‘I shed a tear:’ Steve Blanda on that redundancy

When the Macquarie Fairfax merger happened, 2UE news stalwart Steve Blanda was holidaying in London.
With fifty staff to lose their jobs from a number of departments including news, few imagined the man who holds the record for the most number of ACRAs would be among the casualties.
What we didn’t realize was Steve Blanda, who had read news on 2UE for 17 years had been in talks with executives before he left for the UK and was asked to leave contact details as the “wheels were in motion” and no-one was sure what the outcome would be.
As we know, the newsreader dubbed by radioinfo as “the man with the safest job in radio,” ultimately lost his job.
“I was on holiday when it happened so it was all very surreal. I was sitting in the hotel room, first thing in the morning in London and end of the business day in Sydney, going through the formal process of being made redundant.”
While Steve processed the decision by the company not to retain him he had no idea of the ground swell of support that was building back home.
“Within hours I started receiving messages of support from former colleagues and people in the industry. I was flattered.”

Steve Blanda, one of the good guys of the industry, on holidays on the other side of the world having just lost his job then jumps on to a computer to listen to 2UE’s final news bulletin.
“ I sat down in my hotel room and shed a tear – it was a very emotional moment.”
Steve had celebrated his 60th birthday earlier this year and had thought his career could be over.
“It  did cross my mind because I thought no matter what you have achieved or how good you are – once you hit that magic age it is natural to think, how many years does this person have in him or do they still even have it.”
“The thought also crossed my mind, do I continue – have I had enough?”
As Steve contemplated his future and a life away from radio he wasn’t worried.
“…being able to help with school runs, morning and afternoon, having that flexibility, that freedom. It didn’t look too bad.”

As things have turned out Steve still has a “love of radio” and was recently picked up to read news on Smooth FM.

“I am really quite humbled by the attention I have attracted by switching to Smooth.”
In part two of our catch-up Steve discusses what it was like to jump behind the microphone again and his thoughts on the value and future of broadcast news.

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