Sunday Soapbox: Graham Mack pt 6
How an airconditioning mechanic working in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain
Graham Mack was born in Liverpool England and became an Australian citizen in 1993. He’s an AFTRS graduate and worked on the air here at 2QN, 6KG, 2PK, 5SE, and 2GO.
He’s won some of the industry’s biggest awards as a talk show host and music jock, on commercial radio and The BBC. Since 1997, he’s been working on radio stations in London and all over the UK. He is currently the Program Director and Breakfast Show Host at BOB fm.
In a weekly Sunday Soapbox series on Radio Today, Graham shares with us some very funny stories from his time learning about and then getting onto Australian radio (read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5). The 6th instalment is below…
In radio, like most jobs, sometimes you find yourself working for an idiot.
I remember one Program Director who said to me, “I know you’re really good at interviews, talking to listeners on the phone and comedy and I know you’ve been really successful doing those things on the air here but I want you to stop doing that now. In fact I don’t ever want to hear you talking on the air for any more than twenty seconds at a time”.
I know he was only making life difficult for me because he wanted me to leave and believe me, it worked, I really wanted to leave that station but I didn’t have a job to go to so I just did whatever he wanted and picked up my monthly pay cheque while I was looking for work.
Every day, straight after my Breakfast Show I would have to sit in his office, surrounded by framed pictures of him stood next to celebrities he’d “met”, while he listened back to a tape of every talk break I’d done that morning with a stopwatch in his hand. All of my links were now under twenty seconds which must have driven him crazy. He’d listen to each one, grunt, look at the stop watch (he never showed it to me) and then gave me useless advice like, “You’re still talking too much”. In twenty seconds all I was managing to do was back announce the song, tell the time, maybe do a quick weather, top temperature and mention something that was coming up later, that was too much?
I know I should have sat there quietly and for the most part I did but one morning I did have to pick him up on something. He said, “I want you to do more time calls”. I said, “I give a time call EVERY time I open the mike. I can do more when the mike is off as well if you like, but no one will hear them”.
Now he was angry, he banged his fist on the desk and shouted, “I want you to do TWO time calls in every talk break, one at the start and one at the end!” That new rule lasted one show, my next one. When he heard the new ‘better time-checks and more of them’ format in action, it sounded ridiculous.
I suppose it wouldn’t have sounded so bad if I was talking for more than twenty seconds. What I ended up doing was giving a time call at the end of every link that was the exact same time as the one I’d given eighteen seconds earlier!
Next Sunday, another instalment from Graham Mack.
Listen to “Mack Nuggets” at www.mackmedia.co.uk