Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posted November 2010.
When the news arrived that our applications for a job at 2GO, Gosford,
were successful, Daryl and I drove south to Gosford for an interview. When
we arrived we met with Keith Graham, the manager, who worked out of an
office in town. The station was still in the process of being completed.
He took us on a tour of the local attractions, including the skillion at
Terrigal - a steep headland that juts out into the sea.
Daryl and I arrived back in Lismore and resigned from 2LM, which meant
that Daryl's wife Yvonne resigned too - three key people gone. That was
an excuse for the board to sack Howard Head as manager. He didn't do much
anyway, and he had the WORST body odor. We used to leave cakes of soap
on his desk but it didn't do any good. I heard later that he was driving
an ice cream truck.
Two weeks later we were in Gosford. Daryl and Yvonne rented a holiday
flat at Terrigal and I shared the place with them. I remember being introduced
to John West tuna with onion in a can, spread on crackers. Yum. How posh!
The radio station was ready to begin official broadcasting but none
of the new announcers had been allocated a shift yet. So we did test broadcasts
just to see how the guys performed and how strong the signal was. I remember
we received a letter from a bloke in New Zealand who said he heard one
of the test broadcasts from across the Tasman!
I was on air early one morning doing a test broadcast when I said, "If
you're waiting for the 7.58am train to Sydney, it's now 7.59am. Neh neh
neh neh neeeeh neh." The boss was listening and thought it was hilarious,
so he allocated me the breakfast shift. Hehe. Daryl got the morning shift
so we were back doing the same shifts we did in Lismore.
Life in Gosford was pretty good, and the station was well accepted
by the local central coast community. My parents had sold their house in
Sydney and bought a house at Terrigal, so I moved in with them.
Top: The old 2GO studios in Henry Parry Drive. The left side of the
building housed the studios and the right side housed the reception area
and office space. That's an old Volvo whizzing past. Below: My mate Daryl
in the on-air studio. I'm pretty sure those phones gave way to a bank of
cartridge machines so I must've taken the pic in the very early days. Note
the ash tray near the turntable. Hehe.
I traded in the Holden on a late '71 Superbug. There it is pictured
parked near the Skillion. I overheard one of the young mechanics at the
VW dealership say, "He's trading this on THAT!" as if I were totally nuts.
I must admit, when I got behind the wheel of the Bug, I felt claustrophobic
compared the the ballroom dimensions of the Holden. That afternoon, there
had been a major downpour in town which flooded the streets of Gosford
because Brisbane Water was at high tide when the rain fell. As I drove
the Beetle through the flooded streets, and saw all the stranded cars with
their hoods raised, I knew I'd done the right thing. And on the trip back
along the rough, potholed road to the Entrance (before I moved to Terrigal)
I was certain I'd done the right thing. The Bug handled the potholes with
consumate ease. What great cars those Bugs were!
Yes, there I am looking absolutely terrified. And I was! The local
Citizen's Military Forces (CMF) asked me to participate in a promotional
exercise that involved heading out to sea in a landing barge. I thought,
oh, that sounds nice... a little sailing and a picnic. Yeah, right. That
Saturday morning the storms were raging and the wind was howling, and I
announced on air that there was NO WAY the CMF would go ahead with the
exercise. Wrong! So they bundled me into the back of an army truck with
all those butch blokes with rifles and away we went to The Entrance. There
were two landing barges. Once we were through the breakers, I caught occasional
glimpses of the other barge being tossed about in the huge swell, and I
thought, "Bloody hell, if that thing is bobbing around like a cork, we
must be doing the same!" All I could do was stare at the floor of the thing
and pretend it wasn't happening.
As luck would have it, one of the soldiers was dying for a pee, so he
went forward. We crashed head-on into a massive wave which exploded into
an almighty shower and he lost his balance, which is not a good thing to
do when you're waving your willie around. He broke a leg. So a couple of
other soldiers went to his aid, and strapped his leg to his rifle. The
captain then gave orders to about turn and head back to shore.
HEAD BACK TO SHORE? I was so relieved I can't begin to tell you. And
that's the pic the local newspaper journalist took of me about to disembark.
Next, we all had a cuppa tea from an urn in the back of one of the trucks...
IN THE RAIN. Jeez, what fun.
The following Monday, back on air, I was supposed to tell the listeners
what a great time I had, and that joining the CMF was a fabulous idea.
Yes, well I hope they didn't listen to mine. I'd hate to think what
I said... something totally dumb, I suspect. But at least I was safe on
dry land. And there they go again, giving my first name an extra 'r'.
"What are you gonna say next, Gary?" "I dunno, Daryl. Whaddaya reckon?"
I think that lady won a year's supply of frozen food or something.
The things you do when you're a DJ.
Yes, the things you do when you're a DJ. There I am bound and gagged...
well, not gagged - you can't gag a DJ - and stuck in a wheelbarrow. I'd
been kinapped by the local high school kids and held to ransom for a charitable
cause. The little buggers arrived at the studio just as I was about to
finish my brekky program and dragged me kicking and screaming outside,
and then plonked me in the wheelbarrow, and wheeled me all over town asking
for donations. And I thought the CMF landing barge was terrifying! All
those kids would have been about 18 at the time, which would put them into
their late 50s now. Sheesh.
