Michael Anderson, who came to Moree for 2 weeks and stayed 34 years | radioinfo

Michael Anderson, who came to Moree for 2 weeks and stayed 34 years

Friday 27 December, 2019

Retiring 2VM Breakfast Announcer, Michael Anderson, is looking back over a lifetime in radio that will finish in Moree.

Michael says he went straight from school into 4BH for an interview with GM George Lovejoy, the man who coined the term, “Rugby League, the greatest game of all.”

George put Michael to work in the mail room and so his career in radio began in 1974 as office boy, and he says, “I picked up a few things as far as production, copywriting, recording and reading goes and the crew that were there at the time were very generous with their time and their talents to teach a young bloke coming through.

"I worked there for a couple of years, but I realised at some stage I couldn't be collecting the mail three times a day for the rest of my life.
 
“So I asked around and a fellow by the name of Russ Walkington took me under his wing. He'd sit me down with piles and piles of old copy, reading into a cassette machine and say…’read those and call me when you're finished.’
 
“That went on for week after week after week after week after week before I even stepped into a studio to play disc jockey.”
 
“Russ told me you learn how to do advertising first and learn what that's all about before you worry about playing records.
 
“And that's what I did and it's a lesson that stuck with me because you know, it's not about the music it's not playing the greatest hits of today or yesterday or next week. It's about making a dollar for the station and making a dollar for those who advertise.”
 
Russ and Michael have remained good friends for over 40 years, and even today, Russ has taken Michael’s daughter under his wing and is teaching her all about radio at the community station where he now works.
 
Michael’s move into regional radio started like it did for most others, endless audition tapes sent out and rejected by stations until he finally found success at 8HA in Alice Springs.
 
“I remember walking off the plane being taken up to one of the high points in Alice Springs to survey the city and surrounds and thinking, ‘This is it. This is Alice Springs …I woke up in a suburb bigger than this this morning.’ But Alice Springs was interesting, and I met some great people there.
 
I shared a flat with Dave Hill who later went on manager of 7LA in Launceston. Terry & Richard Daniels, Terry now has Air News and Rick he was still dabbling in radio many years later. Graham Gilbert… and newsman Jeff Huddleston who impressed on me the importance of local news. They were good fellows to work with.”
 
After about ten months at the Alice, Michael had short stints at Gympie and Broken Hill before moving to Kingaroy.
 
“Kingaroy was great. I mean Kingaroy was probably one of the great learning grounds because for some reason we had the freedom to experiment and to try things to develop ourselves to grow as announcers and some very talented people went through there.
 
“Dave Nugent, who I'm still all these years later, am proud to have worked, but proud to call him a mate.
 
“Leon Delaney was another one. Great man too to work with Leon, but very green when we worked together in in Kingaroy.
 
Doug Sterns, very professional in the way he approached his job, as well Jenny Swan as she became, a stalwart of the ABC in Toowoomba.
 
“So we learned our craft without people looking over our shoulders saying ‘don't do this, don't do that’.
 
“It was about taking risks, pushing the envelope, making mistakes, and getting our backsides kicked when we did do something wrong. Knowing that each time you push the envelope, next time you push it you have to travel that little bit further, but always with the risk that you can get the kick in the backside, and if you get sacked occasionally, you get sacked.
 
After Kingaroy, Michael went to Mt Isa, working with Peter Key and John Dean, hooking up again with Leon Delaney who by now was developing into a very good broadcaster.
 
In charge of the station was Bob Smith who had a great influence on Michael.
 
“A great bloke, Bob. He was the last surviving cast member of the old Dad and Dave radio serial and he was an entertainer and a radio man and he was all for developing any talent that came into a station.”
 
Four years at the Isa, and Michael finally arrived in Moree and 2VN where Steve O’Shea was the manager, putting Michael on for two weeks.
 
“The boss said can you do another week I said okay, and I do another week and on about the second day of the third week the secretary came along and said you need to fill out this tax form. There was a bit on it said what type of employment, casual, part-time or permanent. So I asked what do I tick and she said just tick permanent, and here I am 34 years later.”
 
When Steve retired Ken Birch came on the scene, and wow what a dynamo he was and a breath of fresh air in the radio industry.
 
It’s been a great experience 2VM, and again some good people have come through.
 
Graham Miles who was sort of like the operations manager here. Graham had a wealth of experience in country radio. A great voice, great talent. You know listening to him it's just like listening to an old uncle you know.
 
In fact he was affectionately known through the building as Uncle Graham and still, to this day, if we communicate with him it’s still Dear Uncle Graham.
 
Margaret Hill in the newsroom, what a great journo, an absolute gem of a of a local journalist.
 
Other people I've worked with include Tim Gavel who went on to head ABC Grandstand in Canberra. He was a delight to work with and just as fantastic, Peter Denton at Taree. Good mates.
 
So for a man who has spent his life in radio, what advice can Michael offer aspiring announcers
 
“I don't care who you are or where you are, whether you're in Britain, New York, Wellington, Moree, Sydney, Melbourne, it doesn't matter, Prague anywhere.
 
“The greatest advice I ever had was, it doesn't matter how big your audience is, and you can have 200,000 people listening to you, but you really do only have an audience of one.
 
“You only ever talk to one person at a time and you singularise everything, you personalize everything.
 
“If you are trying to break into radio, then learn to write, learn to produce, be creative and creative just doesn't happen.
 
“Develop your creativity. You will make mistakes and you'll do some absolutely shocking work in the name of creativity, but it will all be a step in to attaining the creativity you desire.
 
“When reading copy, be able to talk about what's on a page, not read what's on a page, turn the page into a conversation.
 
“Learn how to breathe, to take pauses, to emphasize correctly, and do two or three takes, five takes eight takes, until you're comfortable with it until it's a conversation. Do it.
 
“This is what is paying your wages, what's paying the electricity bill to keep the station on the air.
 
“That is the crux of it, it's not the greatest hits of yesterday today and tomorrow, it's that 30 seconds that you've been asked to record or read live.”
 
Ever humble about what he has achieved in radio, when asked about how he would sum up his career and influence as a broadcaster Michael said, “You know when you look at it you know the boys on the council who go around picking up garbage bins every week, they probably do a greater job for the community than what we do.
 
“If they didn't take the garbage out this place would be awful, so you know how important their job is.
 
“We just keep them company while they drive in the truck.”

 
 
Thanks to Greg Henry for his contribution to this story
 

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