Last week Mel Dee Dzelde passed away, and David Rogerson took some time to remember a person he admired
POWER FM and 5MU Murray Bridge has lost an utterly amazing and engaging personality.
We’re talking about Mel Dee Dzelde, better known as Mel Dee on air. But radio isn’t the only one losing a truly tenacious and positively outgoing person. Mel’s family, her husband Chris and the world has lost one of the best.
Late last week, Mel finally succumbed to Motor Neuron Disease. And if that wasn’t enough, she had already fought two rounds of fighting off cancer.
When I first began consulting the Murray Bridge stations in the mid 2000’s under the ownership of Grant Broadcasters, Mel was the morning personality on POWER FM. She was a true personality in every sense of the word.
The stations had experienced a revolving door of people through it both on air and off air. It needed settling down. It required a helping hand. It needed a reasoning and rational leader for the programing team.
During a visit to the market I asked Mel if she’d consider being the PD. I figured that Mel’s teaching background and roles in Adelaide radio would be a firm but fair influence on the team.
At first she hesitated. Mel had confidence in herself but wasn’t sure what it would be like having been one of the team, to then be leading the team.
Mel slept on it overnight and came back the next day to accept the new role … and the past is history.
My first question to Mel was – “well what next for 5MU and POWER FM?”
She quickly responded – “ Jeff Sunderland on breakfast and .. you don’t want to hear this but I really want to play Cliff Richard on POWER FM.”
Mel was a huge Cliff Richard and Hall and Oates fan. Cliff Richard on a CHR station I thought? If that was all we needed to negotiate then I felt that was part of future plans or a lunchtime feature.
Throughout her long struggle with poor health, Mel was the same bright, bubbly and enthusiastic person we all came to love. She loved yellow roses and we made sure they arrived for her to enjoy .
A few months back Mel sent me a pic of a small post it note. I had left it on her desk shortly after Mel became PD.
It simply said, “ Love Ya Work Mel – David R.” Mel kept it as a reminder on her office white board to remind her she had the goods.
Her belief in herself blossomed even more.
I said “ Mel continue to be the Mother Hen to others around you because you do that so well.”
Right to the end Mel Dee Dzelde allowed us to return back to her our own “Mother Henning.”
So many gifts, flowers, visits and opportunities for us to show just how thankful we were for the exemplary life she led.
RIP Mel Dee Dzelde – the legacy you’ve left behind will be as enduring as Cliff Richard himself. Love Ya Work