How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 18.


In June 1993, I realized that radio meant more to me than life itself.

There are lots of bugs that will kill you in the Australian Outback. Some of the deadliest are spiders (Redbacks and Funnel Webs).

As part of the course I was on at the Australian Film Television and Radio School in Sydney, I was flown to the western fringes of the Nullarbor Plain and the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia to work at 6KG in Kalgoorlie for two weeks. Every night, after everyone else at the radio station had gone home, I was in there alone presenting a hard-edged music show for shift workers in the local gold mines, prostitutes (it’s legal in Kalgoorlie) and drunks. There wasn’t even anyone who followed me on the air. At midnight the radio station, which was owned by the media tycoon Kerry Packer, switched to the output of one of his other radio stations, 6PM in Perth. After switching to 6PM, putting all of the records away and getting out the tape cartridges with the commercials on for the next morning’s breakfast show, I locked up and walked back to my room at The Palace Hotel.

For the five hours I was on the air, I kept my fluid intake to a bare minimum. This was because, just like the only other commercial radio station I’d been trusted enough to broadcast on (2QN Deniliquin, three months earlier), 6KG had an outside toilet.

I’d deliberately choose long songs to put on before I unlocked the back door, double checked I had both of the keys that let me back in and began the long walk in the dark down the path to the dunny. Who know what was lurking in the darkness. Snakes often stretch out on paths when the temperature drops in the desert at night to soak up the heat that the concrete has absorbed during the day and there are many tales of spiders hiding in the carzie waiting to bite you in a place where only a true friend would suck the poison out.

Looking back, I now realize that every time I made that trip, I was more scared of getting locked out of the radio station and the record on the air finishing than I was of being bitten by something poisonous.

I’d already been bitten by a bug that is much more dangerous, radio.

Craic on!

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