By the time Phillip Adams, ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live host, turned on a radio microphone for the first time he was already an established voice in the Australian film and advertising industries. With news that he will not be dying at that mic as he ‘feels this would be unfair to the cleaners’, but retiring instead in June, it ends an extraordinary contribution to broadcasting.
There are his films, books, reports, board, chair and ambassador roles, interviews and commentary that have led to awards, two Orders of Australia, Honorary Doctorates, induction in the Media Hall of Fame and, of course, being named in a National Trust Poll as one of Australia’s 100 Living National Treasures. Not bad for a boy who didn’t get to finish school.
Lest this sound like the obituary that Adams is trying to avoid I’ll quote instead his regular Late Night Live guest and ABC Staff Elected Director Laura Tingle:
“It’s been such a privilege to be part of the Little Wireless Program, and to talk to a bloke with the brain the size of a planet, for all this time.
“Even when he is being ‘Oh Phillip!’ infuriating, or luring me into saying things I probably shouldn’t.
“I know from all the people who stop me in the street how big a presence LNL is in so many people’s lives. And how beloved PA is by the audience.
“What a kaleidoscope of issues and stories he has guided us through over more than three decades on this program.
“How on earth will we get by without him.”
It will probably allow more time for Adams to grow garlic and olives, farm his organically fed cattle and collect the rare antiquities as he does in his spare time. Perhaps a new podcast is in order? Irrespective there is plenty of time left for more ‘Oh Phillips’ as well as congratulations and thankyous, from listeners, and our industry on which he has left an indelible mark.