When sheer bluff won’t get you into an ACRAs after party

Or how Peter Saxon was saved from ignominy by perhaps the most influential woman in radio

A few years back DMG was handing out invitations to almost anyone with a pulse in order to fill up a local night club and revel in the ACRAs won by their team. Not any more.

Since the name change to Nova Entertainment, only the hottest and coolest or those who actually work at the network score a coveted wristband.

Last year, not meeting any of the criteria, your servant scribe was forced to stow away on the ARN bus and, without a wristband, sneak past Brisbane’s most burly bouncers to partake in the delights of their after party.

Either this subterfuge on my part has not been forgiven by the gate keepers at ARN or my invitation has been lost in the mail. Or perhaps I failed to detect it wrapped inside one of the fancy gift packs the network sends my way from time to time to punctuate various launches they would like to draw my attention to. 

The one for the name change from Classic Hits to GOLD was a beaut that included a special vodka with edible gold leaf suspended in the bottle. I drank the vodka and had the gold fashioned into a bracelet for my wife. I’m not sure which of us got the better deal.

Come ACRAs night, I remained dateless and desperate, so to speak… Actually I was with my darling wife, so I was only desperate. Hmmm, this isn’t coming out right, is it? What I’m meaning to say is, I was beginning to get anxious about whether I could score an invite to an after party. 

By now I was bringing this assault on my self esteem to my attention. Now it was a matter of honour for me to secure entree to an after party by fair means or foul. 

So, with time running out, and the zeal of Tony Abbot to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin, I approached several people from Nova Entertainment who I thought held a stash of wrist bands. I hinted, cajoled and hinted harder. To no avail. “Look, it’s only a low key affair just for staff,” I was told.

Crestfallen, I slunk into the auditorium, found our table and thought this would be an appropriate time to sulk. Then came salvation in the form of radioinfo’s long time and hard working Manager, Wendy Whalley (left). As she sat down with glass of wine in one hand, with the other she held up not one, not two but three Nova Entertainment wristbands she had obtained from someone even higher up the food chain than those I had failed to entreat.

Never mind, we’re in! 

Yet, at first, it seemed a pyrrhic victory as I am forced to the realisation that Wendy’s influence among the captains of the radio industry is far superior to mine. Then again, that’s why she is such a valuable asset to radioinfo and so loved by our subscribers.

Although the ACRA’s venue was only a few hundred metres from the swank Metropol Sky Bar where the Nova Entertainment after party was to be held, the company put on a fleet of mini-buses to take us on a winding route to deliver guests to the lifts that would whisk us to the top.

It proved a stunning venue with a breathtaking view of the Melbourne CBD from the balcony. As if we hadn’t eaten and drunk enough at the ACRAs a lavish stream of finger food was offered along with a completely open bar and batches of hand made cocktails.

What can I tell you, gentle reader, about the party other than it rocked? The rule, I was told, is very strict. “What goes on at the after party, stays at the after party.” Break that rule, I guess, even if I manage to sneak in next year, I’d likely be thrown out. I doubt I could bear the shame!

As it turned out, there was almost no one at the party who didn’t work at Nova Entertainment. The only other media type we spotted was Angela Bishop (left). If she is the benchmark of outsiders they allow in, then I am honoured to have also been invited – even if it was only due to the imprimatur of Ms Wendy Whalley.

Meanwhile, our colleague Steve Ahern worked until 2am in the ACRAs media room uploading photos and winners details for you to read about the next day. He tells us the mineral water was very high quality! Next year Steve, next year…



 Peter Saxon


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