How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 130.


I found myself on the payroll of a murderer once.

For me to be as honest as I can about what happened, I’m not going to tell you which radio station I was working for or even what part of the UK it was in because it still scares me to this day.

I like doing live events but don’t like it when I’m asked to attend a meeting at the venue weeks before, to discuss how it’s going to run. These meeting are always a waste of time. The running order changes on the night anyway. When you’re hosting an event, the best thing to do is get there nice and early, find out exactly what’s expected then get on with it while it’s still all fresh in your mind.

I was asked to host a listener party for the radio station at a local nightclub. The station was paying me the standard appearance fee which I think was a couple of hundred pounds on top of my pay for presenting my show on the air. I was glad of the extra money.

A couple of weeks before the event, the radio station salesman who dealt with the nightclub’s account said to me that the owner wanted to meet with me. I told the salesman that I’d rather get there early on the night itself and he can talk me through what he wants then. The salesman grabbed me by the arm and said, “Go and see him, he’ll look after you!”

In the end, I went one lunchtime and ended up sitting in the nightclub owner’s office talking to him for about an hour. We talked about his background and I talked about mine but we didn’t talk about the upcoming event very much at all.

At the end of the meeting, as he opened the door for me to leave, he pushed an envelope into the outside pocket of my jacket. He said, “That’s a message I want you to read out on the radio if you get a chance”. I said “OK”, made my way outside, got in my car and headed home.

I remember driving home thinking about what a waste of time the meeting had been. At the next set of traffic lights, I suddenly remembered the envelope. I reached into my pocket, pulled it out and opened it. The envelope contained sixteen, fifty pound notes, £800 in cash! The earth stood still for a minute.

I assumed the nightclub owner wanted to make sure I gave his nightclub a big push on the air. The next day when I walked into the radio station the salesman asked me across the office if I’d been to see the nightclub owner. When I said, “Yes”, he smiled and said, “Did he look after you?”

I’m not sure how many broadcasting regulations and actual laws were being broken at this point but I can’t have been the only radio presenter that was being “looked after” by advertisers. I didn’t like the situation one bit but didn’t want to make a fuss because the nightclub owner was a big client of the radio station. I didn’t know how rife this kind of thing was and I wasn’t going to be the one who blew the whistle and messed things up for the radio station that paid my wages. As it turned out; bribery, corruption, product placement and tax evasion were the least of my worries.

I didn’t know anything about the nightclub or the owner at the time so asked around town. It turned out that there had been a shooting at the club in the past. A bouncer had gone to jail for shooting dead a bloke at the front door in a late night incident. The widely held belief was that the club owner had fired the shot but as he had a history of violent crime and would have been given a long sentence, he paid the bouncer to take the rap and the bouncer was doing the time for him.

The club owner was “looking after him”.

Craic on!

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