How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 58.


Sometimes, the timing is perfect, sometimes it isn’t.

The job of presenting a daily air-shift on the radio is pretty much exactly the same no matter where you do it but in commercial radio, your pay is related to what the station charges for advertising. That depends on the size of your audience. Assuming your ratings are good, the bigger the market you work in, the more you get paid. When I first started out, my goal was to eventually work in one of the two biggest markets in Australia, Sydney or Melbourne.

In the 90s and perhaps even today for all I know, you were usually expected to get some experience in one of the large markets just outside of the big cities before you’d be considered to be experience enough to make the move to a state capital. The three main markets that are within commuting distance of Sydney and Melbourne are; Geelong (75 kilometres south west of Melbourne), Wollongong (82 kilometres south of Sydney) and Gosford, (76 kilometres north of Sydney). I knew that if I ever got an on-air job at a radio station in one of those three areas, I’d only be one step away from the big time.

By June 1995, my professional broadcasting experience consisted of a year on the air at 2PK in Parkes, New South Wales and another year on the air at 5SE in Mount Gambier, South Australia. I was about to leave Mount Gambier and move to Warragul in Victoria to start work as the presenter of the drive-time show on 3GG. We’d booked the movers and were ready to go.

Less than a week before we were due to leave town, while I was still working my notice period at 5SE, I came home one day, Julie greeted me at the door and said, “You have to call this bloke back, it’s Graeme Stone, he says he’s the Program Director at 2GO.” I said, “You mean 3GG, don’t you?” She said. “No, he definitely said he was from 2GO”. I knew EXACTLY where 2GO was, it was based in Gosford on the New South Wales Central Coast, a radio market that was one of the big three “stepping stones” to capital city radio.

I sat down on one of the few chairs that hadn’t been packed for our move to Warragul, surrounded by cardboard boxes and packing tape, I dialled what turned out to be Graeme Stone’s direct dial number. He was friendly and got straight to the point. He offered me the night-time show on 2GO.

Wow! 2GO was a MAJOR career move! The money was better than 3GG were going to pay me, in fact it was so good that I figured that we might even be able to afford a car. We hadn’t had “wheels” since I gave up my work van when I quit my job as an air-conditioning mechanic two and a half years earlier.

But a deal is a deal and I had signed a contract with 3GG in Victoria and was expected to start there in a couple of weeks.

Craic on!

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