$700 doesn't sound like much but at today's value it would be something
close to $10,000. Not bad for a morning's work. UPDATE: Got an email
from one of the former students at Gosford High, who remembers the kidnapping
very well, and says I was "such a good sport about it". He also wrote:
further to your kidnapping - if you look at the names in the newspaper
clipping, one of your kidnappers was a Mark Edmondson - who became the
last Australian to win the Aussie Open Tennis in 1976 - beating John Newcombe.
Not everyone can lay claim to that! How's that for trivia! Mark is
the one up top with the sideburns.
Kind help? I was hog-tied and kidnapped! 40 years later I'm still having
Oh yes, Mulga Bill. The boss of the station asked me to do a promotion
for a local electrical and homewares retailer for a brand of washing machine.
So I created Mulga Bill, a fictional character who phoned me on air each
morning to tell me about his adventures as he wheeled his old washing machine
along the road south to Gosford because he'd heard about the great deals
being offered by the retailer. He was a miner from Lightning Ridge, and
used the old machine to wash and polish his opals. But he needed a new
one, and wanted to trade in his oldie.
Each day, I wrote a script and recorded Mulga's bits on cartridge, leaving
pauses of appropriate length between his lines for me to respond live on
air next day. I recorded Mulga's stuff through a phone to make it sound
authentic. I can remember how uncanny it was when the conversations went
to air live, just like a real convo with another person. Spooky!
The promotion was supposed to last 2 weeks but it was so successful,
the boss asked me to continue it for another 2 weeks. I had to extend the
journey by involving Mulga in a romantic interlude with a lady he met on
the way. For a while there, it seemed that Mulga was madly in love and
might not continue his journey to Gosford. I can't remember all the things
that happened to Mulga on his trek south but there were many. It was quite
Anyway, there was no real Mulga. But he became real in the minds of
listeners. So we had to find one! We hired an actor from Sydney, plonked
him a few miles out of town with a wheelbarrow carrying an old washing
machine, and got him to walk to town. We announced it on air and people
flocked to cheer him on. Hehe. It all sounds so ridiculous now. So he eventually
arrived in town and camped overnight on the front lawn of 2GO studios.
The poor bloke was petrified. He was unfamiliar with the multitude of adventures
that the pretend Mulga had experienced on his trek from Lightning Ridge
to Gosford, including the romantic interlude, so he tried to avoid questions
from the public like the plague.
They mean "above". But that's okay. I'm not picky.
Not sure what this is, but it might be the winner of the "Draw Mulga
Bill" competition. I can see two washing machines with Mulga in the middle.
Yeah, who wants to be a rocket scientist when you can do this kinda thing
for a living?
And here's another thrilling moment in Radio 2GO history... a lawnmower
competition. Noel Brophy, a well-known actor who was as camp as a row of
tents, was hired to do the "Zip on the Doodah" TV commercials for Victa
Lawnmowers. Check the way Noel is eyeing the winning contestant. Hehe.
And yet another promotion... a pet show. Daryl and I were judges. A
DJ's work is never done ya know.
Just before Santa sat on my lap, he whacked my crotch with a cold spoon.
I still haven't figured out why he did that.
Oh dear, there I am again making the social pages. How boring. Actually,
I bumped into Geoff here in Taree not long ago and... well, let's just
say he hasn't aged all that well. Hehe. I used to think he was gorgeous.
Yes, good old Woolie. He was actually the store manager for the local
Woolworths supermarket. One time, we did a promotion that involved hitching
a ride in a little Bell helicopter - one of those bubble ones that resembles
a dragon fly - at nearby Somersby airport. Airport? Try a grassy field
on top of a mountain. The pilot was doing aerial mapping but was happy
to take us on board for the short flight into Gosford. Well, we were at
Somersby waiting for this thing to arrive when I spotted a speck on the
horizon. "We're gonna fly in THAT?" Actually, it wasn't too bad. I remember
the boss and a few others waving goodbye as the chopper lifted. It was
weird to see the boss and the others getting smaller as we gained height
As we flew at a couple of thousand feet over bushland, it was like
we were floating in space. There was little sense of forward movement.
But the chopper was very smooth, albeit a little crowded with the pilot
on one side, me in the middle, and a bear-suited Woolworths manager on
the other side. (Pic from the web).
When we got close to the park in Gosford where we were to land, I saw
the crowd that had encircled the grass "landing pad". It looked tiny from
the air and I wondered how many people would be instantly decapitated as
the chopper settled on the ground. "Put your bear head on," I told Woolie.
"We're nearly there."
He put the head on and zipped it up, but couldn't see very well out
of the two eye holes. He had straight ahead vision, but nothing above,
below or to the side. Hehe. The pilot, as I mentioned, was on an aerial
mapping survey, and the idea was to drop Woolie and me off before he continued
on with his mission. So naturally, he kept the rotor blades spinning as
we touched down. The landing was so gentle, Woolie didn't believe it. "We're
down," I said. "Time to get out." "Yeah, right. Pull the other one." "Seriously,
we've landed! Open the door!" Well, he wasn't convinced because he could
hear the rotor blades still spinning. But he opened the door anyway and
gingerly put one foot out the door as he checked for solid ground. "We're
on the bloody ground," I insisted. "The crowd is waiting!" So he finally
found solid earth with his foot and we both exited the aircraft before
it took off again. The things you do when you're a supermarket manager.
So that was my time at 2GO. Little did I realize back then that I was
about to be arrested and charged with "indecent assault upon a male person",
and put in a police station cell. That buggered up things big time and
I was dismissed.
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