Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posted December 2010
Noel McGurgan was the manager of 2DAY FM, one of two new commercial
FM stations in Sydney. The FM band had only just been introduced. It was
owned by 3 villains, John Laws, Graham Kennedy and Mike Willessee. Noel
fitted in very well because he was also a villain. He drove a big V8 Porsche.
I discovered why a year or two later when I stood next to him at the 2DAY
urinal. Anyway, I got in touch with him and he took me to lunch. In those
days, I was a Proprietary Limited company.
Don't worry about page 2. It's all boring stuff. But $500 a week wasn't
bad. During lunch, Noel nicked off to the loo for a pee and I took the
opportunity to order another port, which I downed before he got back. He
said he was a happy man to have me on board. I went back to 2UE and resigned
AGAIN! I remember John Laws saying I wasn't doing myself any professional
favors by resigning every 5 minutes, but HE was one of the owners of 2DAY
Noel fathered two very glamorous daughters, one of whom is picture
here with Noel. (I used to call him Noelene). My nickname at the time was
Grace (after Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco and Hollywood actress). But
Noel's daughter re-named me DISgrace, which was probably more appropriate.
Note what she's doing with her fingers.
Wow, that's all changed! This is the only pic I could find of the old
Ramada Inn (the tall building on the left) on the Pacific Hwy Crows Nest,
where 2DAY FM's studios and offices were located. I think we were on the
3rd or 4th floor. I understand 2DAY is in the city now. That new apartment
building wasn't there at the time. It was all small shops.
Above: 2DAY reception area with 2 of our pretty girls. Below: Audio
engineer and producer, Peter Kukura. He used to call me Ga-rik-ally and
I called him Kookaburra. He was great to work with, and a very talented
One day, Barry Humphreys was in town to promote his new Dame Edna Everage
show. He had just been at 2UE to record a promo and was pissed off big
time. My replacement there (actually there were 3 of them) had written
a dreadful script. I was still at home suffering a hangover or whatever
when 2DAY's program manager Diamond Lil phoned in a panic and said, "Get
your ass over here now! Barry Humphries is due here at midday and he's
spitting chips!" I told her to calm down. When I arrived, I went into my
office, still feeling rather poorly, and typed a bunch of scripts for Barry.
I was a great fan of his and pretty much understood what to write even
though I'd never met him.
At noon, I went to one of my usual long lunches. When I returned to
2DAY, Peter Kukura told me that Barry had recorded the scripts, was most
impressed, and wanted to meet the author. Dammit! Me and my long lunches!
Later, I wrote to Barry and apologized for not being there. He replied
with a letter praising my talent. And where is that letter? I don't know.
Lost somewhere in transit, with me flitting from place to place. That's
one of my great regrets. Praise from a genius like Barry Humphries is not
something you get every day.
Meanwhile, my tenant moved out of 15 Hegarty St and I moved back in.
Top: One of 2DAY's announcers, Bob Hughes, a very intelligent man who
later worked as an announcer for the ABC, and now runs his own public-speaking
and training school. Below: 2DAY's programming department with my mate
Philip (wearing the tie) trying to chat up the young bloke next to him.
If I had a dollar for every time Philip and I went to lunch, I'd be a millionaire.
It was a lotta fun working at 2DAY. The station was big into promotions
like the Sydney Ferry Boat races on New Year's Day.
On this occasion, one of the older ferries sprung a leak and headed
at full steam back to Circular Quay. It berthed just in time to get all
the passengers safely onto the wharf before it sank. When we arrived, all
that was visible of the stricken ferry was the top of the mast and a bit
2DAY was very image conscious and promoted itself as "the" most popular
music station in the 24-39 age group. It wasn't always like that though.
When the station first started, Noel McGurgan phoned the advertising agency
responsible for Coca Cola ads and offered them a free package, just to
have Coke ads on air. But they declined. Hehe. It was quite a struggle
for 2DAY to gain credibility in the early days. But once it got established,
it did extremely well.
I think a great part of 2DAY's success was due to the professionalism,
sophistication and intelligence of its sales staff. Second from the left
is Kim. One day she walked into my office, dropped a business card from
a car dealer on my desk and walked out. I was supposed to write a commercial
from that? From that day forward I called her Vera Vague.
Kim and I were good mates. One day we went to lunch at the nearby pizza/pasta
restaurant and she told me about a chat she had with the boss of Seeburg
Australia. Seeburg was contemplating getting into the in-store advertising
biz. They were already supplying major supermarkets with taped background
music and figured that inserting commercials might be a good idea. I thought
it was a fantastic idea, and told Kim that she should follow it up, and
include me in the deal. When Noelene heard about our little scheme he was
furious and fired us both.
For many reasons, the Seeburg thing failed, so I was left to ponder
my fate. I decided to go freelance and establish Kelly's Copy Shop, working
from home. By then, I'd turned 42. And I still haven't figured out what
the significance of the big candle at the bottom of my birthday cake was
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