Today marks the end of an era for morning radio in Melbourne, as the city farewells not one, but two of its best known and most enduring broadcasters.
As has already been widely reported, 3AW Mornings host Neil Mitchell is presenting his final show, as he steps down from the role he’s held for 33 years.
And – after almost seventeen years as show’s live read specialist – today is also the final daily 3AW shift for Jane Holmes.
Jane will remain a part of the 3AW family, still popping into Denis Walter’s show for chats and giggles on Thursday nights.
“He’s a sweetheart and we have fun, which is a precious commodity,” Jane tells Radio Today.
Jane will also be filling the odd guest spot where required.
Part of the Australian media landscape for more than four decades and a member of some of radio’s most memorable on-air teams, Jane’s familiar voice will certainly be missed.
As one listener phoned in to say this week – whether she’s delivering the weather or previewing what’s on TV – there is something comforting about hearing Jane’s smooth-as-silk voice float across the airwaves.
It’s a familiar, reassuring presence. One that makes you feel that little bit better about facing the day ahead.
And for Jane, that kind of feedback makes it all worthwhile.
“If I can be a little ray of light – if I can help – then my job is done,” she says.
Speaking of familiar voices, chances are you already know Jane’s, regardless of where you live.
As one of the voices of Telstra, you’ll often hear Jane when you pick up the phone to make a call.
In fact, a caller to 3AW famously once asked whether Jane gets mad when she rings Telstra and puts herself on hold!
Jane’s working life has come full circle – finishing her full-time career at the same station where she started back in 1979.
Jane began at 3AW doing office work, research, production and news.
She says she was lucky to land a position that trained her in all facets of broadcasting.
By 1985, she was a researcher and producer at 3DB.
She went on to become part of the successful XY Zoo and for three memorable years, she also shared the airwaves with Barry Bissell at Fox FM.
Stints at Gold FM and 3MP followed, before she returned to AW in 2007.
Radio is very much part of Jane’s DNA. For more than half a century, her dad Lennie Holmes entertained Melbourne on both TV and radio, as well as on the stage.
Jane’s mum Ray worked in radio behind the scenes, both in publicity and as a copywriter at 3KZ in the ‘50s.
Nancy Lee – a pioneering announcer in the early 1930s – was not only a family friend, but a wonderful role model.
“Nancy embodied all the things I loved in a woman in broadcasting. Feminine, but fun. She was clever, and she made it all about the listener.”
“I thought ‘Yup, that’s what I want to do.’”
Reminiscing on 3AW this week about her decades in radio, Jane said going to all-girls school gave her a solid grounding to deal with what she described as a somewhat sexist climate in the 70s and 80s.
“We were told ‘Just get on with it.’ And I just got on with it.”
For Jane, it was about being hired on her merits, and because she was a damn good broadcaster, not because she was a woman.
Time and time again, Jane has witnessed the power of radio.
This was never more apparent than during the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.
Jane was working on reception at 3AW as a steady stream of people – from elderly ladies to workmen in their boots and shorts – came in to donate money.
“3AW raised one million dollars to help rebuild our fractured state,” Jane recalls.
“That’s when I realised the listeners look to us. We have to use that responsibility as an honour, not as a right.”
Jane says there have been many highlights along the journey.
“One of the high points was meeting one of my childhood idols, Rosemary Margan, who retired from this role in 2007.”
“I always loved her blend of cleverness and femininity. To meet her and then fill her shift was a great honour.”
As she prepares to say goodbye to 3AW Mornings, Jane thanked Mitchell for the opportunity to be part of the program.
“It has been an absolute honour and a privilege.”
*3XY photo credit: Friends of 1420/1422 3XY Facebook page