Ford finishes up at 2UE

Staff Writer

Radio Today's Mark Hales talks to entertainment reporter Peter Ford who has finished up at 2UE after 25 years with the station.

Mark: Was this a decision from 2UE or was it yours ?

Peter: It was my choice, I know everyone who gets turfed says that but it actually was. However what was offered to me, I didn't think was appropriate for me as an experienced broadcaster in 2013.

In the last 2 years my focus has been on daily reports in Breakfast and they decided, I think rightly, they needed to wipe the slate clean and start again for Dicko and Sarah's new show.

The way the cards fell this year it meant where they could slot me, and pay me accordingly, was a return to my place at the station 20 years ago.

Mark: Do you know if they will be looking to get their entertainment news from another source or just delivering it in a different way ?

Peter: Well the game I am in has changed a lot even in the last 4 or 5 years. There are now so many people willing to do my sort of stuff for free either because they write for a newspaper and it's seen as cross promotion or they want to promote their blog etc. Someone old school like me who wants to be paid fairly for knowledge and insight is a rarity!

Angela Bishop is doing a daily spot in Breakfast and Andrew Hornery from SMH is daily on afternoons. I like them both – we all bring something different to the table. I have created a niche for myself by looking at the local scene primarily but increasingly it's becoming about parroting what is on TMZ or Perez Hilton. Doesn't mean I'm right and they're wrong it just means my style is different. I am terribly old fashioned in that I have sources, check facts and pick up a phone and talk to people. And if a story is worth doing I run with it even if it upsets Publicity departments or gets me dropped off invite lists.

Mark: What will you miss most about reporting for 2UE ?

Peter: Well it has been an incredibly long run. The station has been a constant in my professional life all that time. I started on-air there with Brian Bury, John Stanley, Stan Zemanek, Alan Jones. I was very young at the time and these were top notch broadcasters to be alongside. I was very young and very green back then but got the chance to evolve and mature as a commentator.

I started as the office boy at 3UZ in Melbourne and never wanted to, or imagined, I would ever be heard on the radio. I still find it quite odd as I am incredibly shy but from the day I walked into that station I knew I loved the radio game and wanted to stay involved.

Mark: You are still heard on many stations across Australia – how many do you report for now and what type of markets ?

Peter: Well I am heard on 3AW in Breakfast, 4BC in Breakfast and 6PR in Breakfast and 5AA in Mornings. They of course are all talk stations. But a large number of other music based stations use me including Heart FM in Hobart, 2CA in Canberra, Bay FM in Geelong, the entire ACE Radio network in Victoria, the Prime Radio Network in Queensland and so it goes on. I adapt my style slightly to the market, format and demographic.

Mark: In your 25 years reporting for 2UE, what were some of your most memorable moments from the entertainment world ?

Peter: I've been to about 20 Oscars, the Princess Diana funeral, the royal Weding in 2011. I guess these overseas events are the most exciting as it becomes about trying to paint pictures with words and find angles that others don't. But there is still a great thrill in breaking a local story and being ahead of the pack. If your main employer is a newspaper or TV network and you just dabble in radio I'm doubtful about your first priority when something big happens.

Mark: What’s next for you in the Sydney market, were you exclusive to 2UE so can now be heard on other stations ?

Peter: There are a few possibilities for me in the Sydney market. I'm not fully free to explore these until next month but yes I most certainly want to continue to be heard there.

I was exclusive to 2UE on the AM band in Sydney. I've done various guest spots on shows such as Kyle and Jackie O.

Something will likely emerge.

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