There are so many interesting people involved at Radio Blue Mountains both behind the mic and behind the scenes, that we thought we’d share their stories here on the RBM website.
Q: Hi Tony, thanks for taking time out to speak with us. Let’s get straight into it. Who were your favourite radio presenters growing up?
A: I grew up in the UK and came to Australia when I was 15. BBC Radio One was the king when I was growing up with radio jocks like Tony Blackburn (the original DJ BBC had who came from Pirate Radio in the 60’s) Steve Wright and Tommy Vance. When I came to Australia by far my favourite was Triple M’s Doug Mulray.
Q: What was it about Doug Mulray that appealed to you, do you think? Was it the music he played, or the way he spoke, or what was it do you think?
A: For me Doug Mulray’s main appeal was his comedy – he was quick and funny, which I think is vital for breakfast radio. He ran ‘anti ads’ which were spoofs of current radio ads and he regularly had weird guests – which were all voiced by him.
Q: You came to RBM with a great CV in radio presentation. How and when did you first get involved in radio? (Was it back in the UK?)
A: Yep – in fact when I was 13/14 I had a setup in my bedroom and straight after school I would do a daily mock radio show – I had two turntables, tape player etc and even the Radio One jingles! When I came to Australia and finished Uni I was offered a few radio jobs – one in the north of WA, Karratha and one in Northam, a country town a couple of hours from Perth.
Q: What is the role do you think of a radio presenter? Is it simply “that was, and this is” or is there more to it?
A: A radio presenter should be an entertainer – we are the conduit between the music and the listener, we need to be as entertaining as the music we play.
Q: When you’re on air, how do you go about maintaining a friendly, chatty demeanour, considering that you will most of the time be alone in the studio?
A: I’ve done a fair bit of media training including TV, and what they drill home is to imagine your audience through the lense of the camera. It’s same in radio – you have to imagine there’s an audience basically in your mic ☺. I think planning helps a lot – if you have a structure for your show and music playlist etc you can relax more and therefore be more conversational.
Q: So you emigrated from Old Blighty to the Lucky Country. what was it that brought you to Australia – and don’t say “a plane”?!
A: 1981 was the year and my Mum was the driver for coming to Australia, she basically wanted a better life for her kids than the UK could offer at the time.
Q: What are the major differences you’ve noticed between radio here and in the UK? Not just community radio, but in commercial radio too.
A: I think radio in Australia followed the US format and was more commercial in many ways. In the UK radio announcers were more entertaining and creative and did more than announce the songs and read the weather,
Q: And what are the major technical advances that you have witnessed in radio broadcasting?
A: I think radio has become more visual – people love to see the studio webcam or see social streams of the shows and presenters. Also radio now isn’t always consumed live – with podcasts and on-demand options now available.
When I started in radio we had promos and ads on cassettes that had to be loaded and fired off manually, turntables instead of CD’s etc – now we have more computerisation.
Q: What advice would you give anyone interested in getting involved in radio?
A: You’ve got to love entertaining and not just playing music. I’ve had many years (since I was 17 and could drive) doing live DJ shows from nightclubs to weddings and it’s a great training ground because you have live audience that you can see.
Q: Do you think Community Radio is seen as a stepping stone to the more commercial FM stations by some people, or is it it’s own, unique environment?
A: I think community radio has a couple of purposes – firstly to share the unique fabric of our society with a variety of shows and presenters that you would never get to hear on commercial radio as it’s so programmed. Secondly, it is a great training ground towards commercial radio – it’s like flying, the more on-air miles you get the better you are.
Q: What’s your favourite pastime outside of RBM?
A: Hiking, squash and painting … when I get the time.
Okay some rapid fire questions now, Tony.
Favourite Band? Spandau Ballet
Favourite Song? September – Earth Wind and Fire
Favourite Music era? 70’s and 80’s
Favourite sport? Soccer
Favourite team? West Coast Eagles (and GWS)
Favourite food? Indian
Favourite Drink? Only recently too … Gin and Tonic
Favourite holiday destination? Europe
And finally Tony, complete this sentence: “If I won a million bucks tomorrow I would . . . . . “
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