How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 32.

28Jan14

I’ve found myself in some bizarre situations thanks to radio. Once it happened indirectly but I still blame radio.

My first paying job was at 2PK in Parkes in the Central West of New South Wales. They hired me to do the breakfast show but after I made a mess of one of the funeral announcements on my first breakfast show, I was demoted to the afternoon show. The Program Director went back to filling-in on breakfast. I knew they were still short of a breakfast show host and as soon as they got one I’d be out. Every day I went to work thinking it would be my last.

I needed to get another radio job before I lost this one. I decided to aim high, it would be good if I could get a job on a bigger radio station, especially if it was closer to Sydney. After checking a map and a directory of Australian commercial radio stations I decided that I needed to get a job in Orange. The commercial radio station there was called 2GZ. 2PK had a potential audience of 33,000 people, 2GZ could be heard by more than 50,000. Parkes was 356 kilometres from Sydney, Orange was 100 kilometres closer to Sydney.

There were no jobs going at 2GZ but after I sent a cassette of my best bits from 2PK, the Program Director there agreed to see me. All I had to do was impress him and the next time a vacancy came up at 2GZ, I’d be in. It was a long shot but it was the closest I had to a plan.

I didn’t own a car, didn’t have any money to buy one and as I thought I was going to get fired every day, didn’t even think about borrowing money to buy one. There was only one bus to Orange a day from Parkes. It got there three hours before I was due to meet the boss so I killed time by having a look in the local shops.

In a menswear shop, there was a deal on new suits. I didn’t own a suit and decided then and there that if I was wearing a suit when I met the boss of 2GZ, I’d make a better impression. I tried one on in the shop and it fit perfectly except for the trousers, which were way too long. The bloke in the shop said, “That’s not a problem, I can get them altered for you”. I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have time, I’ve got a job interview in a bit and I wanted the suit for the interview”. He said, “Look, my mate down the road is a tailor, I can take the trousers down to him and have them back here pretty quick, you’ll still have plenty of time to get to your interview”. He called his mate the tailor, pinned the trousers and then told me there was a small problem. His assistant had phoned in sick that day, he was in the shop alone. I’d have to mind the shop while he took the trousers to the tailor.

I’d never worked in retail before and didn’t know the first thing about selling menswear but here I was behind the counter working in a menswear shop. A couple of people came in, I smiled, said hello and hoped they wouldn’t ask any questions or actually want to buy anything. Then I got the customer from hell.

“Are you new?”, the angry middle aged woman said looking at me sideways. “Yes I am”, I said nervously, “first day”. She took a deep breath and said something I wasn’t expecting, “You’re not my husband!”. It took a minute, then I put all of the clues together and said, “He’s off sick today”. “Really?” she said. Just then the manager returned with my trousers, it was HIS wife.

My meeting with the Program Director at 2GZ went OK, I was never offered a job there but for about half an hour I did have a job in Orange.

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One Response to “How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 32.”

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