My large box full of 1990s documents continues to throw up plenty of reminders of a period when I was busy being busy. For this past two weeks I’ve had off from work, the ‘time capsule’ has provided us with a lot of laughs.
When B105 radio star Jamie Dunn sent me this letter he would not have known that he would be working closely with me within 6 months. I’ll explain.
In 1996 Peter Little and Don Dawkins recruited me from Darwin to join the Michael Duncan and Leigh Towler (you might know her as Ajay Rochester) breakfast show for what would be the final months of the radio brand known as Coast Rock FM. The then owners of Coast Rock had moved the radio station into the same building as 2GO FM, and eventually changed the name of the station to mirror their Gold Coast station, SEA FM.
During the couple of years I was there, the station would go through two rounds of staff cuts. I survived one cut, but not the second one.
The night show at SEA FM was a lot of fun. The Central Coast Hot 30 was the launching pad for the commercial radio careers for people like Mark Darin, Tim Lynn, Daniel Cassin, ‘Rebecca The Bikini Girl’, ‘Johnny On The Spot’, Monique Tregent, Robbie Wood & Dave Kirwan.
In early February 1998 the general manager who had replaced Peter Little, Graham Smith, told me that network program director Rod Brice had made a decision to network the Craig ‘Big Kahuna’ Collett’s night show from the Gold Coast to the Central Coast. Rachael Oakes-Ash had been given similar news — her 2GO 107.7 night show would be replaced by a Gold Coast night show.
By this stage, SEA FM program director Don Dawkins had moved to Canberra and had been replaced by Mike Summers. I told Mike that the show and I were being made redundant, it was the first he’d been told of the networking news! Our Hot 30 Countdown would be the last locally-produced night show from Gosford on SEA FM.
Immediately I was on an urgent hunt to find a new job in radio. I didn’t know where I would end up. All that I knew was that there was no radio job for me in the region I had grown up — the Central Coast.
So, I started sending audio cassette tapes of my work (known as ‘airchecks’) to program directors around the country and also, it would appear, to high profile radio presenters of some of Australia’s most successful radio shows!
I had been given no end date for my night show at SEA FM, but on Friday 13th February 1998 at about 10pm I signed off from the RG Capital radio network to move to Canberra to work with Steve Mummery, Shane Mcfarlane, Penny Evans, Kevin Woolfe, Geoff Fisher & Karen Prater. (Old buddies I had worked with previously were also in Canberra: Marty Haynes & Peter Yiamarelos).
Things moved very quickly for me in 1998. I end up living and working in four states and territories. I spent 6 months in Canberra helping produce content for the Mix 106.3 breakfast show and ‘pulling’ some weekend shifts on FM104.7. (At the same time my brother Rob and school friend Mark Darin were working an hour north in Goulburn. Rob was doing on air weekend shifts at Eagle FM — he had only just finished his HSC, and was already on air!)
By August, I was at SA FM (now Hit107) in Adelaide to work with Phil Dowse, Craig Bruce, Paul Gale, Amanda Blair, James Brayshaw, Sean Craig Murphy, Mitch Braund, Laura Tchilinguirian & Phynea Papal. I stayed in Adelaide long enough to witness the city win their first AFL ‘flag.’ Adelaide is crazy for their Aussies Rules — I remember Channel 7 replaying the grand final at 6:30pm on the night of the game, and the replay rated higher than the live broadcast!
In October 1998 I landed at radio station B105 (now Hit105) in Brisbane. It was there that I would work for more than 3+ years with Jamie Dunn — in some parts of Australia, Jamie is better known as the hand behind Agro the puppet.
Jamie was the person who sent me the letter in April 1998. Little did he know that within 6 months he would be working with the pest who he was responding to ie me!
Knowing how B105 was operating behind the scenes in 1998, Jamie most likely received my aircheck, and got the PA to the programming boss Rex Morris, Fiona Schell, to write the letter. Jamie would have been to busy to bother signing the letter!
The response letter by Jamie hinted that I knew about some of the regular segments on their show in early 1998. This most likely came about after Robbie and I listened a bit to B105 during a Gold Coast holiday in late November 1997 — (holidaying on the Gold Coast in a November would have made me a ‘Toolie’ wouldn’t it?) We remember hearing Campo deliver the shocking news of Michael Hutchence’s death to the B105 audience on Saturday 22nd November 1997. I think I heard Ron E Sparks anchor a network special across Austereo later that day — possibly produced by 2DayFM’s Peter Clay.
I’ve yet to speak to Jamie about his letter. He, like me, will have forgotten that he had sent it to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Jamie Dunn, Robin Bailey, Ian Skippen, Mel Frame, Stuart McLeod, Ian Calder, Carol Gibson, Michael Gibson, Rex Morris, Sally Quayle & Co. An excellent bunch of people.