How an airconditioning mechanic working in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain. – Part 7.



My radio career still hadn’t got off the ground in late 1992. I’d been doing community radio for over a year and sent demo tapes all over Australia but no one would give me a radio job. I knew that unless I got on to the top broadcasting course in the country, I was going nowhere.

The Australian Film TV and Radio School only take twelve radio students a year. I’d somehow managed to get through the first two stages of the selection process. After the grueling interview that made up the third stage, they told me that I’d get a phone call telling me if I’d made it on to the course or not. They gave me the date I should expect the call. I can’t remember the exact date but I know it was in November because it was the same day that tickets went on sale to see Paul McCartney at the Sydney Entertainment Center the following February. I’d always wanted to see McCartney live but I’d been living in Australia and before that New Zealand since 1983 and this was the first time he’d toured down under in all of that time.

I’d given AFTRS my mobile number. It was unusual to have a mobile phone in 1992. Most people who did have one back then had them because of work. They were the preserve of yuppies, drug dealers and pimps. Mine was a work phone and was the size of a house brick. The only calls I got on it were from the boss telling me that one of the air-conditioning plants we looked after wasn’t working.

On this November morning, Julie and I decided to get up early and get in the queue at the box office. We’d been to a couple of gigs at the SEC before and ended up miles from the stage. This was our first and possibly only chance to see Paul McCartney; we were determined to get decent seats. The tickets were due to go on sale at 9am, I told the boss I’d be in late. There were already people queuing when we got there in the dark, just before 6am. There were only about ten people in front of us and the ticket office staff were geared up for the demand so by five past nine, we had two tickets to see Paul McCartney in the center of row fifteen! Not bad in an arena of over 15,000. We were buzzing. Then the phone rang.

It was Gareth McCray from AFTRS. He told me that I’d been selected as one of the twelve that would become the class of 93. No day has ever started better than that one. Not only did I find out that I was going to see Paul McCartney but I also found out that after being grounded for so long, my radio odyssey was about to take off!

In February when McCartney released his new album to coincide with the world tour it was called, “Off The Ground”.

Craic on!

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