How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 24.

06Jan14

If it wasn’t for an imaginary cat food and a re-cycled nursery rhyme I might never have got my first break in radio.

In 1993 I knew I didn’t stand a chance of getting a full-time job on the air in Australia unless I did really well at The Australian Film Television and Radio School. (I was still surprised I’d even made it onto the top broadcasting course in the country). I didn’t hear English accents on the radio and the other eleven students on the course where all Ozzies. That meant that when radio stations came looking for new talent from the graduating class, I’d have to give them a really good reason for choosing a Pom.

After six months of study and work placements at commercial radio stations in the bush, things had gone well but there was one more obstacle to get over. It was a thing called the “Major Assignment”. There were lots of elements to it, including a music special, a documentary and one more thing that stopped me in my tracks. I had to write a radio commercial for a new cat food that was sold in a re-seal-able, zip-lock bag. I also had to come up with a name for the new product. I racked my brain for days but still I had nothing.

Then in the middle of the night, the whole thing came to me at once. I called the product “ZipZap Kitty Snack”. I wrote a commercial that was sung to the tune of “This Old Man”…

“This old man, He reached in, To the fridge to get the cat food tin, But the fridge was smelly and he cut his thumb, On the tin and puss got none”.

Then I wrote a voice-over message telling you all about the new cat food and it’s packaging. That was followed by the second verse…

“This old man, He’s not dumb, He put a band aid on his thumb, Now it’s ZipZap Kitty Snack, leave the can alone, Sealed in the bag so the smell won’t roam”.

I graduated from AFTRS top of the class of 1993.

 

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