Chris Smith will celebrate 40 years in media next week.
On 7th March 1982 he began his media career at 2VM Moree.
Chris now presents a top rating weekend show on 2GB between 9am to 2pm and has a regular tv show on Sky. Previously he presented 2GB afternoons.
We asked him to look back over his career to date.
What was it like starting in radio at 2VM 40 years ago?
I remember how petrified I was of going from radio school and university, to the real radio world.
I didn’t even know where Moree was and had to follow maps to get there.
The night before my first day, I remember sitting in this pokey room in the Royal Hotel, writing a note to the GM explaining why I couldn’t go ahead with the job. Dad talked me out of it thankfully.
I was so nervous on my first shift, Afternoons, that I used my real name to describe myself in the first talk slot, and forgot that everyone knew me at the station as Chris Kieren! That was supposed to be my radio name.
It was too late and I was stuck with Smith for life.
You have had stints in tv, how does that compare with radio?
I had stints in TV in Bendigo, Channel 7 News, Hinch, a Current Affair, Beijing TV, Nine Early Morning News, Sunrise, and now at Sky News and the Today Show.
It’s great to be handy at both because the basic craft of communication and the headspace required to absorb and analyse news, is interchangable.
The news and current affairs landscape and opportunities have exploded in the TV industry in the past 20 years… so that keeps the mortgage serviced.
But I’m way more comfortable with radio because you don’t have to concern yourself with viewers staring at you… and I’ve spent the bulk of my 40 years behind the mic.
You’ve had some ups and downs in your 40 year media career. What’s your advice to others about surviving in a high profile public position when things get tough?
Surviving doesn’t just require doing things right and not getting into strife, which I’ve struggled with at times, it requires humility, reinvention and contacts.
I’ve been able to keep near the top for so long because I’ve tried so hard to learn from my mistakes, been able to skill up to take other opportunities, and remained humble.
The era of the media bully is done… being able to take direction, and work hard and respectfully in a team still matters.