How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 144.


“I can’t believe you’ve done something so unprofessional!”

That’s what the Music Director of the radio station said to me one morning after my Breakfast Show. It happened over ten years ago at a large regional radio station. The Breakfast Show team and I always liked to proudly announce that, “Our show is based on a true story”. That meant that we kept things as real as possible. We shared real stories from our life, talked about real people and wherever possible used real live sounds rather than sound effects.

One morning, we got an email from a listener that said, if you put a light bulb in a microwave, it lights up. We got really excited and decided to prove it. We grabbed the station microwave from the lunch room, plugged it into a vacant socket in the on-air studio, unscrewed one of the studio light bulbs, miked it up, put the bulb in and set the dial for one minute.

It really was amazing, sure enough the bulb lit up and you heard our surprised reaction on the air. Then we got another email that said if you put a CD in a microwave, it makes a rainbow.

This radio station was still playing the music on the air from CDs. I grabbed the next CD we were due to play from the rack on the studio wall and put it in the microwave. When we turned it on, there were a few sparks but nothing like a rainbow. More disappointment followed when I took the CD out of the microwave and tried to play it on the air, it wouldn’t play. It wasn’t just the track I wanted, none of the tracks would play, it was wrecked.

The big problem was that this radio station didn’t have that many CDs. From memory, I think the entire playlist was on about ten of them. The music director had taken all of the music we played and burned each track onto these playlist CDs. We played every track of every one of them on the air. The radio station’s entire music library was on these CDs that were stored in the studio.

The Music Director also did an air-shift and his show followed mine. He walked into the studio at the end of our show and the first thing he said to me was, “I can’t talk to you right now, I can’t even look at you. I can’t believe you’ve done something so unprofessional!”.

I said, “Oh, lighten up, let me have a list of the songs that were on the damaged CD, give me the original CDs and I’ll burn you a new one. I’ll get onto it right now”. That was a problem because it turned out that after he’d recorded the original tracks and burned the playlist CDs, he hadn’t kept the originals. This was before the days of easy access to downloadable music so replacing the CD I’d damaged was going to take a few days and in the meantime, the radio station’s playlist was going to be short of about ten percent of it’s music.

He’d made copies of the playlist tracks and NOT kept the original CDs!

And I’M the one that was unprofessional?

Craic on!

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