‘The night John Cleese (almost) cracked onto me… well, he was thinking about it anyway’

It’s ACRA’s time.
That time of the year you are loving yourself sick because you have been nominated in a category or convincing yourself someone sabotaged your entry because your work is so much better than the finalists.
I have been to two ACRA’s. My first I was loving myself sick as I had been nominated for and went on to win the Brian White Award for excellence in journalism. The company wouldn’t pay for me to go, so a kind Account Manager convinced CUB to cover my fare to Adelaide with one night’s accommodation.
In between that and the second time I went, the Kim and Dave Show was nominated in the Best On-Air team category. We put entries in every year but the market was never surveyed and hence it was only us telling the judges how fantastic we were. When we were finally surveyed we blitzed the competition including the ABC and were rewarded with a nomination. Again, the company wouldn’t pay for us to go…so we had a dinner party at Dave’s listening to our entry, wetting ourselves convinced we would win. We didn’t (“must be rigged”).
A few years after we were asked by Commercial Radio Australia to present one of the awards at the ACRA’s in Sydney. I was soooo nervous I hid half a valium under the hem of my Spanx, certain I was going to have a panic attack. We were on after the Key Note speaker presented and while waiting to go on the said speaker was seriously giving me the eye. I checked with Dave and he confirmed, John Cleese had given me the once over. He may have been 100 in my eyes but I knew who he was and was completely flattered. Yes, I am one of those who enjoy a good wolf whistle from a construction site.
I thought I’d check in with a few announcers and hear their experiences.
5 things that happened at ACRAS in the past by Chilli FM’s Dan Taylor.
1.         “Snuck into the Nova After party in Queensland simply by looking at the names list and choosing the first cab off the rank…Yes, That’s me “Arn Anderson” and YES I would love to enjoy this unrestricted beverage package alongside Jason Derulo. Why of course I would like a cocktail with an umbrella in it, sure thing, I’ll dance sexily with the girl from Sneaky Sound System whilst everyone around wonders who this drunkard actually is in the company.
2.         After partying hard until 6am after this particular booze and smooze fest, the cab rank was gigantic – “I’m not far away!” says my genius intellect as I start to run in my full suit and uncomfortable shoes, “The hotels near the beach somewhere” I say to myself as I run full pace along the Surfers Paradise shore. I end up running for an hour, 13 kilometers later… I am confused as hell and with no phone battery and hacked up bleeding heels from the shoes, I sit quietly in the gutter, contemplating purchasing a goon pillow for naptimes. Suddenly I look up, and see my hotel actually right in front of my face. I pass out on the bed at 7am for an 8 am flight the next day.
3.         Gave physical USB’s with airchecks with our drive duo to every PD in plain sight, drunkenly at 4 or 5 am saying ‘WE ARE THE NEXT BIG THING” and shoving them sneakily into some of their pockets. Get zero replies, and awkwardly gave one to Charlie Pickering and said ‘GET US ON THE PROJECT” before taking a photo with him with my hand close to his bathing suit area
4.         Went to a Nova Pre-Party about a carton deep, and kept taking selfies with the band members of Sheppard. I also kept explaining how that they were my favourite band and “Let me down easy’ was the best track I had ever spun on the wireless… and that they should watch their flocks by night and put potato on their meat pies.
5.         After being fired by a particular pipeline station for someone from Big Brother (Who’d have thunk it?) I made my own business cards with WARRIOR POET written on the front, clumsily handing them out (yes, again drunk off house wine and bubbly) and gave one to Guy Sebastian for some reason, and one B-Card to Derryn Hinch. I asked Dezzamundavich if he had ever been fired before, he gave a resounding “YES” and I bought him over some Chinese food that a waiter was walking past with. I said “Chicken Cashew Nut” in my best Asian accent to which he was thoroughly unimpressed. I saw him physically put my personal card in the bin closest to the door out of the building. I still have the picture to prove I roll with the heavyweights of radio.”

Good times Dan.
Names to be protected here as the announcer “may or may not have” inhaled a certain weed with one of the biggest announcers at the time and his famous date. It’s argued she needed it to calm down after swearing her head off over some issue. She was also eyeing up someone other than her date. What a scandal!
Al Shield won the ACRA for Best on Air Team provincial in 2011 and remembers…
“It was the same year that Kelsey Grammer was the special guest host and he actually handed out the awards for that category. A bit blown away that our names were read out and in a moment of being completely star struck while shaking his hand, I had no idea what to say to him (be cool, be cool…) but the only thing I managed to blurt out was:
‘I loved you as Beast!’
(He played Beast in one of the X-Men movies. Yes, in his history of every character in movies and TV he’s played, I picked the one where he was covered in blue fur!) I don’t think he actually fully heard what I said and just nodded and smiled anyway.
Also I bought a suit just for the occasion and found out the jacket was two sizes too big. But hey, loved every second of it.”

(That’s me in the middle, still dazed and confused)

For those who weren’t nominated take a listen to the first three minutes  of this Ricky Gervais podcast and for those who are nominated, good luck on the Gold Coast.

Kim Napier

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