How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 165.


When you broadcast from outside the safety of a radio studio, anything can happen. Unfortunately in commercial radio, sometimes the sales team will sell a client a package for an outside broadcast then once the deal is signed, expect everything to magically come together on the day with no planning whatsoever. The salesperson that drops you in it like this hardly ever shows up on the day itself, especially if it’s booked on a weekend.

In 2006, I was at 2CRFM on England’s South Coast. One Saturday morning, I was booked to do a series of live crosses from Marwell Zoo. All I had to do was call into the station every half hour and talk about what a great day out you could have at Marwell.

After the first four live crosses, I was running out of things to talk about. I’d chatted to some kids (who all seemed to have been taken to the zoo by their divorced fathers), described what I could see and listed the times of special events taking place that day. Then I got lucky and bumped into one of the keepers. I put him on the air in my next cross and he was great. He told me all about the animals he looked after. Then off the air, he said he’d get one of the other keepers to join me in half an hour for my next live cross. I told him to tell the next keeper where I was, “turn left at the white rhinos and I’m on the right in front of the toilet block opposite the snakes, behind the crocodiles”.

Twenty-nine minutes later, there was no sign of him and I didn’t have a plan B. With seconds to go before I was due to go live, I saw this bloke in a Marwell uniform walking towards me. I ran up to him, the studio put me live, I told him he was on the air and started asking him about the animals. For a zoo keeper, he didn’t seem to know that much. When I asked him how many snow leopards they had at Marwell, he said he didn’t know. I asked him, “Why not?” and he said, “Because I’m the lavatory attendant”.

Craic on!

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