How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 44.


As soon as I closed the mike, the studio hotline started to flash. The hotline has a secret phone number that is only known to a select group of people at the radio station. When it rings, it’s usually the boss telling you you’ve messed up.

In 1994, I was presenting the Breakfast Show on 5SE, Mount Gambier in South Australia. The show featured a lot of live commercials. When they showed up on the log, you found the copy that went with them and did the best selling job you could. You were encouraged to ad-lib so the live commercials would stand out from the recorded ones.

I tried to make mine as entertaining as possible. That was a risky tactic because if the client doesn’t like your ‘creative treatment’, you get in all sorts of trouble.

One of the clients we did live reads for was a supermarket called Foodland. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much you could do to make these ads sound exciting. The “copy” consisted of a list of what was on special that day with prices next to each item. The only thing I could do was make bad jokes about the products. “This toilet paper is $1.99, and it’s number one for number twos!”, “Steak pie, just $1.49! It’s supposed to be steak and kidney but it’s still waiting for a donor!”, well, you get the idea.

I can’t remember what I’d just said when the light connected to the hotline started to flash but I remember thinking I may have crossed the line. I picked up the phone and to my horror discovered I was talking to the manager of the supermarket. I didn’t even know clients had access to the secret number. What he said next, took my breath away.

“Mate, I’ve heard you doing those ads of mine… I’d like you to do the same thing for me on TV”.

Craic on!

You can hear what I sounded like back then, here:

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