Form opinions and express them: 6PR’s Chris Ilsley

Bruce Goldberg sits down with Chris Ilsley from 6PR, who has recently moved from mid-dawns to nights.
How did you get started?

Mount Lawley TAFE in Perth. The broadcasting course run by Alan Gibbs and Murray Dickson.
Prior to starting the course, the Late Carl Graham and Derek Andrews at 6NA in my hometown of Narrogin WA, taught me broadcast basics. As luck would have it, they prepared me for the TAFE course, of which 20 applicants were chosen from a field of 530. 
How long have you been in the industry?

31 Years.
After doing mid – dawns for such along time, how difficult was it to start doing the new hours.

It was the easiest thing I have ever done. Anyone doing mid dawns knows the hours slowly sap the energy from you.
How many hours prep do you do before hand?

4 hours.
Most memorable shift you have ever done and why?
11 September 2001. 9/11 happened not long before I went to air. It was truly a developing story of gargantuan proportions.
Who was the most difficult caller to deal with on air?
A woman named Pauline. She had a stroke and called after release from hospital. Pauline was virtually unintelligible as a result of the effect the stroke had on her speech. For some reason I persevered with her calls, despite being extremely difficult understanding what she was saying.

Eventually her speech recovered. Pauline’s story took on a new dimension when I received a letter from her Neurologist. In part, the doctor said “…you have contributed more towards Pauline’s successful rehabilitation than any treatment or professional intervention.”    

Favourite talk back topic?
Anything of interest to the public. I long ago learnt the best topic is the one that has the phones ringing. The trick is to be able to chat about topic(s) which are of no personal interest.
Favourite food?
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Favourite song?

More Than A Feeling – Boston
Were do you see radio going in the future?
Talkback is in fine shape as long as it does not fall into the networking trap. The great power of local talk stations is the ability to connect with locals about issues that matter most to them.
Music radio faces some serious challenges. I believe it has to offer audiences what they cannot get via online or streamed sources.
Any tips for an up and coming talkback hosts?
More should consider talkback.

My advice? Take an interest in, and acquire knowledge of, subjects in which you would not ordinarily be interested. Also consider other viewpoints, because they will be thrust upon you.

Form opinions and express them. Know why you hold those views and be prepared to defend.




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