“We just drifted into this world”: Tom Gleisner on the new season of Game Changers: Radio

Staff Writer

On the first episode of the new season of Game Changers: Radio with Craig Bruce, writer, comedian and radio announcer Tom Gleisner speaks about his start in the radio biz and how a hobby steadily got out of hand, flourishing into a TV and radio hit.  

Gleisner was original founding member of sketch comedy show The D-Generation, which later morphed into the working dog production company. As a breakfast show, they dominated the Melbourne landscape for close to six years in the later 80s and early 90s.

“We all figured that it was going to end in tears at some point and we would have to go and get proper jobs,” Gleisner said, recalling the early days of The D-Generation, which aired on the ABC before becoming a radio show.

The original trio of Rob Sitch, Santo Cilauro and Gleisner started at Triple M as off-air contributors and writers in before slowly starting to increase their role. Gleisner spoke about their “lack of fear” in stepping up to the coveted breakfast role.

“That’s one of the nice things about youth, whilst you might lack a little bit of experience, you sort of lack fear and a real sense of perspective,” he said.

“We just drifted into this world. We were all at University and heading to proper jobs. Santo and I were going to be lawyers and Rob was going to be a doctor. This really was just a temporary distraction.”

According to Gleisner, that naivety and fearlessness transcended beyond the heaviness that comes with radio ratings: “Ratings seemed to mean a lot to the networks. […] And again, because we didn’t have this grand plan, we didn’t take it personally and got on with doing what we did.”

While ratings obviously skyrocketed for The D-Generation, the release of a the 5 in a row parody album and accompanying videos was a definite highlight for Gleisner. Even the music industry was taking notice.

Michael Gudinski said we needed a single. We tried to explain to him that a comedy album doesn’t really need a single. But Michael insisted anyway.”

“Curiously, It was also the beginning of the end for us with radio for a while because it gave us a taste of the visual medium.”

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