an application predicated on generating local content. Unfortunately, the Government then changed the rules on TV ownership and the station was sold. To his dismay it became effectively a network relay station.

17. For a period of time he may well have been the best known name in Perth business circles but he never sought a public profile; for all his charisma he shunned personal publicity. He was one of the leaders of the last generation of business leaders in Perth to do business on a handshake.

Brian had the good fortune to be married to Jocelyn Treasure, nee Paterson. His children are Bret, Debbie, Mark and Ben.